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Trash Compactors Balers Guide (NEW EQUIPMENT) DB42 (42" Vertical Baler - Cardboard Baler) DB60 (60" Vertical Baler - Cardboard Baler) DB60H (60" High Pressure Vertical Baler) DD30 (30" Drum Crusher - Drum Compactor) DP Series (Cardboard Baler / Drum Crusher) DP18 (18" Industrial Baler / Industrial Drum Crusher) DP24 (24" Industrial Baler / Industrial Drum Crusher) DP30 (30" Industrial Baler / Industrial Drum Crusher) DP36 (36" Industrial Baler / Industrial Drum Crusher) DP36LP (Low Profile / Portable Baler - Compactor) TVB48 (48" Industrial Vertical Baler - Recycling Baler) TVB60 (60" Industrial Vertical Baler - Recycling Baler) TVB72 (72" Industrial Vertical Baler - Recycling Baler) VB42 (42" Low Profile Deep Chamber Vertical Baler) VB42SR (42" Stock Room Baler - Twin Cylinder Baler) VB46 (46" Low Profile Deep Chamber Vertical Baler) VB60 (60" Low Profile Deep Chamber Vertical Baler) VB72 (72" Low Profile Deep Chamber Vertical Baler) EX6FL (6 Yard Building Trash Compactor - Commercial) CA5 (Industrial Building Compactor - Commercial Purposes) 300SS (Stainless Steel Trash Compactor - Stainless) 450SS (Stainless Steel Trash Compactor - Stainless) 700SS (Stainless Steel Trash Compactor - Stainless) 450SSRC (Rear Chute Stainless Steel Trash Compactor) 700SSRC (Rear Chute Stainless Steel Trash Compactor) C36RC (High Rise Apartment Complex Trash Compactor) P200 (Outside Compactor - Waste Compactor System) VC02 Building Trash Container with Chute Used Vertical Balers Used Trash Compactors Used Tool Room Machinery and Tooling




Backyard Burning
Consumer Tips
Household Hazardous Waste
Medical Waste
Municipal Solid Waste (Trash or Garbage)
Organic Materials
Scrap Tires
Used Oil

Special Wastes

Cement Kiln Dust
Crude Oil and Gas Waste
Fossil Fuel Combustion Waste
Mineral Processing

Commercial / Industrial

Construction & Demolition Debris
Hazardous Waste Data
Industrial Waste
International Waste Activities
Medical Waste
Organic Materials
Scrap Tires
Used Oil


Recycling / Pollution Prevention

Buy Recycled
Climate Change
Electronics Recycling (eCycling)
Hazardous Waste Recycling
Jobs Through Recycling
Materials and Waste Exchanges
Recycling Measurement
Waste Minimization

Waste Treatment / Control

Corrective Action
Definition of Solid Waste
E-Permitting Initiative
Hazardous Waste
Land Disposal Restrictions
Nonhazardous Waste

Permits and Permitting
Radioactive Mixed Waste
Safe Mercury Management
State Authorization
Test Methods
Treatment, Storage, and Disposal
Universal Waste
Waste Identification
Waste Transfer Stations


Resource Conservation Challenge (RCC) Voluntary Partnership Programs

Coal Combustion Products
GreenScapes Alliance
National Partnership for Environmental Priorities (NPEP)
Plug-In To eCycling
Product Stewardship
Schools Chemical Cleanout Campaign (SC3)


Comprehensive Procurement Guidelines
Full Cost Accounting
Recycling Measurement

Environmental Justice


Environmental Management Systems (EMS)


Tribes and Alaskan Native Villages



Preserving Resources, Preventing Waste


About WasteWise
Program Overview · Benefits · Results · Membership Listing · Registration · Publications · Endorser Program




Waste Reduction Resources
Waste Prevention · Recycling · Buy/Manufacture Recycled · WasteWise Updates · General Links · Satellite Forum


WasteWise Member Services
Planning Your Program · Measuring Your Progress · Reporting Your Results · Promoting Your Achievements · Endorser Resources · Events · eBulletin

WasteWise Climate Campaign
Climate Change and Waste · Tools and Outreach · Climate Publications · Organizations and Links · Partners Only Resources


WasteWise Targeted Initiatives
Beneficial Use of Secondary Materials · Buildings · Colleges and Universities · Electronics · Organic Waste · Paper · Primary Packaging/Containers · States · Transport Packaging



Recycling is a series of activities that includes collecting recyclable materials that would otherwise be considered waste, sorting and processing recyclables into raw materials such as fibers, and manufacturing raw materials into new products.

