EPA Reclassifies Aerosol Can Waste


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently issued a final rule adding hazardous waste aerosol cans to the universal waste program under the Resource Conversation and Recovery Act regulations.

“Aerosol cans are widely used for dispensing a broad range of products including paints, solvents, pesticides, food and personal care products and many others,” said the agency, noting that the Household and Commercial Products Association estimates that 3.75 billion aerosol cans were filled in the United States in 2016 for use by commercial and industrial facilities as well as by households.

Aerosol cans can account for nearly 40% of retail items that are managed as hazardous waste at large retail facilities.

Under the reclassification, aerosol cans, pressurized or spent—including spray paint cans—will be treated and handled as universal waste.

The EPA says that the goal of the reclassification is to streamline regulations and it’s expected to:

  • Ease regulatory burdens on retail stores and others that discard aerosol cans,
  • Promote the collection and recycling of aerosol cans; and
  • Encourage the development of municipal and commercial programs to reduce the quantity of these wastes going to municipal solid waste landfills or combustors.

The American Coatings Association noted that it supported the move when it was first proposed back in March 2018, but pointed out that not all states have adopted the same federal regulations under the RCRA.

“Notably, five states—California, Colorado, Utah, New Mexico and Ohio—already have universal waste aerosol can programs in place, and Minnesota has proposed to add aerosol cans to their universal waste regulations,” the ACA said.

“The universal waste programs in all these states include streamlined management standards like 40 CFR part 273 for small and large quantity handlers of universal waste, and a one-year accumulation time limit for the aerosol cans. In addition, the four state universal waste programs, as well as Ohio’s proposed regulations, set standards for puncturing and draining of aerosol cans by universal waste handlers.”

The final rule is set to go into effect 60 days after publication.


Tagged categories: Aerosol coatings; Environmental Controls; EPA; EPA; Government; Hazardous waste; Health and safety; NA; North America; Regulations; Safety; Spray Paint

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