Product or Waste?

Ruined product(s) might be dangerous waste.

A product is something for which there is a known use, and a waste is not useful. If you or your customers can no longer use a product, you might need to manage it as dangerous waste.

Many businesses discover that products have become dangerous wastes, especially after a disastrous event such as a flood. Wastes are subject to the Dangerous Waste Regulations.  A dangerous-waste inspector can help you determine whether an intended product appears to be waste.

Identify and Designate Dangerous Waste can help you to discover if a waste is dangerous waste.

Here are some helpful guidelines:

  • Separate products and wastes.
  • Only keep products with a known use. Don’t hold onto chemicals in hopes of using them later.
  • Store products away from rain and temperature extremes.
  • Store in good containers that are not leaking. Keep them closed.
  • Stack containers so that they do not collapse or rupture.
  • Check your inventory and account for all chemicals.

Storage and Accumulation discusses how long a business may keep items that are dangerous waste.

Materials to be recycled

Materials that are awaiting recycling may be stored for a short time. Certain recyclable materials are conditionally exempt from the regulations and are not considered wastes. However, the exemption is conditional on handling the materials properly and promptly. Some of these materials are:

Aerosol Cans Antifreeze
Batteries Electronic Waste/Cathode Ray Tubes
Lights and Lamps Oil/Petroleum
Shop Towels Solvents
Treated Wood Waste  

Beneficial Reuse/ Recycling Some recyclable dangerous waste materials can be reused and turned into products. These materials are excluded from classification as solid waste because they can be beneficially reused. Although they may have some harmful qualities or contain toxic chemicals, they have value as products or ingredients used to make products. These materials are not managed under the dangerous waste regulations.

Treatment by Generator discusses types of on-site waste treatment. The regulations consider only certain elements of these processes to be dangerous waste.

Related information

IMEX, the Industrial Materials Exchange, offers waste from some businesses to become useful materials for others.

Recycled, reclaimed, and recovered wastes are at WAC 173-303-120 of the Dangerous Waste Regulations.

1-800-RECYCLE holds a database of recycling information for the public.



Alphabetical listing of dangerous materials commonly used by businesses


Natural disasters can turn products into wastes.


Figure out if your waste is a dangerous waste.