Recycling Process

Collecting and processing secondary materials, manufacturing recycled-content products, and then purchasing recycled products creates a circle or loop that ensures the overall success and value of recycling.

Step 1. Collection and Processing
Collecting recyclables varies from community to community, but there are four primary methods: curbside, drop-off centers, buy-back centers, and deposit/refund programs.

Regardless of the method used to collect the recyclables, the next leg of their journey is usually the same. Recyclables are sent to a materials recovery facility to be sorted and prepared into marketable commodities for manufacturing. Recyclables are bought and sold just like any other commodity, and prices for the materials change and fluctuate with the market.

Step 2. Manufacturing
Once cleaned and separated, the recyclables are ready to undergo the second part of the recycling loop. More and more of today's products are being manufactured with total or partial recycled content. Common household items that contain recycled materials include newspapers and paper towels; aluminum, plastic, and glass soft drink containers; steel cans; and plastic laundry detergent bottles. Recycled materials also are used in innovative applications such as recovered glass in roadway asphalt (glassphalt) or recovered plastic in carpeting, park benches, and pedestrian bridges.

Step 3. Purchasing Recycled Products
Purchasing recycled products completes the recycling loop. By "buying recycled," governments, as well as businesses and individual consumers, each play an important role in making the recycling process a success. As consumers demand more environmentally sound products, manufacturers will continue to meet that demand by producing high-quality recycled products. Llearn more about recycling terminology and to find tips on identifying recycled products.

Recycling Facts and Figures

  • In 1999, recycling and composting activities prevented about 64 million tons of material from ending up in landfills and incinerators. Today, this country recycles 32 percent of its waste, a rate that has almost doubled during the past 15 years.
  • While recycling has grown in general, recycling of specific materials has grown even more drastically: 50 percent of all paper, 34 percent of all plastic soft drink bottles, 45 percent of all aluminum beer and soft drink cans, 63 percent of all steel packaging, and 67 percent of all major appliances are now recycled.
  • Twenty years ago, only one curbside recycling program existed in the United States, which collected several materials at the curb. By 2005, almost 9,000 curbside programs had sprouted up across the nation. As of 2005, about 500 materials recovery facilities had been established to process the collected materials.


For recycling to work, everyone has to participate in each phase of the loop. From government and industry, to organizations, small businesses, and people at home, every American can make recycling a part of their daily routine. Below are some ways in which businesses, local governments, and citizens can get involved:


·         Visit the Web site for EPA's WasteWise program.

·         Get involved with your local or state recycling organization. For a list of state organizations, visit the National Recycling Coalition's Web site.

·         Buy recycled-content products. Visit the Web site for EPA's Comprehensive Procurement Guidelines for lists of manufacturers of recycled-content products.

Local Governments

·         Improve the efficiency of your collection program. An EPA resource entitled Getting More for Less: Improving Collection Efficiency [Adobe PDF, 880 KB, about PDF] (EPA530-R-99-038) explains several important strategies for improving efficiency as well as case studies of communities that have reaped the benefits of improved solid waste collection.

·         Practice full cost accounting (FCA). Visit the FCA Web site for more information on using FCA to assist with identifying and assessing the costs of solid waste management.

·         Identify opportunities to increase recycling rates. Visit Pennsylvania's Web site for examples of local government projects in Pennsylvania to help meet or exceed the state's 35 percent recycling goal. Also, view EPA's guidance on measuring the success of your state or local recycling program.


·         Recycle at home. Find out if there is a recycling program in your community. If so, participate in the program by separating and putting out your recyclables for curbside pickup or taking them to your local drop-off or buy-back center.

