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Identify Dangerous Wastes in Collision Repair Shops

Many materials in a collision-repair shop can cause hazards if they are not properly handled. Below is a table that covers many of these materials.

Common Wastes in Collision Repair/Body Shops

Waste

Where / Why

Possible Waste Code

Absorbent materials Absorbents contaminated with dangerous waste become dangerous waste. Code depends on materials absorbed
Aerosol cans Propellant is most likely ignitable, and the product may be dangerous waste. Characteristic: D001, D003,Test to determine the waste code of contents
Antifreeze, spent, ethylene glycol Always state-only waste and often characteristic-toxic, due to lead and other heavy metals. Recyclable. WT02. Not needed, if recycled.
Mercury-containing light Bulbs/lamps

(Fluorescent bulbs)

Bulbs and tubes can be characterized as toxic, due to mercury, but they can be handled as a universal waste. (See Universal Waste.)

Not needed, if handled as Universal Waste

PCB-Containing Light Ballasts Ballasts listed with PCB concentration of ≥ 2 parts per million WPCB
Paint, waste or expired, oil-based Ignitable if flash point is below 140°F

State-only waste, often, due to metal content.

D001
Sludge or “bottoms” from solvent still that recycles gun cleaner or thinner Listed and often ignitable dangerous waste:  Still bottoms from a still where the solvent blend contains, before use, 10% or more of solvents such as, toluene, and MEK.  The mixture also has a flash point below 140°F. Listed: F005

Characteristic: D001

Waste methylene chloride paint stripper (unused) See Solvents. Listed waste: The discarded material is a commercial chemical product listed for toxicity.

Listed: U080

Waste methylene chloride paint sludge stripped from vehicles.

See Solvents.

Listed waste: The solvent blend contains, before use, 10% or more of methylene chloride.Listed: F002
Waste gun-cleaning solvent 

See Solvents.

Listed and ignitable dangerous waste: The solvent blend contains, before use, 10% or more of solvents such as, toluene, and MEK.  The mixture also has a flash point below 140°F. Listed: F005

Characteristic: D001

Waste paint thinner See Solvents

Listed and dangerous ignitable waste: The solvent blend contains, before use, ten percent or more of solvents such as, toluene, and MEK.  The mixture also has a flash point below 140°F. Listed: F005 Characteristic: D001
Shop Towels/Rags Contaminated with Dangerous Waste Absorbents soaked with dangerous waste become dangerous waste.  However, non-dripping rags/ towels are not considered dangerous waste if they are:
  • Laundered at an appropriate facility
  • Stored in containers away from a source of ignition AND
  • Not mixed with other waste.

Code depends on materials absorbed.  Not needed if properly laundered.

Waste paint-booth filters, masking tape/paper See Paint-booth Filters. Often characteristic-toxic dangerous waste due to trace metals or halogenated organic compounds. Filters should be tested.

Test to determine waste code

.
Sanding dust Sometimes characteristic-toxic dangerous waste, if dust is from older vehicles.  Test to determine waste code.
Used motor oil Often characteristic-toxic dangerous waste due to levels of lead and/or benzene.  Usually recycled Test to determine waste code or recycle through approved handler.
Tires

See Waste Tires.

Tires are not considered dangerous waste, but no more than 800 tires can be stored on-site at any time. Not needed

Related information

Shop Guide for Dangerous Waste Management is an Ecology publication and guide to handling many types of common shop wastes.