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Hazardous Waste Rule Restored, Gives Businesses More Control

A prior rule that gives businesses more discretion when deciding which company will collect and recycle their solid hazardous waste has been restored by a DC Circuit judge panel. Though the judging panel upheld most of the EPA’s 2015 rule on the definition of solid waste, it ruled that portions of the rule were “regulatory overreach,” writes Courthouse News Service.

Businesses that create waste must research and find the most effective ways to dispose of them, but the EPA will no longer be able to determine whether or not “the recycling of those materials are comparable to a ‘legitimate product,'” according to the article.

The EPA’s rule was meant to cut down on sham recycling, which the EPA says “may include situations when a secondary material is ineffective or only marginally effective for the claimed use; used in excess of the amount necessary; or handled in a manner inconsistent with its use as a raw material or commercial product substitute.”

Industry petitioners such as the American Petroleum Institute argued that the rule imposed substantive regulatory duties that could hamstring businesses, including assessments, labeling, documentation and storage requirements, wrote Law 360 last year. Environmentalists slammed the rule for the opposite reason, stating that it did not go far enough.

The EPA says hazardous waste is recycled if it is “used, reused, or reclaimed.” Further, the agency says that hazardous waste recycling can benefit an organization’s bottom line by increasing production efficiency and reducing costs associated with purchasing raw materials and waste management. A business may also benefit from the positive  image associated with hazardous waste recycling efforts by increasing goodwill with shareholders and consumers, the EPA says.


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