·         Shop smarter. Use products in containers that can be recycled in your community and items that can be repaired or reused. Also, support recycling markets by buying and using products made from recycled materials.

  • Recycle on the Go! Look for recycling places in public spaces. If you can't find a recycling place, ask the responsible authority to look into installing one so you can recycle on the go.


Related Links


·         The MSW Programs Page lists a variety of EPA recycling-related programs.


·         EPA has compiled a list of recycling-related publications


·         Aluminum Association
900 19th St. NW, Suite 300
Washington, DC 20006
Phone: 202 862-5100
Fax: 202 862-5164

·         American Forest and Paper Association
1111 19th Street, NW, Suite 800
Washington, DC 20036
Phone: 202 463-2700

·         American Plastics Council
1801 K Street, NW, Suite 701-L
Washington, DC 20006-1301
Phone: 800-2-HELP-90

·         Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers
1300 Wilson Boulevard
Arlington, VA 22209
Phone: 703- 741-5578
Fax: 703-741-5646

·         Glass Packaging Institute
740 East 52nd Street
Indianapolis, IN 46205
Phone: 317 283-1603
Fax: 317 923-9906

·         Institute for Local Self-Reliance
2425 18th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20009
Phone: 202 232-4108
Fax: 202 332-0463

·         Institute for Scrap Recycling Industries
1325 G Street, NW, Suite 1000
Washington, DC 20005
Phone: 202 737-1770
Fax: 202 626-0900

·         National Association for PET Container Resources (NAPCOR)
PO Box 1327
Sonoma, CA 95476
Phone: (707) 996-4207
Fax: (707) 935-1998

·         National Recycling Coalition
1727 King Street, Suite 105
Alexandria, VA 22314-2720
Phone: 703 683-9025
Fax: 703 683-9026

·         Polystyrene Packaging Council
1801 K Street NW, Suite 600K
Washington, DC 20006-1301
Phone: 202 974-5321
Fax: 202 296-7354

·         Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation
1000 Parkwood Circle
Suite 450
Atlanta, GA 30339
Phone: 678-419-9990
Fax: 678-419-9986

·         Steel Recycling Institute
680 Andersen Drive
Pittsburgh, PA 15220-2700
Phone: 412 922-2772, 800 876-7274
Fax: 412 922-3213

Information Resources

OSW manages RCRAInfo, a major national information system to support the RCRA Subtitle C Hazardous Waste program. Also available are:

Envirofacts Warehouse provides users with direct access to environmental information contained in various EPA databases including hazardous waste, Superfund information, toxic releases, facility information, risk management plans, grants/funding, water permits, and drinking water contaminant occurrence.

Enviromapper allows users to map various types of environmental information, including hazardous waste, water discharge permits, toxic and air releases, watersheds, and Superfund sites. Enviromapper can also be used to spatially view environmental statistics, profiles, and trends.

Facts About Municipal Solid Waste/Recycling presents information, data, and trends concerning solid waste generation in the United States and recycling rates.

Regulations.gov allows you to search, view, and comment on Federal regulations. This government-wide, centralized docket management system provides access to all publicly available regulatory material, such as Federal Register notices and rules, supporting analyses, and comments submitted by the public. Rulemakings materials are also available in hard copy at the EPA Docket Center/RCRA Docket. To use Regulations.gov:

  1. Select Advanced Search, then Docket Search.
  2. Select "Environmental Protection Agency" from the Agency drop-down menu.
  3. In the Docket ID box, type in the docket number (e.g., EPA-HQ-RCRA-1988-0068) and press the "Submit" button to receive search results. Be patient; loading the documents takes time.

General Solid Waste Sites

  • America Recycles Day Web Site - Annual event sponsored by the Environmental Protection Agency
  • Earth 911 - provides the public with community-specific environmental information: recycling, buying recycled products, household hazardous waste, kid's section, energy conservation, composting and dozens of other resources
  • Hazardous Substance Research Centers - exploring the practical problems of hazardous substance management as well as long-term, exploratory research
  • Global Recycling Network - comprehensive Recycling Information and Trading Resource on the Internet. It offers a one-stop solution to recycling information needs

OSW Software and Databases This web page provides links to various software and databases developed by the Office of Solid Waste.

