New RCRA DSW Rule Coming to Your State

Posted on 7/28/2015 by Roseanne Bottone

Earlier this year, EPA issued a Final Rule that redefined "solid waste" to exclude many hazardous secondary materials—when recycled in certain ways—from the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) hazardous waste management standards. The January 2015 Definition of Solid Waste (DSW) rulemaking also changed other related portions of the RCRA regulations to clarify longstanding EPA policies for hazardous waste recycling.

The 2015 DSW rule is largely a continuation of regulatory changes made in 2008 and makes major changes that provide exclusions from the Federal RCRA hazardous waste rules. In states authorized to oversee their own RCRA program, the new DSW Rule is not in effect until adopted by the State RCRA authority. Some states may never adopt the new RCRA regulations or may adopt them with heavy restrictions.

That said, because the overall provisions of this rule are more stringent than the 2008 rule, states that adopted the 2008 rule must modify their programs to abide by the new 2015 rule or lose authorization.

RCRA hazardous materials recycling

Mandatory Provisions of 2015 Definition of Solid Waste Rule

In addition to the alternative management standards for hazardous secondary materials being reclaimed, the January 2015 DSW rule increases the stringency of various longstanding exclusions from RCRA for certain recycling activites. These elements of the rulemaking that increase stringency must be adopted by all states with authorized State RCRA plans, if the state wants to continue to be authorized by the US EPA to run its own plan. Read more about issues of State implementation of this new RCRA rule.

Specific mandatory elements of the 2015 DSW rule that are more stringent than existing EPA RCRA rules include:
  • Revisions to the definition of legitimacy and the prohibition of sham recycling that codify EPA policy [40 CFR 260.43, 261.2(g)];
  • Additional labeling and recordkeeping requirements in the speculative accumulation provision [40 CFR 261.1(c)(8)]; and
  • Changes to the standards and criteria for variances from classification as a solid waste [40 CFR 260.31(c), 260.33, and 260.34].
States with authorized RCRA plans must adopt or incorporate these new requirements or equivalent provisions or lose their authorization. This means that hazardous waste generators who recycle hazardous wastes should, as a best practice, keep records of waste generation, management, and the legitimacy of their recycling efforts to prevent claims of speculative accumulation per 40 CFR 261.1(c)(8) and sham recycling per 40 CFR 260.43 and 261.2(g). As these new rules codify longstanding industry best practices, they are not intended to be a significant burden on the regulated community.

How RCRA Recycling Can Save You Money

Minimize waste and reduce disposal fees by learning the latest RCRA rules and strategies for recycling your site's hazardous and solid waste. The live, interactive Hazardous Waste Recycling Reliefs Webinar has been updated to reflect the 2015 Definition of Solid Waste changes and is presented by an expert Lion RCRA instructor. Next session: September 17.

Tags: hazardous waste, new rules, RCRA, recycling

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