Frequently Asked Questions
Chapter 173-345 WAC
Recyclable Materials - Transporter & Facility Requirements
Whom does this rule apply to?
The rule applies to transporters of recyclables from commercial and industrial generators
with five exemptions:
- Carriers of commercial recyclable materials, when such materials are owned or being
bought or sold by the entity or person, and being carried in their own vehicle, when such
activity is incidental to the conduct of an entity or person's primary business;
- Entities or persons hauling their own recyclables or hauling recyclables they generated
or purchased and transported in their own vehicles;
- Nonprofit or charitable organizations collecting and transporting recyclable materials
from a buyback center, drop box, or from a commercial or industrial generator of recyclable
- City municipal solid waste departments or city solid waste contractors; or
- Common carriers under chapter 81.80 RCW whose primary business is not the transportation
of recyclable materials.
This rule also applies to all facilities that recycle solid waste, except for those with a current
solid waste handling permit issued under the solid waste statute (RCW 70.95).
Are there any fees for transporters to register with Ecology and for recycling facilities to
notify Ecology of their operation?
There are no fees for the registration program or the notification program.
Aren't the transporter registration program and the recycling facility notification program
already in existence?
Yes. Both programs began in 2006. In November of 2005, transporters, material recovery
facilities (MRF's), and recycling facilities were notified that Ecology was beginning both
programs. The Transporter registrations began in 2006, as did the recycling facility notifications.
How difficult is it for a transporter to register with Ecology?
The registration program is an online form that can be filled out in approximately 20 minutes. You
can register online at
If a prospective transporter has difficulty filling out the form there is contact information provided.
How do new recycling facilities notify Ecology before beginning operation?
Ecology is in the process of developing an on-line notification form. The form will be on the
transporter homepage at
Are compost facilities considered recycling facilities?
Composting is a form of organic material recycling. The organic material is transformed into a useable and
marketable material used for use other than landfill disposal or incineration. However compost facilities
are subject to their own Composting rule,
, not the Recycling rule,
What requirements apply to compost facilities that distribute composted material off-site?
All compost facilities, both permitted and exempt from a solid waste permit, must follow the Performance Standards,
. In addition, permitted compost
facilities are required to follow the composting standards at
. Exempt compost facilities
that distribute composted material offsite need to meet requirements in
WAC 173-350-220 Table 220-A
. Compost facilities
that transport recyclable materials for compensation may be required to report as a transporter. For more information
about compost facility requirements, visit
Ecology's Organic Materials Management, Law & Rule
What is the definition of "recycling" in this rule?
The term "recycling" means transforming or remanufacturing waste materials into usable or marketable
materials for use other than landfill disposal or incineration. Recycling does not include collection,
compacting, repackaging, and sorting for the purpose of transport (WAC 173-350).
What does the term "incidental" mean?
Ecology chose not to define "incidental" in the rule because we had a number of comments expressing
concern about the lack of clarity of the meaning we provided in the proposed rule language. The
term could be defined in a number of ways. Webster's dictionary defines incidental as "happening
or likely to happen as a result of or in connection with something more important or secondary or
minor, but usually associated with." RCW 81.77.010(5) includes the phrase "transports solid waste
purely as an incidental adjunct to some other established private business." On the internet, it
can be defined as "happening in connection with or resulting from something more important."
For purposes of this rule "incidental" is an adjunct or secondary activity to the primary activity
of transporting recyclable materials to a MRF or recycling facility.
Can a load of recyclables ever be taken to a transfer station?
Yes, a transfer station, depending on how the permit and or plan of operation are written, can have
MRF activities going on concurrent with transfer station activities. If this is the case, under
this rule, delivery of recyclables to the MRF area of a transfer station would be allowed. Delivery
of recyclables to the transfer station for final disposal is not allowed.
What can cause a transporter to receive a penalty?
A transporter can receive a penalty for not registering with Ecology, not keeping records as
required in section 173-345-050 of the rule, or for delivering recyclable material for disposal
Can a recycling facility or MRF receive a penalty for violating this rule?
Yes, any recycling facility or MRF, except for product take-back centers, that receives recyclables
within the state without first having a solid waste handling permit or completing notification to
Ecology is subject to a civil penalty of up to one thousand dollars per violation.
Who is responsible for enforcing the rule provisions and what is the process for complying with
this rule? What type of penalties can be imposed for violating the rule?
Waste 2 Resources Program staff will be responsible for enforcement when they become
aware of a violation of the rule.
There are four areas of possible violations in the proposed rule.
- Failure to register by a transporter of recyclables
A transporter who fails to
register with the department is subject to a penalty of up to one thousand dollars per violation.
- Failure of a transporter to deliver recyclables to a recycling facility or MRF
A transporter who delivers recyclables to a facility for disposal is subject to a penalty of up
to one thousand dollars per violation.
- Failure of a transporter to keep records of transport
A transporter who fails to keep complete records of the transport of recyclables for two years
is subject to a penalty of up to one thousand dollars per violation.
- Failure of a recycling facility or MRF to notify Ecology of their intention to operate 30
days before operation
A recycling facility or MRF that does not notify Ecology of its intent to operate 30 days before
beginning operation is subject to a penalty of up to one thousand dollars per violation.
Ecology is responsible for enforcing the rule. Local health departments can enforce against
transporters that do not keep complete records and any other violations of local ordinances.
Ecology will assess the significance of each violation. For violations determined to be minor or
administrative in nature the violator may be sent a notice of correction to correct the violation
within a specified amount of time, usually 30 days. If the violation has not been corrected
within the timeframe stated in the notice, penalties may be issued. For serious or repeated
violations, penalties may be issued immediately for up to $1,000 per violation per day. The
handling of enforcement actions is dictated by an enforcement policy for this program. The
enforcement policy is in development at this time.