RCRA FAQs Database enables users to search frequently asked questions or submit their own question or comment on a variety of RCRA issues and topics. Before searching, view the search tips.

RCRA Online is a database that is designed to enable users to locate documents, including publications and other outreach materials, that cover a wide range of RCRA issues and topics.

RCRA Monthly Reports Archive of monthly Call Center reports that include frequently asked regulatory questions and answers that have been approved by EPA, and summaries of the month's Federal Registers and publications.

RCRA Training Modules Archive of Call Center training modules that provide an overview of a specific regulatory topic. These modules are useful resources for people wishing to gain a general understanding of RCRA, but they are not comprehensive sources of regulatory information.

Science Inventory is a searchable, Agency-wide catalog of current, recently completed, and archived science activities and products. It contains thousands of records providing information such as project descriptions, contacts for additional information and electronic links to related work and final reports. Users can perform keyword searches or can search within specific science topics such as, genomics, tribal science, and children’s health.

Small Business Are you a small business? Do you want to know if your waste is regulated or how to reduce the amount of waste you generate? To learn more about these topics and find environmental information and resources for small businesses, visit the links on this website.

Trade Groups and Environmental Associations

What You Can Do This website provides tips for consumers on solid and hazardous waste issues, such as recycling, dealing with used oil, reducing solid waste, composting and medical waste.

Window to My Environment allows users to easily access comprehensive information about air, land, and water by entering a zip code. The "window" integrates environmental data with local geographical features by pulling together information from several EPA databases.

Recycling Publications

You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view some of the files on this page. See EPA's PDF page to learn more about PDF and for a link to the free Acrobat Reader.

America's Marketplace Recycles: A Guide to Waste Reduction at Shopping Centers

Assessment of the Office of Solid Waste’s (OSW) 35% Municipal Solid Waste Recycling National Government Performance Results Act (GPRA) Goal for 2005
Adobe PDF File [277 KB]

Business Guide for Reducing Solid Waste

Collecting Used Oil for Recycling/Reuse: Tips for Consumers Who Change Their Own Motor Oil and Oil Filters
Adobe PDF File [218 KB] || en Español [1124 KB]

Collection Efficiency: Strategies for Success
Adobe PDF File [912 KB]

Composting Yard Trimmings and Municipal Solid Waste
Adobe PDF File
[6,681 KB]

Complex Recycling Issues: Strategies for Record-Setting Waste Reduction in Multifamily Dwellings
Adobe PDF File [365 KB]

Consumer Handbook for Reducing Solid Waste

Cutting the Waste Stream in Half: Record-Setters Show How (Report)
Adobe PDF File [1639 KB]

Decision-Makers Guide to Solid Waste Management

Extended Product Responsibility: A Strategic Framework for Sustainable Products
Adobe PDF File [541 KB]

Financing Guide for Recycling Businesses

Getting More for Less: Improving Collection Efficiency
Adobe PDF File [880 KB]

Green Advertising Claims
Adobe PDF File [1079 KB]

Implementation of the Mercury-Containing and Rechargeable Battery Management Act
Adobe PDF File
[848 KB] || ASCII Text File [37 KB]

It's Easy Being Green: A Guide to Planning and Conducting Environmentally Aware Meetings and Events

Managing Used Oil: Advice for Small Businesses

Measuring Recycling: A Guide for State and Local Governments

Multifamily Recycling: A Golden Opportunity for Solid Waste Reduction
Adobe PDF File [134 KB] || ASCII Text File [14 KB]

Multifamily Recycling: A National Study
Adobe PDF File [755 KB]

Puzzled About Recycling's Value? Look Beyond the Bin
Adobe PDF File [317 KB] || ASCII Text File [24 KB]

RCRA Training Module: Introduction to Used Oil
Adobe Acrobat PDF File [72 KB] || ASCII Text File [62 KB]

Recycle: You Can Make a Ton of Difference
Adobe PDF File
[356 KB]

