Definition of solid waste under RCRA

drum storage 4Under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), one of the criteria for a material to be classified as a RCRA solid waste is that it must be “discarded”. Only RCRA solid waste can become hazardous waste.

On October 30, 2008, EPA finalized a new definition of solid waste. It states in 40 CFR 261.2(a)(2)(ii) that a hazardous secondary material that is being generated and reclaimed “under the control of the generator” is not considered to be a discarded material. Therefore it is not a RCRA solid waste and cannot become a hazardous waste. This final rule became effective on December 29, 2008.

What that means is that – under federal rule – if you have a spent solvent that you are reclaiming on-site through the use of a distillation unit, the spent solvent (a hazardous secondary material – ignitable) does not need to be managed as a hazardous waste while waiting to be reclaimed.

It is important to note that this new rule does not take effect in RCRA-authorized states unless and until the states adopt it. 

So check with your state agency.

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