United States
Environmental Protection

March 2007
                         PROPOSED REVISIONS TO THE
                         DEFINITION OF SOLID WASTE AIM
                         TO INCREASE RECYCLING
    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposes to streamline regulation of hazardous
secondary materials to encourage beneficial recycling and help conserve resources. By removing
unnecessary controls, recycling these materials will not only be safe, but also easier and more

    EPAis following up on a 2003 action, which proposed to exclude certain types of
recycling activities involving hazardous secondary materials from the federal hazardous
waste regulations. By removing unnecessary regulatory controls over certain recycling
practices, EPA expects to make it easier to safely recycle hazardous secondary material.
    Exclusions are proposed for the following:
          Materials that are generated and reclaimed under the control of the generator;
          Materials that are generated and transferred to another person or company for
          reclamation under specific conditions; and
          Materials that EPA deems nonwaste through a case-by-case petition process.
    The proposal also defines legitimate recycling activities. Defining legitimate recycling
ensures that only authentic recycling, and not treatment or disposal under the guise of
recycling, receives the benefits of streamlined regulations. In order to be legitimately
recycled, the material (1) must provide a useful contribution to the recycling process, and
(2) the recycling must yield a valuable product or intermediate. Two additional factors
must also be considered: (1) Whether the recycled material is managed as a valuable
commodity, and (2) whether the recycled product does not contain toxic constituents at
equivalent or significantly greater levels than non-recycled product.

    No changes are proposed for recycled materials that are: (1) Considered inherently
waste-like; (2) used in a manner constituting disposal;  or (3) burned for energy recovery.
Any currently regulated material managed in these ways must still comply with the federal
hazardous waste regulations.

    The Agency estimates about 4600 facilities handling over a half million tons of
hazardous secondary materials annually may be affected by this proposed rule. The
industry sectors that could be most affected are: chemical manufacturing, coating and
engraving, semiconductor and electronics manufacturing, pharmaceutical manufacturing,

and the industrial waste management industry. This action may result in an average annual
cost savings of $107 million for affected industry sectors, with $85 million consisting of
reduced regulatory costs.
   The Agency is accepting comment on this proposal for 60 days following publication in
the FederalRegister (http://www.gpoaccess.gov/fr/index.html). The docket number is
EPA-HQ-RCRA-2002-0031 and is available for public viewing.

   On October 28,2003, EPA published proposed revisions to the definition of solid
waste in the Federal Register (68 FR 61558). The 2003 proposal provided an exclusion
from the definition of solid waste for hazardous secondary materials, which are generated
and reclaimed in a continuous process within the same industry. The Agency received
numerous comments disagreeing with our approach. In response to these comments, EPA
reexamined the issues, new data, and new analyses. This proposal restructures our 2003

For  More Information
   More information about the Definition of Solid Waste, please visit us on the web at:
http://www.epa.gov/epaoswer/hazwaste/dsw/index.htm. To find out more detailed
information or to ask a question, please go to http://waste.custhelp.com.