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Hazardous Waste

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RCRA Hazardous Waste Defined | Hazardous Waste at Home

More than 20,000 hazardous waste generators produce over 40 million tons of hazardous waste regulated by RCRA (the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act) each year. Many types of businesses generate hazardous waste. Some are small companies that may be located in your community, such as dry cleaners, auto repair shops, hospitals, exterminators, and photo processing centers. Some hazardous waste generators are larger companies like chemical manufacturers, electroplating companies, and petroleum refineries.

RCRA Hazardous Waste Defined

Hazardous waste is a waste with properties that make it dangerous or potentially harmful to human health or the environment. Hazardous waste takes many physical forms and may be solid, semi-solid, liquid, or even contained gases. RCRA hazardous wastes fall into two categories:

  1. Listed Wastes, which appear on one of the four hazardous wastes lists established by EPA regulations:


  2. Characteristic wastes, which exhibit one or more of four characteristics defined in 40 CFR Part 261 Subpart C:

Hazardous Materials at Home

Household hazardous wastes include paint, mineral spirits, batteries, and used oil. Hazardous wastes that are generated in the home are not regulated by the federal RCRA program. Many communities provide collection centers or pick-up services for the management of household hazardous waste. Local recycling centers or fire departments may be able to provide more information about locations and details.

Homeowners can also use products that are non-hazardous or less hazardous and should use only the amount needed for a project. Leftover materials can be shared with neighbors, donated to a business charity or government agency, or dropped off at a local household hazardous waste program collection site.


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