United States      Solid Waste and
          Environmental Protection Emergency Response EPA/530-SW-86-041A
          Agency        (OS-305)         October 1986
EPA     Report to Congress:
          Minimization of
          Hazardous Waste
          Executive Summary
                              Printed on Recycled Paper


                Report to Congress on Minimization of Hazardous Waste
                            EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
       This Report to Congress is submitted in response to the requirements of Section

8002(r) of the Solid Waste Disposal Act, as amended by the Resource Conservation and

Recovery Act (RCRA) of 1976, and  the Hazardous and Solid Waste Amendments

(HS WA) of 1984.! Under this section, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection

Agency  (EPA)  is required to submit a Report to Congress  by October 1,  1986,

recommending any legislative changes that are feasible and desirable to implement
HSWA's policy with respect to the minimization of hazardous waste:

       The Congress hereby declares it to be the national policy of the United
       States that,  wherever feasible, the generation of hazardous waste is to be
       reduced  or eliminated as  expeditiously as possible.   Waste that  is
       nevertheless generated should be treated, stored or disposed of so as  to
       minimize the present and future threat to human health and the environment.

       Section 8002(r) requires the Administrator to evaluate specifically the feasibility and
desirability of:

       1.      Establishing standards of performance or of taking other additional
              actions under RCRA to require generators of hazardous waste  to
              reduce the volume or quantity and toxicity  of the hazardous waste
              they generate; and
       Reflecting common usage, the amended Solid Waste Disposal Act will hereafter be generally
       referred to as RCRA. Additions to RCRA made by the 1984 amendments will be referred to in the
       text as HSWA.

Executive Summary
          2.     Establishing, with respect to hazardous waste, required management
                 practices or other requirements to ensure such wastes are managed
                 in ways that minimize present and future risks to human health and
                 the environment
                                   Definition of Terms

          The following definitions, based in part on the interpretations presented below, are

    crucial to the recommendations made in this report (see also Figure 1):

          Source reduction refers to the reduction or elimination of waste generation at
          the source, usually within a process.  Source reduction measures can
          include some types of treatment processes, but they also include process
          modifications, feedstock substitutions or improvements in feedstock purity,
          various housekeeping and management practices, increases in the efficiency
          of machinery, and even recycling within a process.  Source reduction
          implies any action that reduces the amount of waste exiting from a process.

          Recycling refers to the use or reuse of a waste as an effective substitute for a
          commercial product, or as  an ingredient or feedstock in an industrial
          process. It also refers to the reclamation of useful constituent fractions
          within a waste material or removal of contaminants from a waste to allow it
          to be reused.  As used in this report, recycling implies use,  reuse, or
          reclamation of a waste  either onsite or offsite after it is generated by a
          particular process.

          Waste minimization  means the reduction, to the extent'feasible, of
          hazardous waste that is generated or subsequently treated, stored, or
          disposed of.   It includes any source reduction or recycling activity
          undertaken by a generator that results in either (1) the reduction of total
          volume or quantity of hazardous waste, or (2) the reduction of toxicity of
          hazardous waste, or both, so long as the reduction is consistent with  the
          goal of minimizing  present and future threats to human  health and  the

           In the broadest sense, the HSWA defines waste minimization as any action taken to

    reduce the volume or toxicity of wastes. That definition includes the  concept of waste

    treatment, which encompasses such technologies as incineration, chemical detoxification,
                                         — u

                                  FIGURE 1
                  SOURCE REDUCTION
'Processed to recover
usable product
•Ingredient in a process
•Effective substitute
                                      SOURCE CONTROL

        'Waste stream segregation
        'Inventory control
        •Employee training
        'Spill/leak prevention
        'Scheduling improvement
                   INPUT MATERIAL
                   'Input purification
                   'Input substitution


'Improved Controls
'Process Modifications
'Equipment Changes
'Energy Conservation
'Water Conservation

Executive Summary
   biological treatments, and others.2 The Agency has already embarked on a broad program
   for waste treatment; thus, this report focuses on source reduction and recycling, the two
   aspects of waste minimization where basic options still remain open.

          Section 1003 of HSWA establishes the general national policy in favor of waste
   minimization and refers to the need to reduce the "volume or quantity and toxicity" of
   hazardous wastes. EPA does not interpret this language to indicate that Congress rejected
   volume reduction alone (with no change in the toxicity of hazardous constituents) as being
   a legitimate  form of waste  minimization.  A generator that reduces the volume of its
   hazardous waste, even if the composition of its waste does not change, is accomplishing
   beneficial waste minimization.  EPA believes that waste concentration may occasionally be
   a useful waste minimization technique (e.g., in preparing materials for recycling). The key
   concept, however, is that waste minimization must be protective of human health and the

          Because both volume and toxicity of wastes present dangers to human health and
   the environment, measuring the effectiveness of waste minimization will  be complex.
   First, waste mu.imization measures are likely to be process and industry specific, implying
   that different measurement techniques might be needed in different contexts; second, any
   mandatory requirements for reducing the volume or toxicity of generated waste should
   directly relate to expected reductions in risk to human health and the environment EPA has
   already developed data and methodologies that can be used to evaluate the risks of many
   types of waste streams, as well as the risk reductions associated with waste  management
   practices.3  These  evaluation techniques will continue to improve and become more
   effective as a tool in regulatory decision making. EPA therefore  intends to use such
   assessments as a means of measuring progress in. waste minimization and to help establish
          Section 1003(aX6) of HSWA states that the objectives of "promotting] the protection of health and
          the environment and conserving] valuable material and energy resources" can  be done by
          "minimizing the generation of hazardous waste and the land disposal of hazardous waste by
          encouraging process substitutions, materials recovery, properly conducted recycling and reuse, and
          treatment" [italics added].
          These include, for example, the Liner Location Model and the RCRA Risk/Cost Analysis Model
          (usually referred to as the Waste-Environment-Technology or W-E-T model).
                                         — iv —

                                                                    Executive Summary
priorities among or within possible waste minimization regulatory schemes. This approach
is consistent with the general principle that any waste minimization regulations should seek
to reduce significant remaining risks.