Recycling Guide for Native American Nations
AdobePDF File [230 KB] || ASCII Text File [26 KB]

Recycling Means Business
Adobe PDF File
[1689 KB]

Recycling Works: State and Local Solutions to Solid Waste Management Problems
Adobe PDF File [2132 KB]

Reusable News - A periodic newsletter on Recycling Activities

Tribal Decision-Maker's Guide


Waste and Recycling Glossary

A to Z Subject Index

A * B * C * D * E * F * G * H * I * J * K * L * M
N * O * P * Q * R * S * T * U * V * W * X * Y * Z

Scroll through the list of topics below to find your area of interest by keyword, or click on one of the letters above to jump to the corresponding location in the alphabetized list.


Aging Initiative
Air Emissions
Automotive Parts

Top of Page


Backyard Burning
Best Demonstrated Available Technology (BDAT)
Bevill Amendment
Biennial Reporting System (BRS)
Bioreactor Landfills
Building Insulation
Burden Reduction
Buy Recycled/Procurement

Top of Page


Capacity Assurance
Cathode Ray Tubes (CRTs)
Cement Kiln Dust
CESQG - Conditionally Exempt Small Quantity Generators
Characteristic Wastes
Chlorinated Aliphatics Production Wastes
Cleanup, RCRA Program
Cleanup, Related Programs
Climate Change

See Closure and Post-Closure Care Requirements for Municipal Solid Waste Landfills and Closure and Post-Closure Care for Hazardous Waste Treatment, Storage, and Disposal Facilities (TSDFs)
Coal Combustion Products Partnership (C2P2)
Coal Fly Ash
Conditionally Exempt Small Quantity Generators (CESQG)
Construction and Demolition (C&D) Debris

Construction Materials
Consumer Tips
Containment Buildings
Corrective Action - Hazardous Waste Cleanup
Corrective Action Management Units (CAMUs)
Corrosive Wastes
Crude Oil

Top of Page


Data on Hazardous Waste
Delisting Petitions
Disaster Debris
Drip Pads
Dry Cleaning Industry - RCRA in Focus

Top of Page


E-Permitting Initiative
Educational Resources
Electronics Recycling (eCycling)
Emerging Products
Environmental Justice
Environmental Management Systems (EMS)
EPA Forms
Exports - International Waste Activities

Top of Page



Financial Assurance

See Financial Assurance for Municipal Solid Waste Landfills and Financial Assurance and Liability Coverage for Hazardous Waste Treatment, Storage, and Disposal Facilities (TSDFs)
Fluorescent Lamps
Food Scraps
Forms (Hazardous Waste)
Fossil Fuel Combustion Wastes
Foundry Sand
Full Cost Accounting for Municipal Solid Waste
Furniture Manufacturing Industry - RCRA in Focus

Top of Page


Gas, Natural
Global Warming
Greenhouse Gas
Greenhouse Gas Emissions From Management of MSW
Ground Water Monitoring Requirements

See Groundwater Monitoring Requirements for Municipal Solid Waste Landfills and Groundwater Monitoring Requirements for Treatment Storage and Disposal Facilities (TSDFs)

Top of Page


Hazardous Waste
Hazardous Waste Combustion
Hazardous Waste Data
Hazardous Waste Debris
Hazardous Waste Forms
Hazardous Waste Identification
Hazardous Waste Manifest System
Hazardous Waste Recycling
Health Risks from Combustion Facilities
Household Hazardous Waste
Hurricane Disaster Debris

Top of Page


Incinerators, Solid Waste and Hazardous Waste
Identification, Waste
Industrial Surface Impoundment Study (SIS)
Industrial Furnaces
Industrial Waste
Industrial Wipes
Imports - International Waste Activities
Inorganic Chemicals
Interim Status

Top of Page


Jobs Through Recycling Program

Top of Page



Top of Page


Lab Wastes at Educational Institutions
Land Disposal Restrictions (LDR)
Land Disposal Units (LDUs)
Landscaping Products
Large Quantity Generators (LQGs)
Lead Paint
Leather Manufacturing Industry - RCRA in Focus

