On March 16, 2018, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA or the Agency) proposed adding hazardous waste aerosol cans to the universal waste program under the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) regulations. Comments are due by April 16, 2018. Aerosol cans are widely used for dispensing a broad range of products including paints, solvents, pesticides, food and personal care products, and many others.
Any person who generates a solid waste must determine whether the solid waste qualifies as hazardous waste. The waste may be hazardous either because it is listed as a hazardous waste or because it exhibits one or more of the characteristics of hazardous waste. Aerosol cans are frequently hazardous due to the ignitability characteristic, and in some cases may also contain listed or exhibit other hazardous waste characteristics.
The universal waste rules establish a streamlined hazardous waste management system for widely generated hazardous wastes as a way to encourage environmentally sound collection and proper management of the wastes within the system. Hazardous waste batteries, certain hazardous waste pesticides, mercury-containing equipment, and hazardous waste lamps are already included on the federal list of universal wastes. The universal waste regulations are a set of alternative hazardous waste management standards that operate in lieu of regulation under RCRA Subtitle C.
The streamlined universal waste regulations are expected to ease regulatory burdens on retail stores and others that discard hazardous waste aerosol cans, promote the collection and recycling of these cans, and encourage the development of municipal and commercial programs to reduce the quantity of these wastes going to municipal solid waste landfills or combustors.
A copy of the proposed rule can be found here.