                              Why Minimize Waste?

       The RCRA program over the past ten years has focused primarily on correcting the
effects of years of poor management of hazardous wastes by bringing treatment, storage,
and disposal facilities into compliance with national standards that are protective of human
health and the environment. HSWA  has continued this policy, but has also shifted the
emphasis of the program away from  reforming land disposal practices to a reliance on
waste treatment. Because of its potential for contamination of other environmental media
(e.g., ground water), land disposal—even under strict control—is recognized as the least
desirable method of managing hazardous wastes.

       The move toward treatment is  a major step forward, but is not a complete answer.
 Reforms in land disposal practices and installation of new hazardous waste treatment
 capacity are elective responses to managing this country's hazardous waste, but the> do
 not  address  the generation of these wastes.   Both  Congress  and EPA believe  that
 preventing the generation of a waste, when feasible, is inherently preferable to controlling it
 after it is  generated. Waste minimization can be viewed as a means of reducing the
 introduction of hazardous constituents  into all environmental media.

        Current environmental control programs are designed to protect human health and
 the  environment. However, control technologies are never  100 percent efficient, and
 compliance with regulations under any environmental program can never be perfect, even
 with the most stringent enforcement program.  Waste minimization can also address the
 risks of breakdowns in waste management systems.

        In addition to achieving human health and environmental benefits by reducing the
 volume and/or toxicity of hazardous wastes, waste minimization can also relieve shortages
 of treatment, storage, and disposal capacity. The capacity to accept wastes diverted from
 land disposal will be especially limited over the next few years while new facilities are

Executive Summary
   under construction and treatment alternatives are being developed.  This process may be
   slow, since public opposition makes new hazardous waste facilities extremely difficult to
   site. Furthermore,  land disposal will continue to be required into the foreseeable future,
   even if wastes disposed of in or on the land are detoxified first; hence, capacity needs will
   always be a concern.  Finally, all forms  of waste management—treatment  or land
   disposal—must allow for industrial growth and thus the need for additional capacity.  By
   reducing per unit product generation rates, waste minimization can provide at least a partial
   answer to these problems.

                     Incentives and Disincentives for Waste Minimization

          Strong incentives already exist to promote waste minimization in the private sector,
   including (1) dramatic increases in the price of all forms of hazardous waste management,
   partially caused by Federal and State standards, (2) difficulties in siting hazardous waste
   management capacity, (3) permitting  burdens  and corrective  action  requirements,
   (4) financial liability of hazardous waste generators, (5) sharp increases in the cost of
   commercial liability insurance, coupled with a steep dropoff in its  availability, and (6)
   public pressure on industry to reduce the production  of waste.   There  are  also
   countervailing disincentives. Figure 2 covers the incentives and disincentives that surround
   the various waste minimization techniques.

    Incentives for Waste Minimization

           Increases in the costs of hazardous waste management:  EPA and State regulations
    have been the primary cause of increased costs in treatment, storage, and disposal of
    hazardous wastes, especially  in relation to landfills, surface impoundments, and storage
    and accumulation tanks. The  current series of land disposal restrictions under HSWA will
    limit the number of untreated wastes that can be disposed of on land and thus are likely to
    increase the cost of disposal. HSWA also imposes more stringent  standards on surface
    impoundments, which will mean that about half of those now in operation will close. In
    addition,   the   recently  promulgated  hazardous  waste   tank   rules4   will
           51 FR 25421, July 14, 1986
                                           • vi •

                                                    Executive Summary
Increased Cost of Waste Management
Difficulties in siting new HW management
Permitting Burdens and
Corrective Action Requirements
Financial Liability
of HW Generators
Shortages of Liability Insurance
Public Perception


Economic Barriers
-Lack of Capital
-Financial Liability
Technical Barriers
-Attitude* toward unfamilar methods
-Bateh Processes
-Lack of information
-Technical Limits of Process
-Technical Quality Concerns
Regulatory Barriers
-Need to Obtain TSO Permit
-Perceived Stigma of Man'g Hat Waste
-Revisions to Other Env. Permits








                     — vu —

Executive Summary
    also increase waste management costs.  Because of these three factors, generators must
    find alternative means for treating, storing, or disposing of their wastes.

          Prices for such  alternative waste treatment are expected to rise as generators
    compete for scarce treatment capacity (such as incineration or chemical detoxification).
    EPA has, in fact, already identified shortages of treatment and disposal capacity for solvent
    and dioxin wastes in its proposed regulations.5

          Overall, the increased costs of waste management provide a strong incentive for
    owners and operators to reduce the quantity of waste generated or disposed of through the
    use of source reduction and offsite and onsite recycling techniques.

