January 17, 2017

EPA Releases RCRA Compliance Strategy for Retailers

On September 12, 2016, EPA released its Strategy for Addressing the Retail Sector under RCRA’s Regulatory Framework. First and foremost, the agency recognizes that the RCRA regulations, which were developed primarily for manufacturing settings, “are not necessarily the best fit for the retail sector.” Comments received in response to EPA’s February 14, 2014 Notice of Data Availability for the Retail Sector [79 FR 8926] indicate that the following primary issues cause problems with RCRA compliance in this sector:

EPA’s generator improvements rule, finalized November 28, 2016 [81 FR 85732], addressed a couple of these issues relevant to the retail sector. This rule:

The agency’s pharmaceuticals rule, proposed September 25, 2015 [80 FR 58014], would also address some RCRA concerns for these materials in the retail sector, but that rule is not scheduled to be finalized until December 2017.

In addition to these two rulemakings, EPA is undertaking three other activities that will address RCRA concerns in the retail sector. The agency plans to:

  1. Issue a guide to recycling aerosol cans under the existing Subtitle C regulations;
  2. Propose the addition of aerosol cans, other types of pesticides, and/or electronics to the federal universal waste rules; and
  3. Develop a policy that addresses the reverse distribution process for the retail sector, particularly as it relates to when discard occurs or is intended to occur and the timing of required waste determinations.


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