Definition of Solid Waste (DSW) Rulemakings for RCRA Hazardous Waste Regulations
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This page provides information on current and past rulemakings and links to Federal Register Notices specific to the definition of solid waste.
2014 Final Rule
The EPA finalized new safeguards that promote responsible hazardous secondary materials recycling. The final rule modifies the EPA’s 2008 Definition of Solid Waste (DSW) rule to ensure it protects human health and the environment from the mismanagement of hazardous secondary materials intended for recycling, while promoting sustainability through the encouragement of safe and environmentally responsible recycling of such materials.
Pre-publication version of final rule (PDF) (507 pp, 1.51 MB) - December 10, 2014
The docket for this rulemaking is EPA-HQ-RCRA-2010-0742 and can be accessed at Regulations.gov. Documents supporting the final rule will be available after the final rule Federal Register Notice is published.
- Press Release - December 10, 2014
- Frequent Questions (PDF) (3 pp, 239 K)
- Fact Sheet (PDF) (4 pp, 239 K)
- Final DSW Environmental Justice Analysis
- Executive Summary (18 pp, 315 K)
- Volume 1 – Hazard Characterization (268 pp, 2.07 MB)
- Volume 2 – Assessment of Disproportionate Adverse Impact (112 pp, 1.48 MB)
2011 Proposed Rule
The EPA proposed new safeguards for hazardous secondary materials recycling to protect public health and the environment. The proposal modifies the 2008 Definition of Solid Waste (DSW) rule, which revised hazardous waste regulations to encourage recycling of hazardous secondary materials. The EPA requested comment on potential revisions to address concerns raised by the Sierra Club, as well as other environmental organizations.
- Federal Register - Proposed Rule - July 22, 2011
- Federal Register - Extension of the Public Comment Period - August 26, 2011
The comment period closed on October 20, 2011.
- Press Release: EPA Proposes Safeguards for Hazardous Waste Recycling July 6, 2011
- Frequent Questions
- Support Studies and Analyses
- Overview of the 2011 DSW Proposed Rule (PDF) (34 pp, 340 K)
- Pre-recorded Presentation of the 2011 DSW Proposed Rule
DSW Public Meetings
The EPA held two public meetings to allow the public to respond to the proposed rule to refine the Definition of Solid Waste (DSW):
- September 12, 2011, Philadelphia, PA |Transcript (PDF) (142 pp, 728 K)
- September 15, 2011, Chicago, IL |Transcript (PDF) (113 pp, 621 K)
Draft Environmental Justice Analysis The EPA is releasing for public comment its draft environmental justice analysis, which evaluates the rule’s potential impact on low-income and minority communities. The EPA requests public comment on the environmental justice analysis as well as on suggested changes received from peer review. A discussion of the EPA’s response to the peer review comments, including possible additional changes to the analysis is found in Chapter 1 of the report.
2009 Public Meeting on the Definition of Solid Waste Final Rule
To assist the EPA in responding to an administrative petition asking the Agency to reconsider and repeal the Definition of Solid Waste (DSW) rule, the Agency held a public meeting on June 30, 2009 at the Potomac Yards Conference Center in Arlington Virginia.
Federal Register Notice (PDF) (6 pp, 156 K) May 27, 2009
- List of Speakers (PDF) (1 pg, 34 K)
- DSW Public Meeting Presentation (16 pp, 83 K)
- Meeting Transcript
- Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-RCRA-2009-0315
Federal Register Notice Extension of Public Comment Period (PDF) (1 pg, 129 K) July 6, 2009
The EPA announced an extension to the comment period for the public meeting notice published in the Federal Register on May 27, 2009 regarding the Agency’s recent regulation on the definition of solid waste under Subtitle C of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).
The supporting materials for this public meeting are available online through Regulations.gov under Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-RCRA-2009-0315.
2008 Final Rule
On October 7, 2008, the EPA issued a final rule that streamlines regulation of hazardous secondary materials to encourage beneficial recycling and help conserve resources. By removing unnecessary regulatory controls, EPA expects to make it easier and more cost-effective to safely recycle hazardous secondary material.