See Financial Assurance for Municipal Solid Waste Landfills and Financial Assurance and Liability Coverage for Hazardous Waste Treatment, Storage, and Disposal Facilities (TSDFs)
Life Cycle Assessment/Product Stewardship
Listing Hazardous Waste

Top of Page


Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT)
Materials and Waste Exchanges
Materials Management, Electronic
Medical Waste
Mercury, Safe Management of
Metals Recycling
Military Munitions
Mining Waste
Mineral Processing Wastes
Miscellaneous Units
Mixed Waste, Radioactive
Motor Freight and Railroad Transportation Industry - RCRA in Focus
Municipal Solid Waste (Trash or Garbage)
Municipal Solid Waste - Flow Control
Municipal Solid Waste Landfills

Top of Page


National Partnership for Environmental Priorities (NPEP)
Native Americans - Tribes
Natural Gas
Nonhazardous Waste
Non-Paper Office Products

Top of Page


Oil, Crude
Oil, Used
Organic Materials
Organobromine Production Wastes

Top of Page


Paint Manufacturing Industry
Paper and Paperboard Products
Park and Recreation Products
Pay-As-You-Throw (PAYT)
Permits and Permitting
Petroleum Refining Wastes
Photo Processing Industry - RCRA in Focus
Plug-In To eCycling
Pollution Prevention

See Closure and Post-Closure Care Requirements for Municipal Solid Waste Landfills and Closure and Post-Closure Care for Hazardous Waste Treatment, Storage, and Disposal Facilities (TSDFs)
Printing Industry - RCRA in Focus
Procurement/Buy Recycled
Product Stewardship/Life Cycle Assessment
Public Participation (Public Involvement)

Top of Page


No entries available

Top of Page


Radioactive Mixed Wastes
Rags and Wipes
Railroad Transportation Industry - RCRA in Focus
Reactive Wastes
Recordkeeping and Reporting
Recycling Measurement
Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle
Resource Conservation and Recovery Information System
Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)
Resource Conservation Challenge (RCC)
Risk Assessment
Rulemaking Petitions

Top of Page


Schools Chemical Cleanout Campaign
Small Quantity Generators (SQGs)
Software and Databases
Solvent-Contaminated Industrial Wipes
Source Reduction
Solid Waste Definition
Special Wastes (coming soon)
State Programs
Surface Impoundments (Land Disposal Units)
Surface Impoundment Study, Industrial (SIS)

Top of Page


Test Methods
Tires, Scrap
Toxicity Characteristic
Transportation Products
Transfer Stations
Treatment, Storage, and Disposal Facilities (TSDFs)
Trial Burns

- Native Americans

Top of Page


Underground Storage Tanks (USTs)
Uniform Hazardous Waste Manifest
Universal Waste
Used Oil, Residential
Used Oil, Commercial

Top of Page


Vehicle Maintenance Industry - RCRA in Focus
Vision Statement

Top of Page


WIN (Waste Information Needs)/Informed Initiative
Waste Minimization
Waste Piles
Waste Transfer Stations
WasteWise Program

Wood Waste
Wood Preserving Wastes

Top of Page


No entries available

Top of Page


Yard Trimmings

Top of Page


No entries available

Waste Laws and Regulations

RCRA gave EPA the authority to control hazardous waste from the "cradle-to-grave" including generation, transportation, treatment, storage, and disposal. RCRA also set forth a framework for the management of nonhazardous wastes.

The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) is the public law that creates the framework for the proper management of hazardous and nonhazardous solid waste. This page contains:

For more information on environmental laws and regulations, visit EPA's Laws and Regulations page.

You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader, available as a free download, to view some of the files on this page. See EPA's PDF page to learn more about PDF, and for a link to the free Acrobat Reader.

History of RCRA

The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act —commonly referred to as RCRA— is our nation's primary law governing the disposal of solid and hazardous waste. Congress passed RCRA on October 21, 1976 to address the increasing problems the nation faced from our growing volume of municipal and industrial waste. RCRA, which amended the Solid Waste Disposal Act of 1965, set national goals for:

  • Protecting human health and the environment from the potential hazards of waste disposal.
  • Conserving energy and natural resources.
  • Reducing the amount of waste generated.
  • Ensuring that wastes are managed in an environmentally-sound manner.