          Difficulties in siting hazardous waste treatment, storage, and disposal capacity: The
    land disposal restrictions program, as mandated by HSWA, is creating a strong demand for
    substantial new  waste treatment, storage, and disposal capacity.  Hazardous waste
    managers are therefore seeking new sites and planning to expand existing ones, but in the
    process they are encountering the familiar problem of "not in my community."  While thsre
    are some instances where States have been successful in helping to site  new hazardous
    waste management facilities, local resistance tends to be extremely hard to overcome.  This
    intense public opposition to the siting of many types of hazardous waste facilities may
    cause shortages to persist even when market demand  is strong.  Generators' only
    alternative in many cases may therefore be  a reliance on source reduction and onsite
    recycling to reduce the amount of waste they would otherwise send to offsite management

           Permitting burdens and corrective action requirements: Even though the demand
   • for new treatment and disposal capacity will  be high, permitting procedures will tend to
    delay the availability of that new capacity, temporarily driving up the costs of all forms of
    treatment and disposal. No new hazardous waste management facility may be constructed
    until it has acquired a RCRA permit—a costly process that usually takes  several years to
    complete.  In addition, all permits issued after November 8, 1984, include provisions
    requiring owners and operators to take corrective action for releases of hazardous waste,
           51FR 1729, January 14, 1986
                                            via •

                                                                    Executive Summary
regardless of when it was placed in the unit, both within and beyond property boundaries
as necessary to protect human health and the environment This potentially very expensive
requirement applies to all facilities seeking a new RCRA permit, including both existing
and new facilities.  Additionally, even though the demand for new treatment and disposal
capacity will be high, permitting procedures will tend to delay the availability of that new
capacity, temporarily driving up the costs of all forms of treatment and disposal.

       Thus, the increased costs of permitting burdens and corrective action provide still
another strong incentive for owners and operators to reduce the quantity of waste generated
or disposed of through the use of source  reduction and offsite and  onsite recycling
        Financial  liability of hazardous waste generators: Generators using offsite
treatment, storage, or disposal face financial liability for  two reasons: (1) there is  a
potential for mismanagement of wastes by facility operators, and (2) there is the possibility
of improper design of the disposal facility itself.  Even careful evaluation of facility
 management cannot reduce these risks to zero.  A generator risks incurring liability when
 the treatment, storage, or disposal facility (TSDF) owner or operator cannot or will not pay
 for remedial  or corrective actions made necessary by migration of wastes.  In t^ese
 situations, generators can be held liable under common law for absolute, strict, joint and
 several liability.   In addition, the imminent and substantial  endangerment provisions in
 Sections  106 and 107 of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and
 Liability  Act (CERCLA), state a generator or generators can be held financially responsible
 for the entire cleanup or restoration of a facility. When less waste is generated, it reduces
 potential liability for future disposal and thus is an incentive for both source reduction and
 onsite recycling.
        Shortages of liability insurance: The traditional means for obtaining coverage for
 potential hazardous waste management liabilities is through insurance, but, for many
 generators and owners or operators of TSDFs, liability insurance is no longer available, or
 is available only at extremely high cost.  This is particularly true of Environmental
 Impairment Liability (EIL) insurance, which until 1985 was an often-used financial
 instrument for generators and owners and operators of TSDFs to protect themselves from

Executive Summary
   third-party and government claims for damages resulting from environmental releases of
   hazardous substances.  In recent years, premiums have  increased 50 to 300 percent,
   policies have been cancelled even where loss ratios have been  excellent, and many
   companies have difficulty obtaining coverage at any price. In order to insure themselves
   against liability, TSDFs who must comply with Sections 3004  and 3005 (e) of RCRA6
   have resorted to creative methods to obtain coverage.7 Until fundamental changes occur in
   the insurance marketplace, many generators and TSDFs will continue to have  difficulty
   meeting liability requirements.

           Increases in insurance costs or an inability to obtain insurance will result in higher
   treatment and disposal costs or the loss of available treatment or disposal capacity. This
   will provide a strong incentive to reduce the quantity of waste to be disposed of through the
   application of source reduction and onsite recycling techniques.

           Public perception of company responsibilities: While the strongest incentives for
   implementing waste minimization techniques are probably economic, many companies are
   establishing waste minimization programs out of sensitivity to public concern over toxic
   chemicals.  This type of corporate good citizenship is felt to produce good relations
   between industry and the public. Available information indicates  that the larger companies
   are most likely  to perceive public relations benefits in waste minimization; however, some
   medium and small size companies are acting under the same motives.

   Disincentives for Waste Minimization

           Economic barriers: Even though waste minimization practices often lead to cost
   savings, availability of capital for plant modernization is often a significant obstacle to their
   implementation.  Although major companies may  have sufficient access to upgrade
   inefficient processes, small and medium sized companies  often do not.  Firms that have
   recently modernized their facilities have  reduced incentive to reinvest in alternative
    6      Generators do not have to obtain liability insurance under RCRA.
    7      New instruments they have developed include: (1) formation of associations—captive stock or
          mutual insurance companies, (2) licensed carrier fronting programs for trust funds in which banks
          hold funds to cover liability, (3) letters of credit, (4) self insurance, and (5) corporate guarantees.

                                                                      Executive Summary
processes. Obstacles to plant modernization adversely affect the implementation of source
reduction and onsite recycling when these involve process modifications.

