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Fact Sheet: Final Definition of Solid Waste Rule


The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is streamlining its regulation of hazardous secondary materials to encourage beneficial recycling via reclamation and help conserve resources. By doing so, recycling these materials will not only be safe, but also less costly and more efficient.


In October 2003, EPA proposed a regulatory exclusion from the definition of solid waste which would streamline requirements for the recycling of hazardous secondary materials. After evaluating public comments and conducting independent analyses, the Agency published a supplemental proposal in March 2007. This rule finalizes the March 2007 supplemental proposal by establishing streamlined requirements for the following:

The rule also contains a provision to determine which recycling activities are legitimate under the new exclusions and non-waste determinations.  This provision ensures that only authentic recycling, and not treatment or disposal under the guise of recycling, receives the benefits of these streamlined regulations. In order to be legitimately recycled under these exclusions, the hazardous secondary material (1) must provide a useful contribution to the recycling process; and (2) the recycling must make a valuable new intermediate or final product. Two additional factors must also be taken into account: (1) whether the recycled material is managed as a valuable product; and (2) whether the recycled product contains toxic constituents at significantly greater levels than a non-recycled product made from virgin materials.

These exclusions are not available for materials that are: (1) considered inherently waste-like; (2) used in a manner constituting disposal; or (3) burned for energy recovery.

The restrictions for the exclusions in this final rule are substantially similar to those contained in the supplemental proposal published on March 26, 2007 (72 FR 14172) with certain modifications regarding:

The Agency estimates that about 5,600 facilities handling approximately 1.5 million tons of hazardous secondary materials annually may be affected by this rule. The activities most affected are metals and solvent recycling. This action is expected to result in cost savings of approximately $95 million per year for all affected industry sectors.

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