What if a transporter or recycler disagrees with a penalty?
Under Chapter 34.05 RCW, Administrative Procedures Act, entities can appeal Ecology penalties to
the Pollution Control Hearings Board (PCHB). If either party does not agree with the PCHB
decision, they can appeal the decision to the superior court in the county where the violation
took place or in Thurston County.
In the final rule language, you stated that transporters of recyclable material could not take
the material to facilities for disposal but you did not say the types of facilities. Why?
The statutory language prohibits taking recyclable materials to transfer stations or landfills for
disposal. The statutory language did not mention other types of facilities where solid waste could
be disposed (i.e. solid waste incinerators, illegal dumping and limited purpose landfills).
Ecology determined that by stating disposal only this rule could apply to other types of
facilities or disposal scenarios.
The statute (RCW70.95.020(3)) requires a separate container for solid waste at all sites where
recyclable materials are generated and transported. What happens if a site does not provide a
separate container for solid waste?
That would be a violation of section .020 of the statute and WAC 173-345-040. WAC 173-345 states
that it is a violation of this rule not to provide a separate container for solid waste. However,
the rule does not provide for a specific penalty for this violation. The site owner or operator
would be notified of a violation of the statute and rule and directed to come into compliance.
Additionally, the registered transporter of recyclable materials would not be allowed to
transport non-recyclables from the site. The franchised hauler for that area would contact
the owner or operator to address the collection of solid waste on-site.
What happens when a transporter delivers recyclable material for disposal?
This is a violation of the statute (RCW70.95.020(3)) and the rule (WAC 173-345). For first
time offenders, Ecology will most likely offer technical assistance in the form of a letter
notification of non-conformance with the requirements of WAC 173-345. If the transporter does
not cease after notification, Ecology can initiate an enforcement action. Penalties could be up
to $1,000 per violation. In addition, if Ecology finds that required records indicating where
the recyclable material went are missing or they are inaccurate, under section .070 the
transporter could be subject to a separate enforcement action. Penalties could be up to $1,000
The local health department could also take enforcement actions against the transporter, depending
on local ordinances and the local solid waste management plan.
What are some examples of disposal?
What are some examples of places recyclable materials can be taken under WAC 173-345?
- Transfer stations that collect material for disposal
- Solid waste landfills
- Solid waste incinerators
- Limited purpose landfills
- Material recovery facilities that send source separated materials to recycling facilities
for reprocessing or remanufacturing.
- Recycling facilities for reprocessing or remanufacturing.
- Buy-back centers that then separate and send the separated recyclable materials to recycling
facilities for reprocessing or remanufacturing.
CONSTRUCTION, DEMOLITION, LANDCLEARING DEBRIS (CDL) QUESTIONS
Is CDL debris considered recyclable material?
In order for any material to be considered as a recyclable material the material must be listed in
the local solid waste management plan. If it is not listed in the local plan, it is not considered
a recyclable material. Many CDL materials are listed as recyclable materials in local solid waste
How does the rule impact the use of CDL for hog fuel?
The use of processed or chipped CDL in hog fuel boilers is diversion, not recycling. However,
the process to create the hog fuel material is recycling (see The definition of "recycling" in
this rule?). Once the CDL material has been processed into hog fuel specifications, the material
is now a commodity that can be transported to a hog fuel boiler for use as a fuel. Therefore,
this rule applies to the transporter hauling the unprocessed CDL material, but not to the
transporter hauling the hog fuel commodity to its customer.
Can a registered transporter of recyclables haul hog fuel that originated as CDL debris?
Yes, but the registered transporter should contact the Washington Utilities and Transportation
Commission to determine if the transporter has all the proper permits since CDL processed into hog
fuel is a commodity, not a recyclable material.
A transporter of CDL hauls recyclable material from a construction site to a recycling facility
or MRF. Some materials in the load may be solid waste, not recyclables. How is that treated by the rule?
Enforcement of haulers defined as transporters of recyclables would be Ecology's responsibility under
chapter 173-345 WAC. When over 10% of a CDL load is solid waste a G-certificated hauler must haul the
material. WUTC is responsible for enforcement of haulers of solid waste that do not have a
Can recyclable material be used as alternative daily cover?
Recyclable material, when defined as such in the local solid waste management plan, from commercial
or industrial generators can only be transported to material recovery facilities (MRF's) or recycling
facilities. Recyclable material cannot be sent to a transfer station or landfill for disposal.
Alternative daily cover is disposal of the material used. Under this rule, this would not be an
allowable final destination of the material.
However, if a material is not defined in the local solid waste management plan as a recyclable
material, then for that planning jurisdiction only, the material can be handled in any manner
the jurisdiction considers appropriate. A G certificated hauler could transport the material
to a transfer station or landfill for recycling or disposal. Ecology strongly advocates that
recyclable material be recycled but cannot require it in this circumstance.
Do transporters of Covered Electronic Products have to register with Ecology?
Businesses that transport Covered Electronic Products as defined in 173-900 WAC exclusively for recycling are exempt
only from transporter registration and reporting requirements under WAC 173-345. They are however required to
register as a transporter under the E-Cycle Washington Program according to WAC 173-900-500.
Do collectors of Covered Electronic Products have to notify Ecology of their intent to operate, as
other recycling facilities are required to?
If the collector of segregates Covered Electronic Products as defined in WAC 173-900 only, they do not
have to notify Ecology of their existence.