       Financial liability can, in at least one circumstance, also be a significant disincentive
for waste minimization because generators who send waste offsite may be liable under
CERCLA and common law for damages caused by their wastes, even if the wastes have
left the plant and are no longer under the  firm's  control. They may therefore not use
available offsite recycling.

       Technical barriers: Some firms may be reluctant to make any modifications to their
production processes for fear of risking the technical quality of their final product. While
these fears may not be well-founded, they can be a significant impediment to innovation.

       There may also be, however, significant practical limits to waste minimization,
especially with respect to source reduction, even where firms are actively seeking to
minimize waste. Certain products simply cannot be manufactured without producing
hazardous wastes;  excessive waste minimization requirements would,  in such  cases,
remove products from the market or put companies out of business entirely. A hazardous
waste  analog to the zero discharge policy, calling for  across-the-board cuts of fixed
percentages of waste generated, is therefore not realistic because, in some  situations,
possible source reductions may turn out to be minor and achievable only at great expense.

       Another technical consideration affecting waste  minimization is that industries
producing high volume or high toxicity  wastes often  operate largely through batch
processes.  This can present problems for certain onsite recycling techniques (e.g., while
light colored off-specification  batches of paint can be blended into subsequent darker
colored batches, the opposite is not always true).

       Similarly, offsite recycling  is often technically limited by process realities  and
administrative logistics. Off-specification chemicals (such as pesticides or Pharmaceuticals)
are examples of products with little onsite or offsite recycling potential. Even where wastes
are technically recyclable, it may be difficult to accumulate enough waste to make the
activity economically attractive. With respect to offsite recycling, it may be hard to
establish permanent and stable relationships, either onsite  among various production lines
                                      — XI	

Executive Summary
   or offsite among firms; generator and user processes have to be synchronized, purity may

   vary over time, volumes  of wastes  available may not  meet minimum reuse needs

   transportation costs have to  be acceptable, and price variations in feedstocks and in product
   prices inevitably play a crucial role.

         Finally, the most significant technical barrier to waste minimization may often be a

   lack of suitable engineering information on source reduction and recycling techniques.

   Available information suggests that this is most often the case with small and medium sized

         Regulatory barriers: Some of the provisions of current environmental statutes
   including RCRA, tend to discourage waste minimization.  Some examples include the

                I??6 red"ction sometimes requires the installation of new
                machinery that can, under RCRA, be considered "treatment " This

                          '30 °btaln a PCnnit « a ™™M> ^
               Commercial recycling facilities that wish to increase their operations
               might be reluctant to do so if the expansion were to  require a
               revision  of their NPDES water pollution permit to authorize a
               change in the composition of their discharges or allow  for larger

               The new definition of solid waste, promulgated by EPA to eliminate
               loopholes  in RCRA controls and  inhibit unsafe  (or "sham")
               recycling, brings some additional wastes into the hazardous waste
               system. This seems to be inhibiting some plants from sending these
               wastes offsite for recycling, since many companies perceive that
               manifested wastes present greater financial liability for offsite
               activities  out of their immediate control. In addition, out of anxiety
               over potential financial liabilities, some companies not currently in
               the hazardous waste system may be reluctant to undertake any waste
               minimization program that would require them to accept manifested
               hazardous waste (e.g., certain offsite recycling practices) or take
               other measures that would bring them officially into the hazardous
               waste management system.
                                     — Xll —

                                                                     Executive Summary
                      Current Waste Minimization Requirements

        At present,  there are three formal statutory requirements relating  to  waste
 minimization, all of them enacted as part of the 1984 amendments.

        1.     Section 3002(b) of HSWA requires generators to certify on their
              waste manifests (mandated under Section 3002(a)) that they have in
              place a program "to reduce the volume or quantity and toxicity of
              such  waste to the degree determined by the generator  to  be
              economically practicable."

        2.     Section 3005(h) of HSWA requires the same certification in relation
              to any new permit issued for treatment,  storage, or disposal of
              hazardous waste.

        3.     Section 3002(a)(6) of HSWA requires, as part of any generator's
              biennial report to  EPA, that the generator describe "the efforts
              undertaken during the year to reduce the  volume and toxicity of
              waste generated"  as well as  "changes in volume and toxicity of
              waste actually  achieved during the year in  question in comparison
              with previous years, to the extent such information is available for
              years prior -to enactment of [HSWA]

       These requirements should increase the awareness of generators and facility owners
and operators of the importance of minimizing hazardous  wastes, and might serve as the

basis for more  specific  and farther reaching requirements.   However, the present

requirements are not restrictive; the generator determines whether any particular waste

minimization approach that might apply to his or her process is economically practicable.

       Although the biennial reports should provide useful insight into what generators are
actually doing to reduce wastes, they are not likely to provide definitive information.  The

reports due this year (1986) will be the first to include waste minimization requirements,
and the quality of information they contain is expected to vary widely.  As  yet, for

example, there is no formal definition of the meaning of the term "toxicity," or any

guidance on the way to measure waste volume. In addition, generators are  not likely to
provide information that they consider confidential.

       EPA is therefore conducting a study to determine how the waste minimization
statement on the biennial report can be modified to improve the quality of information being
                                    — XIII 	

Executive Summary
   reported.  The Agency plans to provide uniform guidance directly to the States and to
   generators on the content of these reports in time for their 1988 submission.  Future
   information provided in the report will then allow EPA to better identify trends in waste
   minimization technologies applied by generating facilities.

