Final Rule: Aerosols as Universal Waste


DECEMBER 11, 2019

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has signed a Final Rule to add aerosol cans to the Universal Waste (UW) program under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). The rules provide a clear, protective system for managing discarded aerosol cans. A wide variety of establishments generating and managing hazardous waste aerosol cans – including the retail sector – will be impacted when the rule goes into effect on Feb. 7, 2020.

The streamlined universal waste regulations are expected to:

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

Under the Final 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.

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 is estimated that 3.75 billion aerosol cans were filled in the U.S. in 2016 for commercial, industrial and household use.

You can read more about the Final Rule here. To find out more information how Clean Earth can help your business remain compliant with the latest hazardous waste regulations, visit the services section of our site.

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