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Basic Information

Office Name Change

The Office of Solid Waste changed its name to the Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery, effective January 18, 2009.

Office Organizational Chart (PDF) (1 pg, 19K, about PDF)

Fact Sheet (PDF) (1 pg, 13K, about PDF)

Reorganization Final Rule (PDF) (8 pp, 156K, about PDF)

Related Links

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What You Can Do

Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response (OSWER)

Beyond RCRA: Prospects for Waste & Materials Management in the Year 2020; Final White Paper - Vision Statement

25 Years of RCRA: Building on Our Past to Protect Our Future (PDF) (21 pp, 838K, about PDF)

Nearly everything we do leaves behind some kind of waste. Households create ordinary garbage while industrial and manufacturing processes create solid and hazardous waste. EPA regulates all this waste under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). RCRA's goals are to:

Wastes: Hazardous and Non-Hazardous

Hazardous waste is a waste with properties that make it dangerous or potentially harmful to human health or the environment. In regulatory terms, a RCRA hazardous waste is a waste that appears on one of the four hazardous wastes lists (F-list, K-list, P-list, or U-list), or exhibits at least one of four characteristics - ignitability, corrosivity, reactivity, or toxicity.

EPA also is responsible for overseeing the effective disposal of non-hazardous wastes, from common household garbage to large-scale industrial wastes and materials. These wastes and materials are not specifically hazardous, and have opportunities for reduction, reuse, and recycling.

EPA Waste Mission and Goals

Our mission is to protect human health and the environment by ensuring responsible national management of hazardous and nonhazardous waste. Our goals are to:

We work closely with individual states, industry, environmental groups, tribes, and the public to promote safe waste management. These shared responsibilities help us to:

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