                  Evaluation of Available Options for Waste Minimization

         Congress specifically required the Agency to report on the desirability and
   feasibility of establishing mandatory standards of performance for waste minimization or of
   taking additional actions under RCRA to reduce the volume or quantity and toxicity of
   hazardous waste  and of establishing required  management  practices to achieve
   minimization.  It also requested any recommendations for legislative changes to implement
   the national policy of waste minimization.  This report details EPA's evaluation of the
   following options to minimize hazardous wastes.

   Standards of Performance

         Mandatory standards of performance for minimizing wastes could take various
   forms, but in all their variations  they are markedly different in concept from the type of
   performance standards typical of the air and water pollution control programs.  In these
   other programs, performance standards are end-of-pipe standards that allow flexibility to
   modify processes  or add control  technologies.   Performance standards for  waste
   minimization would depend substantially on internal modifications of industrial processes.
  Such standards would mark a major  departure from past practice and would require
  statutory amendments. At present, mandatory performance standards are not authorized
  under RCRA.

         EPA has evaluated three variations of performance standards in this report:
         1.     Specific standards limiting the volume or toxicity of wastes,
        2.     Prohibition or restriction of specific waste streams, and
        3.     A phasedown permit system, wherein total waste generation levels
               for one or more industries or waste streams  are specified and then

                                                                    Executive Summary
             reduced ("phased down") over time.  Under this option, trades
             among firms for generation rights would be encouraged.

       EPA believes that all these options raise significant implementation concerns and
should be adopted only after careful evaluation of emerging trends and patterns of waste
generation.  It is important that the option selected be the most effective method to minimize
hazardous waste for a particular industry.  All performance standard options would be
costly and time consuming to design and would, therefore, be infeasible to implement in
the next four to six years.  If it becomes clear after implementation of the land disposal
restrictions program that there are specific residual hazardous waste problems that are not
being resolved through response to these requirements, then additional prescriptive action
may be appropriate. EPA might find that the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSGA),
especially Section (6)(a)(A), is a more appropriate method than RCRA regulations to
resolve residual hazardous waste problems.

       A comprehensive command-and-control performance standard program of the
traditional type would cost on  the order to $5 to $7 million per standard to design, -.nd
implement, and would require staff commitments at least as high as the effluent guidelines
program for water or the new source performance standards program for air.  At rhe
present time, however, there are hundreds of discrete industrial processes to examine, and
it  is difficult to project  without further information how many may require standards.
Under the most realistic circumstances, it would take at least ten years after Congressional
authorization to design and fully implement such a program.

       Prohibition or restriction of specific wastes would  presumably be simpler in
regulatory structure and more selectively applied than performance standards, but would
still require extensive  research into processes and waste management techniques.
Furthermore, responsible uscfof prohibition authority often requires substantial analysis of
the feasibility of less severe measures and, therefore, can also be costly to evaluate.

       A phasedown permit system would be somewhat different in concept and operation
from a command-and-control performance standard approach. Because it would not set
specific engineering standards  for each  industry, the burden on EPA for developing the
program would be  considerably less than  for a conventional, standard-setting process.
                                     — xv —

Executive Summary
    Incentives for trading among firms would be inherent in the system, since the number of
    permits would be limited to less than the current level of waste generated.  The eventual
    value and distribution of permits would be set by the marketplace, with waste reductions
    coming from those firms that could reduce most cost-effectively. These firms would be
    able to sell any unused permits on the open market as "waste reduction credits." Moreover,
    since EPA would phase down the amount of waste generation allowed, the permits would
    increase in value over time, creating a continuous incentive to reduce waste further.

          Phasedown permits would cost society far less than other performance standard
    options for achieving a given  level of waste reduction  if there are sufficiently  wide
    variations in unit control costs among generators and if trades are actually made among
    firms. They do, however, raise novel implementation problems. Two concerns are  the
    initial distribution of permits and the degree of trading to be  allowed.  However,  these
    issues may  be resolvable, as demonstrated by EPA's recent program to phase down  the
    lead content of gasoline. A third concern is how to determine the rate of the phasedown
    and the amount of hazardous waste allowed at the end of the phasedown period.

           Under any of these options, EPA would consider exempting small quantity
    generators from the requirements or would consider subjecting them to simplified and less
    burdensome requirements. Because small quantity generators collectively account for only
    a small fraction of  the wastes generated annually,8 subjecting them to stringent and
    expensive regulations may not be cost-effective or provide additional protection of human
    health and the environment.

    Management Practices

           Management practices, as  defined in this report, are procedures or institutional
    policies within a service or manufacturing operation that result in a reduction  in hazardous
    waste  generation. They are a step beyond the directives established by  performance
           Small quantity generators regulated under RCRA are those who generate between 100 and 1.000
           kilograms of hazardous waste per month. According to the National Small Quantity Hazardous
           Generator Survey, conducted for the Office of Solid Waste in 1985, small quantity generators.
           including those who generate less than 100 kilograms per month, Collectively account for less ihun
           one half of one percent of the total quantity of waste generated annually.   •
                                         — xvi —

                                                                    Executive Summary
standards and include requirements restricting particular disposal practices, requirements
for the handling of wastes as they are generated, and requirements for controlling the waste
generation system.

