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EPA Expands Definition of Solid Waste

By Sharon O.  Jacobs
On Tuesday, January 13, 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Administrator posted the final rule revising the definition of solid waste, also known as the DSW rule, expanding the definition of solid waste. In this new 2015 DSW rule, the EPA is imposing significant new regulatory requirements upon industry, pursuant to the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, revising several recycling-related provisions and exclusions associated with the definition of solid waste.

The 122-page Federal Register notice includes changes of the current definition of solid waste, revised exclusions and lengthy explanations regarding the changes. The EPA estimates approximately 5,000 industrial facilities in 634 industries that handle roughly 1.5 million tons of hazardous secondary materials annually may be affected by the new rule. The facilities that will be affected most will be recyclers who handle metals and solvents. However, manufacturers of wood products, paper, printing, petroleum and coal products, chemicals, plastics, rubber products and nonmetallic mineral products will also be affected.

The rule affects certain types of hazardous secondary materials that are currently conditionally excluded from the definition of solid waste when reclaimed. There are six major regulatory areas that have been revised. The Federal Register summarizes those six areas, provides a brief overview and gives the EPA’s rationale for the changes.

More information about this rulemaking can be found here.
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