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manage dangerous waste

Small Quantity Generators

Does my Business Generate Dangerous Waste?

It’s more common than you think. Most businesses in Washington generate some type of dangerous waste—waste that’s potentially harmful to our health and environment.

See common examples of dangerous waste.

Washington State uses the term dangerous waste, while federal law uses the term hazardous waste. Washington’s rules are more protective of the environment and cover some wastes that are not included in the federal definition. You are required to determine whether the waste your business generates is dangerous. Determine whether your waste is dangerous.

What’s a Small Quantity Generator?

Small Quantity Generators (SQGs) are businesses in Washington that generate less than 220 pounds of dangerous waste, or less than 2.2 pounds of certain kinds of highly toxic waste, in any month. SQGs may accumulate up to 2,200 pounds (or up to 2.2 pounds for wastes regulated at the 2.2-pound limit). The rules for this category of dangerous waste generators are less complex than they are for medium or large quantity generators. Learn more about generator status.

Learn more about being a small quantity generator in our video:

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What are Small Quantity Generators Required to do?

Under the Dangerous Waste Regulations in WAC 173-303-070 (8), there are just a few requirements SQGs must follow:

1. Designate Waste

Determine if your waste is dangerous. If it is, you must assign the proper waste code(s). Learn more about waste designation from our website and step-by-step video.

After designating your waste, you’ll need to count it. “Counting” is measuring how much waste you have each month in pounds. The amount you generate and accumulate will tell you your generator status.

2. Manage Waste Safely

Manage dangerous waste in a way that does not pose a threat to human health or the environment. For instance, you must prevent leaks and spills.

3. Recycle or Dispose of Waste Safely

Properly dispose of dangerous waste in a:

  • Permitted solid waste facility,
  • Permitted dangerous (hazardous) waste facility,
  • Permitted Moderate Risk Waste facility,
  • Permitted industrial waste facility, or
  • A facility that beneficially uses or reuses or legitimately recycles or reclaims the waste.

Keep records of any waste sent to a treatment or disposal facility. You are responsible for making sure the disposal facility properly handles your waste. The Dangerous Waste Regulations don’t require SQGs to keep records. However, records can prove your SQG status or that you disposed of your waste properly if your business is inspected.

For more information about waste disposal:

Some SQGs have a RCRA Site ID number. The state doesn’t require SQGs to have this ID number, but many choose to. If your facility has an ID number, you must file a Dangerous Waste Annual Report (even if you didn’t generate any dangerous waste).

Does my County Have Other Rules?

Some local jurisdictions, such as counties or health districts, may have additional requirements. They may also have resources to help you manage or dispose of your waste. Your local jurisdiction may call your dangerous waste “Moderate Risk Waste.” Moderate Risk Waste (MRW) includes hazardous (dangerous) waste from households and dangerous waste from small quantity generators.

Get more information from your local authorities:

How do I Manage my Waste Safely?

There aren’t specific management requirements for small quantity generators, but you will be held responsible if there is an accident, spill, or if your waste isn’t disposed of properly. Managing waste safely means you’ll keep your workplace safer and reduce your liability.

We offer tools and resources to help. See our most popular waste management topics for SQGs:

Ecology staff are here to help. If you have questions about managing your waste or if you’d like to learn how to reduce your waste or find safer alternatives, contact your regional Ecology office.

How Long May I Keep Waste On Site?

Small quantity generators don’t have a time limit for accumulating dangerous waste. However, if you amass 2,200 pounds of dangerous waste (or 2.2 pounds of certain kinds of highly toxic waste), you are no longer an SQG, in which case more requirements will apply. Learn more about generator status.

May I Transport my Waste?

Small quantity generators may transport their own waste (NOT an option for medium or large quantity generators).

How can I Reduce my Dangerous Waste?

All businesses can benefit from reducing or eliminating their dangerous waste generation. Changing a process or substituting a less hazardous product can reduce dangerous waste, save money, and protect workers. Ecology’s Toxics Reduction Specialists can help.

Learn about pollution prevention opportunities for your business: