Final Rule Alert: Aerosol Cans as Universal Waste

Posted on 11/26/2019 by Roger Marks

UPDATE 12/09/19: EPA's Final Rule to add hazardous waste aerosol cans to the universal waste program appeared in the Federal Register today, December 9, 2019. 

The Final Rule is effective on February 7, 2020. 

See the Final Rule here or read on for more details. 

[Original Text, Posted 11/26/19]

EPA has released a pre-publication version of its Final Rule to add hazardous waste aerosol cans to the Universal Waste program.

Adding aerosol cans to the universal waste program offers potential cost savings and will simplify things for generators, who currently manage aerosols under a patchwork of State-level laws, regulations, policies, and guidance documents. As with all new Federal environmental reliefs, though, authorized States may choose to adopt the new universal waste rules into their State programs (or not).

For individual facilities, managing hazardous waste aerosol cans as universal waste could result in a change in generator status (from large to small or from small to very small).

Read the pre-publication version of the Final Rule.

Webinar Scheduled: EPA's New Aerosol Universal Waste Rule 

On February 6, join a Lion hazardous waste instructor for the EPA’s New Aerosol Universal Waste Rule Webinar. During this one-hour session, learn how to identify and properly manage aerosols that qualify for relief and realize potential cost savings offered by EPA’s rule.

More sessions will follow on February 19, March 10, and March 24. 

Proper Universal Waste Management

While universal wastes are granted relief from some of the more burdensome RCRA hazardous waste management requirements, facilities still must comply with universal waste marking and labeling, employee training, release response, and other requirements found in 40 CFR 273. These rules apply to both large quantity and small quantity handlers of universal waste.

Large quantity universal waste handlers—those that handle 5,000 kilograms or more of universal wastes—are also responsible for tracking universal waste shipments per 40 CFR 273.39.

How Does EPA Select New Universal Wastes?

To add a waste to the list of universal wastes, like EPA did with aerosol cans, EPA first assesses the waste stream against criteria laid out in 40 CFR 273.81.

To become a universal waste, a waste (or category of wastes) must:
  • Be a listed or characteristic hazardous waste
  • Pose a relatively low risk compared to other hazardous wastes  
  • Not be exclusive to a specific industry or group of industries
  • Be generated by a large number of generators (e.g., more than 1,000 nationally)
In addition, there must be evidence that regulation as universal waste will “increase the likelihood that the waste will be diverted from non-hazardous waste management systems.” In other words, EPA must believe that regulation as universal waste will help prevent improper disposal.

Just Announced: EPA’s New Aerosol Universal Waste Rule Webinar

Lion will present a live, one-hour webinar to guide EH&S professionals through the new management requirements for hazardous waste aerosol cans.  

Join us to: 
  • Realize the potential cost savings offered by the rule
  • Identify aerosol cans that qualify for relief
  • Properly manage aerosol cans as universal waste
  • Discover how the new RCRA rule impacts your state hazardous waste program 
The next session is scheduled for February 6. Save your seat now

Current Lion Members: Members save $30 on this event! Make sure you're logged in to to receive Member pricing for the EPA's New Aerosols Universal Waste Rule webinar. 

Tags: aerosols, hazardous waste management, new rules, RCRA Training, universal waste

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