September 9, 2015

Reclamation vs. Reuse—A Huge Difference

EPA published guidance in July discussing the regulatory status of used refractory brick reused to make new brick. [RO 14852] The used brick (generated from replacing the refractory in wool glass melting furnaces) is exported for chemical and/or high-temperature conversion of hexavalent to trivalent chromium before it can be used in the production of the new product. EPA’s evaluation of this process concluded that the used brick is a “spent material” that requires reclamation prior to reuse in making new brick. Therefore, based on Table 1 in §261.2(c), the used brick would be a solid waste and a hazardous waste if it exhibits a characteristic.

The company suggested that the used brick is reused to make new product and so should be excluded from RCRA per the use/reuse exclusions in §261.2(e). The agency’s response was that the brick would not enjoy any of those exclusions because the conversion of hexavalent to trivalent chromium is reclamation, which voids them all.


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