Waste in Region 8
Nearly everything we do leaves behind some kind of waste. Households create ordinary garbage. Industrial and manufacturing processes create solid and hazardous waste. The Office of Solid Waste (OSW) regulates all this waste under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).
RCRA's goals are to:
-Protect us from the hazards of waste disposal
-Conserve energy and natural resources by recycling and recovery
-Reduce or eliminate waste, and
-Clean up waste, which may have spilled, leaked, or been improperly disposed.
Hazardous waste comes in many shapes and forms. Chemical, metal, and furniture manufacturing are some examples of processes that create hazardous waste. RCRA tightly regulates all hazardous waste from "cradle to grave." RCRA also controls garbage and industrial waste. Common garbage is municipal waste, which consists mainly of paper, yard trimmings, glass, and other materials. Industrial waste is process waste that comes from a broad range of operations. Some wastes are managed by other federal agencies or state laws. Examples of such wastes are animal waste, radioactive waste, and medical waste.
In 1976, Congress enacted the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) as the primary regulatory vehicle to assure that solid and hazardous wastes are properly managed, from the point of its generation to its ultimate disposal or destruction. Most RCRA implementation has been delegated to authorized state waste management programs. The EPA role is one of oversight and support for state actions.
RCRA Subtitle C
Subtitle C establishes a federal program to manage hazardous wastes from cradle to grave. The objective of this program is to ensure that hazardous waste is handled in a manner that protects human health and the environment. RCRA establishes a very complex and comprehensive set of requirements to define the materials that are subject to hazardous waste regulation.
RCRA Subtitle D
Subtitle D focuses on state and local governments as the primary planning, regulating, and implementing entities for the management of nonhazardous solid waste, such as household garbage and nonhazardous industrial solid waste. EPA provides these state and local agencies with information, guidance, policy and regulations through workshops and publications to help states and the regulated community make better decisions in dealing with waste issues, to reap the environmental and economic benefits of source reduction and recycling of solid wastes, and to require upgrading or closure of all environmentally unsound disposal units. In order to promote the use of safer units for solid waste disposal, EPA developed federal criteria for the proper design and operation of municipal solid waste landfills (MSWLFs) and other solid waste disposal facilities. Many states have adopted these criteria into their solid waste programs.