- Federal Register Notice (PDF) (121 pp, 650 K) October 30, 2008
- Press Release
- Fact Sheet | Fact Sheet (PDF) (2 pp, 129 K)
- Frequent Questions
- Introduction to the Definition of Solid Waste Rule (PDF) (47 pp, 703 K)
Note: This slide presentation is provided by the EPA for the convenience of the regulated community. It is not a regulation, nor can it be considered a substitute for the actual regulations, themselves, or for related laws and applicable court decisions. If a person uses these slides to make decisions regarding whether his material is a solid waste, he makes that decision at the risk of having incorrectly interpreted applicable laws, regulations and/or legal decisions. The EPA does not intend these slides to be cited as precedent before a court or before the EPA to support a person's decision whether to treat his material as a solid waste. The EPA recommends you contact your authorized state agency or an EPA regional office should you have any concerns or doubts about whether your material is subject to RCRA jurisdiction.
Supporting Studies and Analyses
- An Assessment of Good Current Practices for Recycling of Hazardous Secondary Materials
- An Assessment of Environmental Problems Associated with Recycling of Hazardous Secondary Materials
- Addendum: An Assessment of Environmental Problems Associated with Recycling of Hazardous Secondary Materials
- A Study of Potential Effects of Market Forces on the Management of Hazardous Secondary Materials Intended for Recycling
- Regulatory Impact Analysis
The supporting materials for this rule and the public comments the EPA received on the proposal are available for public review online at Regulations.gov under docket number EPA-HQ-RCRA-2002-0031.
2007 Supplemental Proposed Rule
On March 15, 2007, the EPA issued a supplemental proposal that would streamline the regulation of hazardous secondary materials to encourage beneficial recycling and help conserve resources. The proposal also would establish criteria for determining when such materials are legitimately recycled. By removing unnecessary regulatory controls, hazardous secondary material recycling will be easier and more cost-effective. This proposed rule supplements an earlier proposal in 2003 and contains new data and analyses.
- Federal Register Notice Extension of Comment Period (PDF) (2 pp, 70 K) April 24, 2007
- Federal Register Notice (PDF) (47 pp, 315 K) March 26, 2007
- Press Release
- Fact Sheet (PDF) (2 pp, 20 K)
- Frequent Questions
The support materials for this rule and the public comments EPA received on the proposal are available for public review online at Regulations.gov under docket number EPA-HQ-RCRA-2002-0031.
2003 Proposed Rule
The EPA proposed revisions to the definition of solid waste that would streamline the regulation of certain hazardous secondary materials being recycled. The proposed rule would also establish regulatory criteria for determining whether hazardous secondary materials are recycled legitimately. A supplemental proposal was later published on March 26, 2007. Background information for the 2003 proposal is available through Regulations.gov under docket number EPA-HQ-RCRA-2002-0031.
- Federal Register Notice Extension of Comment Period (PDF) (2 pp, 165 K) December 29, 2003
- Federal Register Notice (PDF) (43 pp, 294 K) October 28, 2003
- Fact Sheet (PDF) (2 pp, 17 K)
2002 Final Rule Response to Court Order Vacating Regulatory Provisions
This action responds to two court vacaturs of regulations under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), concerning mineral processing sludges and by-products and manufactured gas plant [MGP] wastes.
Federal Register Notice (PDF) (4 pp, 173 K) March 13, 2002
1985 Final Rule
On January 4, 1985, the EPA amended its existing regulatory definition of solid waste under Subtitle C of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). This rule addressed which materials are solid and hazardous wastes when they are recycled. The rule also contained general and specific standards for various types of hazardous waste recycling. The January 4, 1985 action finalized much of the rule as it was proposed on April 4, 1983, with some changes and clarifications.
Federal Register Notice (PDF) (55 pp, 6.2 MB) January 4, 1985
1983 Proposed Rule
On April 4, 1983, the EPA published a proposed rule addressing the question of which materials are solid wastes when recycled. This proposal was published in response to public comments on the May 19, 1980 interim final rule and was intended to target those hazardous waste recycling operations posing environmental and human health concerns. In addition, the Agency proposed general and specific management standards for the recycling of hazardous wastes.
Federal Register Notice (PDF) (58 pp, 7 MB) April 4, 1983
1980 Interim Final Rule
This rule includes interim final regulations addressing the definition of solid waste (see pp. 33090-33095) and exclusions from the definition of solid waste (see pp. 33096-33102).
Federal Register Notice (PDF) (75 pp, 8.8 MB) May 19, 1980