       Three management practices are discussed below. The first would ban the
landfilling, treatment, or incineration of potentially recyclable wastes. The second would
require the segregation of wastes to enhance recycling potential.  The third would require
mandatory waste audits.

       Banning the landfilling, treatment, or incineration of potentially recyclable wastes
would likely be controversial and possibly inefficient.  In addition, while it would be
possible to make sure that no proscribed waste is landfilled, treated, or incinerated, it
would be exceedingly difficult to ensure that all such waste is properly recycled  instead,
thus  making it  difficult to enforce.   Noncompliance (e.g., illegal  dumping) would
potentially be substantial.

       A second possibility would be a requirement for segregation of waste streams and
 banning the mixing of waste streams that are potentially recyclable.  This includes the
 isolation of hazardous materials from nonhazardous materials or the isolation of liquid from
 solid waste. The segregation of wastes does have the potential in selected instances to be
 economically attractive, and could, in fact, save some firms significant sums of money by
 reducing  treatment and disposal costs, lowering expenses for the purchase of raw
 materials, and/or generating a reclaimed product that can be marketed or sent to a was,te
 exchange. Wa;te stream segregation might, therefore, become economically attractive
 without additional regulation. It is conceivable that new prohibitions on land disposal and
 dramatically increased costs for all forms of disposal, coupled with substantial efforts to
 increase industry awareness of recycling possibilities, could provide adequate information
 and incentive for segregation without making such action a regulatory requirement.

        Waste audits can  be an effective means  to identify opportunities for  waste
 minimization, making audits mandatory, however, could undermine their effectiveness.
 While the direct costs  of waste audits for industry are not extremely high (on average

Executive Summary
   $10,000 to $20,000 per audit for an uncomplicated facility)?, requiring every waste
   generator to conduct an audit could have some detrimental effects.  If they were seen as a
   Federal requirement rather than as a corporate initiative, plant personnel might tend to be
   less than forthcoming  and  the results of such audits often might be discounted and
   disregarded.  A mandatory  program might also require EPA to develop implementing
   regulations to address who is qualified to conduct waste audits and how audits should be
   conducted, and to monitor possible reporting requirements.  Since it would be difficult to
   require compliance with the recommendations of a waste audit, such efforts do not seem

         It appears more desirable for EPA to promote voluntary waste audits on their own
   merits as a useful waste management tool, such as through a technical assistance program
   implemented through the States (see below). EPA and the States could develop programs
   that would include State certification and listing of qualified waste minimization auditors,
   targeted assistance programs for onsite audits, and development of model checklists and
  protocols  for conducting audits.  In the context of a voluntary  audit approach, such
  programs should be less burdensome to develop and more flexible to implement than under
  a mandatory regime; thus, it is suggested as an EPA initiative.

  Legislative Amendments to HSWA

         EPA currently interprets the certification requirement under HSWA Section 3002
  (generator standards) and Section 3005 (permit standards) as prohibiting the development
  of substantive requirements to generators on what  constitutes appropriate  waste
  minimization.  As the Senate Report on the certification process emphasizes, the intent of
  the current requirement  is merely to encourage generators to consider specifically the
  desirability and feasibility of waste minimization; it does not require specific  waste
  minimization action.

        The Agency believes that generators should continue to determine what their waste
  minimization options are and, at this time, that EPA  should not make process related

        For smaller facilities, the costs could be substantially lower, perhaps under 55,000; however for
        large, complex facilities, the costs could be substantially higher.
                                     — xvai —

                                                                    Executive Summary
decisions to force waste minimization.  However, EPA is further considering an option to
amend the current legislation to allow EPA to define acceptable waste minimization
practices.  This authority could allow EPA to specify general practices that could or could
not be certified as waste minimization (e.g., those practices that result in adverse cross-
media pollution transfers).  EPA is continuing to evaluate this change to the waste
minimization certification statement, and will provide Congress a further assessment of the
need to modify these requirements.  Among possible options to consider include:
      •       Prohibit, where appropriate, certification of certain types of waste
              management practices as waste minimization.
      •       Specify what may be certified as waste minimization.
      •       Define necessary documentation for certifications that state  that
              waste minimization is not economically practicable.

As additional information becomes available, the Agency could use this discretionary
authority to focus on specific industries that continue to create potential risks to human
health and the environment.

      While :;mall quantity generators might be subject to such additional reporting
responsibilities under this option, EPA could consider subjecting them to less rigorous and
burdensome requirements than those affecting large quantity generators.

Other Options

      A number of other waste minimization options have  been identified in the course of
preparing  this report.  A full list of available options is found in the technical support
document  for this report, Waste Minimization Issues and Options. Several of the options
listed there are not discussed here for various reasons: either they have been considered
already under other authority (such as the provisions  for a waste-end tax  now under
consideration as part of the CERCLA reauthorization), or they have been found, on further
review, to be unworkable as part of RCRA (e.g., enforcement bounties).  Appendix B to
this report lists options that have not been evaluated or presented here and explains the
reasons for their exclusion.
                                    — XIX —

Executive Summary
          Two basic  options  for waste minimization that the Agency believes should
    definitely be considered as part of a short- or long-term waste minimization strategy are
    (1) technical assistance for waste minimization, implemented in cooperation with the
    States, and (2) modifications to Federal procurement practices to avoid discriminating
    against recycled commodities and, where appropriate, to support development of markets
    in recycled commodities.

