Beneficial Reuse/ Recycling of Dangerous Waste
Reclamation of Usable Materials
Some materials can be reclaimed before they are considered solid waste. Some materials can be reused, as is. These materials are excluded from the solid and dangerous waste regulations. For instance, wastes that are on the "Discarded chemical products list" at WAC 173-303-9903 are chemical products that have expired or are otherwise unwanted. Reclaiming these materials to be reused will exempt them from the waste regulations, if done correctly.
The regulations exclude from solid waste classification three kinds of recycled waste that are reclaimed prior to being recycled. To "reclaim" means to process a material in order to recover useable products, or to regenerate the material.
*"Characteristic" refers to dangerous wastes which are dangerous waste either because they are ignitable, corrosive, reactive, or toxic, or are a state-only waste.
Commercial Chemical Product Exception
Commercial Chemical Products that are placed on the land or burned for energy recovery usually remain solid wastes and possible dangerous wastes. There are two exceptions to this:
The regulations provide an exemption from solid waste for recyclable materials that are reused as is, without reclamation. These reusable materials are viewed as product streams that are part of ordinary manufacturing and production operations. The exemption applies at the time the material is first generated. It can be managed or used as a usable product either on-site or at an off-site location. It can be:
In each of these cases the recyclable material cannot be reclaimed prior to being used or reused.
Another exclusion, termed "closed-loop recycling" is similar to the third exemption above. It differs because reclamation is allowed to occur prior to the material being recycled back to the original production process. It also differs in that the recycling train occurs entirely within closed piping.
Three specific types of recyclable materials are also exempt from solid waste when reused as described in "Recycling processes involving solid waste" at WAC 173-303-017(2)(b):
In each of the above situations, certain regulatory conditions apply to the recyclable material and to the end use of a resulting waste-derived product. They must not be:
Wastes Exempt by Variance
Some recyclable materials can qualify for a written variance exempting them from being defined as solid waste. For example, a variance is available for materials that are being accumulated for recycling, but do not meet the speculative accumulation rules that require 75 percent of recyclable materials be recycled each year. A variance is also available for materials that are partially reclaimed, but must be further reclaimed to be fully recovered. "Recycling processes involving solid waste" at WAC 173-303-017(5) fully explains the variances and how to obtain one.
Exempt Industrial Waste Streams
The dangerous waste regulations in "Recycled, reclaimed, and recovered wastes" at WAC 173-303-120(2), list three product-like industrial waste streams conditionally exempt from most dangerous-waste-management requirements :
Recycling Determination Checklist
Businesses are not required to obtain permission to beneficially recycle a dangerous waste. However, Ecology reccommends that the business has their recycling proposal reviewed through the "recycling determination checklist" process. The checklist asks a series of questions intended to show that the recycling is legitimate and does not amount to disposal of a dangerous waste without a permit. This checklist review protects the business, by making sure they are within the regulations. It also helps show visiting hazardous waste inspectors that legitimate recycling of an apparent waste material is occurring. Assessment criteria include that the recyclable material is:
The assessment also ensures the end product is not applied to the land, burned for energy recovery, or used to produce a fuel. It is important that exempt recycling is documented, since the recycling proponent has the burden of proving that they meet the conditions of the exemption. For example, a contract could show that a second party uses the material as an ingredient in a production process.
Contact Rob Rieck at (360) 407-6751 for more information on the checklist process or on any other recycling determination question.
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