Environmental Protection

EPA Redefines Solid Waste, Encourages Recycling

A final rule under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act streamlines regulation of hazardous secondary materials when they are recycled by reclamation. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's regulation maintains strong protection of human health and the environment by limiting the streamlined requirements to specific, legitimate recycling activities, according to an Oct. 7 press release.

"Removing barriers to legitimate recycling is good for business and the environment," said Susan Parker Bodine, assistant administrator for the Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response. "This rule will help conserve natural resources, save energy, and, reduce costs."

The rule excludes materials from the federal hazardous waste system that are:

•generated and legitimately reclaimed under the control of the generator;

•generated and transferred to another company for legitimate reclamation under specific conditions; or

•determined by EPA or an authorized state to be non-wastes on a case-by-case basis via a petition process.

The rule also contains a provision to determine which recycling activities are legitimate under the new exclusions and non-waste determinations. These exclusions are not available for materials that are considered inherently waste-like, used in a manner constituting disposal, or burned for energy recovery.

EPA estimates that about 5,600 facilities handling approximately 1.5 million tons of hazardous secondary materials annually may be affected by this rule, including facilities that recycle metals and solvents. The agency estimates that the regulation will save approximately $95 million per year for the affected industries.

For more information, visit epa.gov/epawaste/hazard/dsw/index.htm.

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