To achieve these goals, RCRA established three distinct, yet interrelated, programs:

  • The solid waste program, under RCRA Subtitle D, encourages states to develop comprehensive plans to manage nonhazardous industrial solid waste and municipal solid waste, sets criteria for municipal solid waste landfills and other solid waste disposal facilities, and prohibits the open dumping of solid waste.
  • The hazardous waste program, under RCRA Subtitle C, establishes a system for controlling hazardous waste from the time it is generated units its ultimate disposal – in effect, from "cradle to grave".
  • The underground storage tank (UST) program, under RCRA Subtitle I, regulates underground storage tanks containing hazardous substances and petroleum products.

RCRA banned all open dumping of waste, encouraged source reduction and recycling, and promoted the safe disposal of municipal waste. RCRA also mandated strict controls over the treatment, storage, and disposal of hazardous waste. The first RCRA regulations, "Hazardous Waste and Consolidated Permit Regulations," published in the Federal Register on May 19, 1980 (45 FR 33066; May 19, 1980), established the basic "cradle to grave" approach to hazardous waste management that exists today.

RCRA was amended and strengthened by Congress in November 1984 with the passing of the Federal Hazardous and Solid Waste Amendments (HSWA). These amendments to RCRA required the phasing out land disposal of hazardous waste. Some of the other mandates of this strict law include increased enforcement authority for EPA, more stringent hazardous waste management standards, and a comprehensive underground storage tank program.

RCRA has been amended on two occasions since HSWA:

  1. Federal Facility Compliance Act of 1992 — strengthened enforcement of RCRA at Federal facilities.
  2. Land Disposal Program Flexibility Act of 1996 (PDF File, 5 pp., 24 KB) —provided regulatory flexibility for land disposal of certain wastes.

RCRA focuses only on active and future facilities and does not address abandoned or historical sites which are managed under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA)—commonly known as Superfund.

Top of page

RCRA Regulations

Title 40 – Protection of the Environment
Subchapter I - Solid Wastes

Parts 239 through 259
Parts 260 through 265
Parts 266 through 299

RCRA provides, in broad terms, the general guidelines for the waste management program envisioned by Congress. It includes a Congressional mandate directing EPA to develop a comprehensive set of regulations to implement the law. These regulations, or rulemakings, issued by EPA, translate the general mandate of the law into a set of requirements for the Agency and the regulated community.

When a regulation is formally proposed, it is published in the Federal Register to notify the public of EPA’s intent to create new regulations or modify existing ones. EPA provides the public, including the potentially regulated community, with an opportunity to submit comments. Following an established comment period, EPA may revise the proposed rule based on both internal review and public comments. All final rules are compiled annually and incorporated into the Code of Federal Regulations.

The RCRA regulations are contained in Title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Parts 239 through 299. The CFR is a collection of all federal regulations codified and enforced by all federal agencies. Title 40 – Protection of the Environment contains all of the regulations governing EPA's programs.

40 CFR Parts 239 through 259 contain the regulations for solid waste, while Parts 260 through 279 contain the hazardous waste regulations. The requirements for underground storage tanks, which are also regulated under RCRA, are located in 40 CFR Part 280. A list of all regulations with links to the regulatory text is provided below:

RCRA Docket

The RCRA docket provides users with all the materials critical to each stage in the development of a rule, such as Federal Register notices and technical documents. Regulations.gov —the government-wide centralized docket management system— allows users to search the Agency's rulemaking dockets online, view the indices, and access those materials that are available online. Users may also submit comments online when a docket is open for public comment.

Solid Waste Regulations

  • Part 259 [Reserved]

What is a Hazardous Waste?