           An active, aggressive, and sustained program for technical assistance appears to be
    the strongest option available to promote waste minimization, especially in the near term.
    Carried out in cooperation  with the States, such a program could be aimed primarily at
    small10 and medium sized companies, which currently have the least access to information
    on how to minimize their wastes. The program's purpose would be to encourage firms to
    include waste minimization efforts in their hazardous  waste management planning, to
    provide access to technical  information, and to encourage the development of markets for
    recyclers and recycled materials. No new legislative authority would be required to launch
    such a technical assistance  effort, but adequate and sustained support by Congress would
    be necessary over the next ten years if it were to achieve its potential.

            RCRA already provides authorization for EPA  to encourage revision of Federal
    procurement practices to promote the use of recycled products. Section 6002 of RCRA
    requires procuring agencies to amend Federal procurement practices to avoid unnecessary
    discrimination against recycled products, and requires EPA to promulgate procurement
     guidelines that actively promote the procurement of recycled products. This strategy may
     help achieve substantial increases in the market share of recycled products, particularly
     where  the Federal government is a major consumer of a product.  In such instances, a
     Federal preference for a recycled product may make the product economically viable. EPA
     should work with  agencies that are in the best position to create such markets, including the
     Department of Defense and the Department of Energy.

      10     "Small" companies are not intended to include only Small Quantity Generators as defined under
            RCRA  A technical assistance program would also be useful for small quantity generators, but the
            degree of emphasis on this group would have to be carefully reviewed. While small quantity
            generators do need (and often request) technical assistance, the available data suggest, as noted
            earlier, that they contribute only a very minor fraction (about one-half of one percent) of hazardous
            waste volume nationally.

                                                                    Executive Summary

       At this time, the Agency believes that generators should continue to determine

which waste minimization techniques are economically practicable and that EPA should not

specify requirements for waste minimization.

       If, after implementation of the other pertinent provisions of the HSWA, the Agency

decides that standards of performance or required management practices are needed to

protect human health and the environment, it will then request the necessary additional

authority from Congress. EPA proposes to report to Congress on this issue in December

1990, the earliest date at which it believes a recommendation on the need for a mandatory

waste minimization program could be made.

       EPA does plan to expand its waste minimization efforts as discussed below in the

context of EPA's proposed three-point waste minimization strategy.

       The elements of this strategy are:

       1.     Information Gathering: Detailed data on industry's response to the
             land  disposal restrictions program  and other existing waste
             minimization incentives must be gathered in order to make a final
             determination on the desirability and feasibility of performance
             standards and required management practices.

       2.     A Core Waste Minimization Program: During the interval when the
             new provisions of HSWA are  taking effect, EPA will launch a
             strong technical assistance and information transfer program through
             'he States to promote voluntary waste minimization in industry,
             government, and the non-profit sectors of the economy.  It will  also
             work with Federal agencies to encourage procurement practices that
             promote the  use of recycled and reclaimed materials.

       3.     Longer Term Options:  Based on an analysis of the new  data
             gathered under  (1) above,  performance  standards  and other
             mandatory requirements can be imposed, if necessary, once the
                                    — XXI-

Executive Summary
                 HSWA amendments have taken full effect and their impacts on
                 waste generation have been assessed.

   Information Gathering

          Agency actions to encourage waste minimization, whether through voluntary means
   or through future regulatory action, must be based on a full understanding of the present
   state of hazardous waste generation and management and of how that system is evolving
   under the many pressures to which it is now being subjected. The general patterns and
   trends of hazardous waste management systems are becoming clearer, but past trends may
   not persist through the next four to six years as HSWA's new provisions take effect, and
   as industry seeks to control the potential financial liabilities associated with hazardous
   waste management.

          Baseline and trends data: The best data available to the Agency on the amount and
   content of hazardous wastes were developed by surveys  conducted  in 1981  and  1983.
   These data are rapidly becoming out of date and are known to be of uneven quality because
   of reporting errors and the small and variable sample sizes from which information was
   extrapolated  They must be supplemented with new data  documenting the changes that
   have already begun and will continue to progress over the next few years.

          In order to make a final determination on the desirability and feasibility of
   mandatory waste minimization actions,  the Agency must be able to document unresolved
   environmental problems for which such a new regulatory program  would be ihe
   appropriate response. Examples might be waste streams for which treatment and disposal
   capacity remains inadequate even after the land disposal restrictions have been in place for a
   year or more, or a future EPA determination that a particular type of hazardous waste
   treatment method does not,  in practice,  adequately protect human health and the

          The types of data needed include detailed baseline information on the volumes and
   toxicity of wastes generated, trends data on source reduction and recycling, trends data on
   treatment and disposal capacity, and analyses of the human health and  environmental
   impacts of treatment and disposal practices.  EPA expects that existing statutory authority is
                                         • xxn

                                                                   Executive Summary
sufficient to gather this additional data.  One potential source will the biennial reports,
which will be upgraded to improve the consistency  and coverage of the information
submitted.  Other sources may include a new generator survey or the 1986 TSD survey
currently being undertaken, information developed by EPA programs outside of the Office
of Solid Waste (such as under TSCA), and the reporting requirements that may be enacted
under amendments to CERCLA.

