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News Releases from HeadquartersLand and Emergency Management (OLEM)

EPA Finalizes Streamlined System for Managing Recycling Aerosol Cans, Saving More Than $5 Million

11/15/2019
Contact Information: 
EPA Press Office (press@epa.gov)

WASHINGTON — Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized a streamlined system for managing hazardous waste aerosol cans that is clear, practical, and protective and promotes recycling. EPA estimates this change will save at least $5.3 million annually in regulatory costs.

“Today’s rule will benefit approximately 25,000 facilities across numerous industries such as the retail, construction, and manufacturing sectors” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “The simplified structure of the universal waste program will help improve regulatory compliance, make aerosol can collection more economical, and facilitate the environmentally sound recycling of this common waste stream.”

EPA anticipates that this final rule will promote greater consistency for the regulated community as several states already include aerosol cans in their universal waste programs. The final rule offers a more uniform, nationwide handling system and furthers our effective partnerships with states and tribes by making it easier for states to add this waste stream to their universal waste programs.

With this rule, EPA is adding hazardous waste aerosol cans to the list of materials that can be managed under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act’s universal waste management system. This system was established to streamline hazardous waste management for certain categories of hazardous waste that are commonly generated by a wide variety of establishments. Hazardous waste batteries, certain hazardous waste pesticides, mercury-containing equipment, and hazardous waste mercury lamps are the other federal universal wastes.

This change is expected to benefit the wide variety of companies generating and managing hazardous waste aerosol cans, including the retail sector, by providing clear, practical standards for handling discarded aerosol cans and protecting human health and the environment. Today’s rule is 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 collection programs to reduce the quantity of these wastes going to municipal solid waste landfills or combustors; and
  • Save the regulated community between $5.3 million to $47.8 million annually.

Additional information about this final rule, including a pre-publication copy, can be found here: https://www.epa.gov/hw/universal-waste.