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Laws and Regulations

There are several federal, state, and local laws that have been enacted to mandate that businesses implement safeguards to ensure proper disposal of discarded sensitive and private information. These regulations have been established to protect the privacy of businesses, patients, and consumers.

The Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act (FACTA)
In general, the Act amends the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”) to enhance the accuracy of consumer reports and to allow consumers to exercise greater control regarding the type and amount of marketing solicitations they receive. FACTA also establishes uniform national standards in key areas of regulation regarding handling and disposal of private consumer information in the possession of all companies and organizations.

Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act (HIPAA)
HIPAA was enacted in 1996 and the mandatory compliance date was April 14, 2003. All hospitals, doctors, pharmacies, health plans, medical billing companies and any other business entity involved in the healthcare industry must comply. The rules apply to all protected health information. The Standard for Privacy of Identifiable Health Information requires that covered entities put in place administrative, technical and physical safeguards to protect the privacy of protected health information. One example given of a safeguard for the proper disposal of paper documents containing protected health information and private information is that the documents be shredded prior to disposal.

Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (1999) Financial Services Modernization Act
This Federal legislation went into effect in 2000. The privacy provisions in the law require that financial firms and institutions, as well as, insurance companies provide consumers with prior notice of an intention to share personal information and a chance to opt out of the sharing of such information. The law states that these institutions and companies are required to "respect the privacy of its customers and to protect the security and confidentiality of those customers' non-public information." The language suggested in the Safeguard Rule that paper documents containing such personal information should also be protected and safely destroyed.

The Safeguards Rule requires all financial institutions to design, implement and maintain safeguards to protect private customer information. The Safeguards Rule applies not only to financial institutions that collect information from their own customers, but also to financial institutions – such as credit reporting agencies – that receive customer information from other financial institutions.

Any individual or entity who maintains or otherwise possesses consumer information, or any compilation of consumer information, for a business purpose must properly dispose of such information by taking reasonable measures to protect against unauthorized access to or use of the information in connection with its disposal. Reasonable measures to protect against unauthorized access to or use of consumer information in connection with its disposal would include: Implementing and monitoring compliance with policies and procedures that require the shredding, pulverizing or burning of documents containing consumer information so that the information cannot be read or reconstructed. Implementing and monitoring compliance with policies and procedures that require the destruction or erasure of electronic media containing consumer information so that the information cannot be read or reconstructed.

District of Columbia Solid Waste Management and Multi-material Recycling Act of 1988
In an effort to address the District’s diminishing landfill capacity and its need for a comprehensive solid waste management strategy, the Council of the District of Columbia enacted the “DC Solid Waste Management and Multi-Material recycling Act of 1988.” This law took effect March 16, 1989 and represents the blueprint for developing an effective program of recycling throughout the District of Columbia. Any premises not authorized to receive municipal trash and recycling collection services is considered a business or commercial establishment. Under DC law all businesses located in the District of Columbia must submit a recycling plan to the Department of Public Works Office of Recycling and implement an on-going recycling program. A commercial recycling program includes separation of recyclables from other solid waste, ensuring an adequate number of containers for separated recyclables and hiring a licensed, registered recycling hauler to regularly pick up recyclables. Recycling is required in all commercial establishments. These include office buildings, retailers, churches, warehouses, apartment buildings (with four or more units), service companies, cooperatives, condominiums, bars and restaurants, as well as museums, associations, non-profit organizations, schools and universities.

Federal Privacy Act of 1974
This law was established in 1974 to insure that government agencies protect the privacy of individuals and businesses with regard to information held by them and to hold these agencies liable for any information released without proper authorization.

Economic Espionage Act of 1996 (EEA)
The Economic Espionage Act is a very powerful law which helps with the enforcement of properly handling sensitive and private information. This law is the first federal law that defines and severely punishes misappropriation and theft of trade secrets. However, according to this Act, the government will only protect companies who take "reasonable measures" to safeguard their information.

Montgomery County Executive Order 109-92
Business recycling in Montgomery County, Maryland, became law in March 1993 when the County Executive signed Executive Regulation 109-92. The regulation, developed by Montgomery County’s Division of Solid Waste Services, is the result of several years of research and planning, consultation with the business community and public involvement. This regulation was passed to increase recycling participation and to stimulate the growth and development of regional markets and facilities. The law will also help the County reach its current goal of recycling 50% of its solid waste. There are approximately 25,000 to 30,000 businesses operating in Montgomery County which includes businesses, non-profit organizations, public and private schools, Federal, State and Local government facilities and home-based businesses. These businesses are responsible for half of all the solid waste generated in the County.

This regulation stipulates non-residential recycling and reporting requirements. All county business will be required to complete a plan which demonstrates their organizations compliance with Montgomery County recycling requirements.