Aerosol cans may soon be added to the universal waste program under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). The U.S. EPA is proposing to add hazardous waste aerosol cans to the universal waste program to benefit the wide variety of establishments generating and managing hazardous waste aerosol cans. The EPA formal proposal was published in the Federal Register on March 16, 2018.
EPA believes that the regulatory burdens will be eased on retail stores and facilities that discard aerosol cans by adding aerosol cans to the universal waste program. It should also promote the collection and recycling of aerosol cans while encouraging the development of community and industrial programs to reduce the quantity being disposed of in landfills.
If the proposal is successful, the existing universal waste requirements that are applicable to small quantity and large quantity handlers of universal waste would also be applicable to handlers of discarded aerosol cans. EPA states that by adding aerosol cans to the universal waste rule it will simplify handling and disposal of the wastes for generators, while ensuring that aerosol cans are sent to the appropriate destination facilities to be managed as a hazardous waste with all applicable subtitle C requirements. EPA also maintains that the management as a universal waste under the proposed requirements is also expected to facilitate recycling of the metal used to make the cans.
The universal waste rule (60 FR 25492) was established by the EPA in 1995 to create a streamlined hazardous waste management system for widely generated hazardous wastes to encourage environmentally sound collection and proper management of the wastes within the system. Examples of items already included in the universal waste rule include hazardous waste batteries, certain hazardous waste pesticides, mercury-containing equipment, and hazardous waste lamps.
The proposal to add aerosol cans too the universal waste program is open for public comments until May 15, 2018. Contact CFR Environmental to learn more about the universal waste program.