       Data to support technical assistance and information transfer: Much of the same
data can be used to set priorities for technical assistance programs to promote source
reduction and recycling programs, targeting them where they will be most successful in
reducing threats to human health and the environment. However, in-house research and
cooperation with States and industry trade  associations  will provide more detailed
information on the cost and effectiveness of specific waste minimization techniques for the
targeted industries.  This information gathering program will enable EPA to develop an
accurate profile of waste management trends and practices and selectively develop
performance standards or other requirements as needed.

 A Core Waste Minimization Program

       As tliii report has already  emphasized, it  is neither desirable nor practical to
 research, promulgate, and enforce a major regulatory program mandating specific waste
 minimization standards over the next four to six years. During this time, industry will he
 making technical and financial commitments to respond to the changing requirements and
 incentives of the hazardous waste management system. Once made, these commitments
 will be difficult to change.  It is therefore both practical and highly desirable to conduct
 outreach programs to support and  enhance the use of waste minimization as  part of an
 overall waste management strategy and to reduce threats  to human health and the
 environment It should be noted that, in the event that mandatory controls are needed in the
 near term to control volume or toxicity of wastes generated by particular industries, EPA
 would use the authority that currently exists  under  Section 6 of the Toxic Substances
 Control ACL

        Elements of this initial waste minimization program will include:
                                    — XXlll	

Executive Summary
          •      Development and publication of an Agency policy statement on
                waste minimization including non-binding guidance to generators
                defining what constitutes waste minimization under the reporting
                and certification requirements of HSWA.  To the extent possible,
                this guidance will be specific to particular industrial  sectors and

          •      Expansion of EPA's role in providing for technical and information
                assistance to generators, including small generators.  Because the
                States have more direct contact with the generators and hence have
                more awareness of generators' needs and problems, EPA's primary
                role  should be  to support and encourage the States  in the
                development of their programs.  An appropriate EPA-sponsored
                technical assistance effort includes the following elements:

                —   Assistance  for States to initiate and develop programs for
                     providing direct assistance to generators, especially small and
                     medium sized generators.

                —   Technical support of research and development and economic
                     feasibility studies that might serve an entire region or have
                     regional application.

                —   Development of a computerized information system on waste
                     minimization, accessible by the States.

         •      Encouraging voluntary waste minimization concepts within the
                review of new chemicals mandated under TSCA Section 5.  EPA
                anticipates the preparation of a New Chemicals Information Bulletin
                advising submitters that waste minimization will be  considered
                during the review  of  the  relative risk*  of the new chemical
                substances and their existing substitutes.

         The Agency should also establish a formal process of coordination with the States
  to ensure a continuing and responsive technical assistance  and outreach effort over the
  longer term.

         In addition, EPA will continue to examine specific elements of the "core" waste

  minimization program and make recommendations for legislative changes to the existing

  waste minimization requirements, if needed, as part of the  next RCRA reauthorization.

  Among the possible options to consider would be modifications to the existing certification
  for generators and TSDFs, including:
                                      — XXIV	

                                                                   Executive Summary
             Prohibiting,  where appropriate, certification of certain types of
             waste management practices as waste minimization.
             Providing, where appropriate, formal guidance as to what may be
             certified as  waste minimization.  Such  guidance could apply
             generally or to specific industrial sectors.  (Flexibility for appeals
             and exceptions must also be provided.)
      •      Requiring generators who have not undertaken any of the approved
             waste minimization activities, but who certify that there is no
             economically practicable alternative to their present waste reduction
             and management practices, to provide a written explanation of such

Longer Term Options

      Only after the land disposal restrictions and other principal provisions of the HSWA
go into effect, and after EPA has developed the needed additional data on hazardous waste
generation and management, will  it be possible to determine  whether standards of
performance (including phasedown permits) or required management practices (?uch as
waste audits) are necessary to achieve additional reductions in the volume or tov.-iry of
wastes.  The Azzncy therefore recommends that consideration of new mandatory programs
be deferud unul after such data can be gathered and analyzed, and proposes to report hack
to Congress c;, ihe desirability and feasibility of prescriptive approaches two years after the
first of the land disposal restrictions has been fully implemented.  Excluding the possibility
of case-by-case extensions,  the first of the land disposal restrictions will be fully
implemented in November of 1988; EPA will, therefore, make its next formal report or  tins
subject in Decnr.ber of 1990.


       EPA still has much to learn about waste  minimization and recognizes that the
cooperation of private and public waste generators will be invaluable as it moves toward the
development of sound long term policy. It also believes, however, that the incentives and
trends within the hazardous waste management system are unmistakable, and that the
program presented here comprises the most positive and constructive steps that can be
taken at this time. Aggressive action in favor of waste minimization is clearly needed, but a
                                     — xxv —

Executive Summary
   major new regulatory program-at least for the present-does not seem desirable or
         Incentives for waste minimization are already strong, so EPA must capitalize on
   them.  Most lacking is access by generators to the information that will demonstrate the
   economic benefits of waste minimization to industry, overcome logistical problems, and
   help develop creative new approaches.  This can be provided by a strong technical
   assistance and information transfer effort, which can achieve through voluntary means
   what would be inefficient and possibly counterproductive to attempt through regulation
   Unfortunately, non-regulatory programs have often failed at EPA for lack of statutory or
  regulatory deadlines and institutional advocacy.  For such a program to work, it must be
  given strong organizational support within the Agency.

        EPA is willing to make this commitment, and seeks support from Congress to
        ifrC CM/V*AOe
ensure its success.
                                    — XXVI —