Hazardous waste is a waste with properties that make it dangerous or potentially harmful to human health or the environment. In regulatory terms, a RCRA hazardous waste is a waste that appears on one of the four hazardous wastes lists (F-list, K-list, P-list, or U-list), or exhibits at least one of four characteristics—ignitability, corrosivity, reactivity, or toxicity. For more information, see What is a Hazardous Waste?

Hazardous Waste Regulations

  • Parts 283 to 299 [Reserved]

Top of page

RCRA Guidance, Policy, and Resources

EPA develops and issues guidance documents to provide instructions for implementing and complying with regulations. Guidance documents also elaborate on the Agency’s interpretation of the requirements of the Act.

Policy statements outline a position on a topic or specify procedures that should generally be followed. In many cases, policy statements are addressed to EPA staff, but some are addressed to the regulated community.

RCRA Online is an electronic database that indexes thousands of letters, memoranda, publications, and questions and answers issued by EPA's Office of Solid Waste (OSW). These documents include EPA interpretations of the RCRA regulations governing the management of solid, hazardous, and medical waste. RCRA Online allows users to locate documents through topical, full text, and advanced search functions. RCRA Online also allows users to view the actual text of the documents identified in a search.

Policy Database for Waste Management and Emergency Programs provides the public with online access to EPA policy documents from the Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response (OSWER) and the EPA Regional waste and emergency response programs. This database contains the policy, guidance, and interpretive documents that the Agency intends to use or rely on for the implementation and enforcement of its statutes and regulations.

RCRA Orientation Manual provides introductory information on the solid and hazardous waste management programs under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). Designed for EPA and state staff, members of the regulated community, and the general public who wish to better understand RCRA, this document constitutes a review of the RCRA program and is not a substitute for RCRA or its implementing regulations.

RCRA Training Modules provide overviews of specific RCRA regulatory topics, for example, corrective action, exclusions, financial assurance, and permits. Two modules in particular provide a statutory overview of RCRA (PDF, 34 pp., 83 KB) and an overview of other laws that interface with RCRA (PDF, 27 pp., 114 KB).

RCRA in Focus (RIF) is a series of publications providing overviews of the RCRA regulations affecting specific industry sectors. Intended as a guide for small businesses, RIF presents the life cycle of a typical waste for each industry and focuses on recycling and pollution prevention options. Each issue contains a hazardous waste table of RCRA requirements for small businesses and answers frequently asked questions.

RCRA: Reducing Risk from Waste provides an overview of the RCRA solid and hazardous waste regulations. The document describes the history of RCRA, the role of EPA and the states, and hazardous waste definitions and management requirements (including the roles of generators, transporters, and treatment, storage, and disposal facilities). Information on hazardous waste minimization is also provided.

25 Years of RCRA: Building on Our Past to Protect Our Future (PDF File, 21 pp., 838 KB) provides an historical overview of the evolution of RCRA and it major accomplishments.

Beyond RCRA: Prospects for Waste & Materials Management in the Year 2020 is a discussion paper developed jointly by EPA and state environmental agencies to open and inspire discussion on the future for the RCRA program during the next 20 years. It identifies a number of trends that could affect the future of waste and materials management, resource conservation, and human and environmental health, and suggests general strategies and tools that might be used to build a new vision for the future of the RCRA program.

Definition of Waste - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Waste, rubbish, trash, or garbage is unwanted or undesired material.

There are a number of different types of waste. It can exist as a solid, liquid, or gas or as waste heat. When released in the latter two states the wastes can be referred to as emissions. It is usually strongly linked with pollution. Waste may also be intangible in the case of wasted time or wasted opportunities. The term waste implies things which have been used inefficiently or inappropriately.

Some components of waste can be recycled once recovered from the waste stream, e.g. plastic bottles, metals, glass or paper. The biodegradable component of wastes (e.g. paper & food waste) can be composted or anaerobicly digested to produce soil improvers and renewable fuels. If it is not dealt with sustainably in this manner biodegradable waste can contribute to greenhouse gas emissions and by implication climate change [1].

There are two main definitions of waste. One view comes from the individual or organisation producing the material, the second is the view of Government, and is set out in different acts of waste legislation. The two have to combine to ensure the safe and legal disposal of the waste [2].

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