Business Owners: 2 Ways The Hazardous Waste Generator Improvement Rule Might Affect You

Posted on: 6 January 2016

If you're not in the waste management industry, you may not have heard about the Hazardous Waste Generator Improvement rule that was recently proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency. If you're a business owner, though, and your business produces even a small amount of hazardous waste, the passage of this rule will likely change the way in which you deal with your business's waste. Check out the below two ways business owners might be affected under the hazardous Waste Generator Improvement rule. 

Your Waste Removal Program Will No Longer Be Thrown Off Course By Episodic Hazardous Waste

Currently, your business must follow a certain set of waste management regulations based upon how much hazardous waste it produces. The less hazardous waste it generates, the looser the requirements for dealing with that waste. For example, large producers of hazardous waste must train their employees on waste management and acquire a unique identification number from the Environmental Protection Agency, while conditionally exempt small quantity hazardous waste producers must do neither of these things.

The problem is that the amount of hazardous waste your business produces is considered on a month to month basis, so even a single hazardous waste-producing incident could bump you into the next level and force you to follow a very tight set of waste management requirements. One fuel spill or product recall could result in you having to obtain a unique identification number and train all of your employees on hazardous waste, even if you won't need that certificate and your employees won't need that training ever again. 

Under the new hazardous waste generator improvement rule, episodic waste won't bring about such drastic change in your waste management strategies. You won't be bumped into a tighter set of EPA-enforced regulations just because you had a single accident that resulted in a more-than-normal amount of hazardous waste. If your business only produces hazardous waste once in a while, you'll simply package that hazardous waste up in a sealed container and transport it to a hazardous waste management facility for processing, and then carry on with your ordinary waste management strategy.

If You Own More Than One Business That Produces Hazardous Waste, You Can Consolidate

Currently, businesses that meet the EPA's criteria for small quantity hazardous waste generators must ensure that their hazardous waste has been directly delivered to a facility that is authorized by the EPA to handle hazardous waste. If you take the waste anywhere else, you need a special manifest to do so. If you own more than one business that produces hazardous waste, this means that you have to set up documented, direct transport to an EPA-approved facility for each and every one.

Under the new Hazardous Waste Generator Improvement rule, however, you can consolidate your transport plan and designate one facility to properly handle the hazardous waste for all of your businesses combined. In other words, off-site storage for your small hazardous waste-producing businesses is allowed by the EPA, as long as that off-site storage is also owned by you and the waste is ultimately taken to a certified hazardous waste collection facility.

As an example, imagine a mechanic who has one well-performing garage, and another small garage where business is especially slow. Under the new rule, the mechanic would no longer need to hire hazardous waste transport for his or her smaller garage. Instead, they could just place the hazardous waste produced by their small garage in sealed, leak-proof containers and then drive or ship it to their large garage. The large garage should be equipped with a dumpster that is EPA-certified to contain hazardous waste, and the hazardous waste from the small garage could be placed in this roll-off dumpster and transported to a hazardous waste facility at the same time as the waste from the large garage.

The goal is to make the correct disposal of hazardous waste easier for businesses to execute; an owner of more than one business may be more apt to responsibly dispose of hazardous waste if doing so only requires them to invest in large containment bins and transport services for a single facility. 

If you're a business owner with one or more facilities that produce hazardous waste, the passage of the Hazardous Waste Generator Improvement rule should make your life a little bit easier. Not only will you not be required to follow tighter EPA waste disposal regulations as a result of infrequent, high hazardous waste-generating months, but you'll also be able to focus your hazardous waste removal practices on a single facility. Get ready for these changes by contacting a waste removal service and requesting a dumpster that is large enough to hold the waste of all of your businesses, and that is approved for hazardous waste containment by the EPA.