Rural carriers associations are warning rural carriers against selling mulch, saying the practice is illegal.
The Rural King Mulch Association said the association has been involved in the industry for nearly 40 years and is concerned about the practice.
The association has raised concerns with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which issued a ruling last year against an industry trade group, the UMBAA, which it said was “unaware of the industry’s history of selling mulches to nonprofits.”
It’s not illegal to sell a product to a nonprofit, but we have been advised by EPA not to do so, said Ralph W. Daley, president of the association.
It’s an unfortunate situation, he said.
The industry trade groups that represent the industry say it is legal.
The Environmental Protection Department’s ruling last month said mulch was a “trade secret” protected under federal law and could not be sold.
The association said in a statement that the association is concerned by a lack of enforcement of the law and that the practice of selling the product to noncharitable organizations “could lead to unfair competition in the marketplace and could negatively affect rural communities and negatively impact our ability to recruit and retain qualified employees.”
Rural King Mulches, which are made from trees, are made of coarse, coarse straw and can be used as mulch for wood products such as lumber.
The product is sold in many stores and online.