Comments on Proposed Aerosol Rule Submitted


JUNE 8, 2018

Aerosol cans are broadly used for dispensing a variety of products including personal care items (like hairspray and sunscreens), cleaners, food items, paints, pesticides, and many more. It’s estimated that 3.82 billion aerosol cans were filled in the U.S. in 2015 for commercial, industrial, and household use.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a proposed rule—published in the Federal Register on March 16, 2018—to add aerosol cans to the list of items regulated by the EPA as Universal Waste.

This change in the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) regulations, once finalized, will ease the burden and reduce regulatory costs on establishments that generate and manage aerosol cans, including those in the retail sector. In large retail facilities, aerosol cans account for roughly 40 percent of retail items that are managed as hazardous waste.

The streamlined Universal Waste regulations are expected to:

  • Be limited to aerosols that are RCRA hazardous due to propellants or contents
  • Limit items to non-leaking/spilled/damaged non-empty aerosols
  • Have no size restrictions for which aerosols can be managed as Universal Waste
  • Allow punctured aerosols as long as specific management standards and waste characterization standards are met
  • Require proper disposal and/or recycling
  • Permit consolidation from one Universal Waste handler to another

Under the proposed rule, states will be required to adopt the changes into their regulations. While aerosols are currently classified as hazardous waste across the country, some states have already added them to their list of items that can be managed as universal waste, including California, Colorado, Minnesota, New Mexico, Texas (paint only) and Utah.

Comments on the rule were due by May 15, 2018. A total of 78 comments were submitted on the proposed rule, with the majority requesting:

  • Clarification on the definition of an “intact” container
  • Guidance on the D003 reactivity characteristic
  • No size limits
  • The allowance of puncturing, and
  • Permitting empties

Visit our website for more information on how Clean Earth can help your business remain compliant with the latest hazardous waste regulations.

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