Waste Definitions and Regulatory Terms
Asbestos containing materials (ACM) containing more than one percent asbestos.
A waste exhibits the characteristic of corrosivity if it is aqueous and has a pH < 2 or > 12.5. The EPA Waste Code for corrosivity is “D002”.
DOT – U.S. Department of Transportation
The DOT enforces rules involving transport of hazardous materials. All hazardous materials removed from laboratories and transported to the University’s Hazardous Materials Facility must be properly identified and packaged prior to transporting. DOT hazard classes are:
|1.1 – 1.6||Explosives|
|2.2||Non-flammable, non-poisonous gas|
|4.2||Spontaneously combustible materials|
|4.3||Dangerous when wet materials|
|9||Miscellaneous hazardous materials|
A container that has held hazardous waste is not a hazardous waste if it is empty. A container is empty if all wastes have been removed that can be removed using the practices commonly employed to remove materials from that type of container, e.g., pouring, pumping, and aspirating, or no more than three percent by weight of the total capacity remains in the container.
EPA – U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Hazardous waste must be identified, stored, recycled and/or treated and/or disposed in accord with EPA regulations. The EPA regulates all solid waste disposal including municipal landfills and sanitary sewer.
A DOT term that refers to a liquid, solid, or gas which has properties requiring special handling precautions due to biological, physical, chemical or radiological characteristics.
An EPA term that refers to a used and discarded hazardous material. This includes abandoned, recycled, or inherently waste-like hazardous materials. Hazardous waste is also called RCRA-regulated waste. For acute hazardous wastes, see definition of P-listed waste under RCRA-regulated Waste.
A waste exhibits the characteristic of ignitability if it is:
- a liquid with a flashpoint of less than 60°C (140°F);
- a solid capable of causing fire through friction, absorption of moisture or spontaneous chemical changes and, when ignited, burns so vigorously and persistently that it creates a hazard;
- a flammable compressed gas; or
- an oxidizer.
The EPA waste code for ignitability is “D001”.
“Ignitable” substances include flammable liquids, flammable solids, flammable gases, and oxidizers.
- Flammable liquid is defined as a non-aqueous solution which has a flash point of less than 60 degrees C. (140 degrees F.) as measured by a Pensky-Martens Closed Cup Flash Tester utilizing a specific method.
- Flammable solid is defined as any material which is not a liquid at standard temperature and pressure, and which may ignite as a result of friction or the absorption of moisture, or which may ignite spontaneously.
- Flammable gas is defined according to 49 CFR 173.300, as “a compressed gas” in which “any one of the following occurs”:
- Either a mixture of 13% or less (by volume) with air forms a flammable mixture or the flammable range with air is wider than 12% regardless of the lower explosive limit (tested using a specified method).
- When igniting the gas at the valve, the flame projects more than 18 inches beyond the ignition source with the valve opened fully, or, the flame flashes back and burns at the valve with any degree of valve opening (tested using a specified method).
- There is any significant propagation of flame away from the ignition source (tested using a specified method).
- There is any explosion of the vapor-air mixture in a drum (tested using a specified method).
- Oxidizer is defined as “a substance such as a chlorate, permanganate, inorganic peroxide, or a nitrate, that yields oxygen readily to stimulate the combustion of organic matter.” Oxidizer is also defined as “an organic compound containing the bivalent-O-O- structure and which may be considered a derivative of hydrogen peroxide where one or more of the hydrogen atoms have been replaced by organic radicals”, unless the material is classified as an explosive, forbidden for transportation, or it is determined that the predominant hazard of the material containing the organic peroxide is other than that of an organic peroxide
Some wastes are organized into several different “lists” by the EPA. The F-List (40 CFR 261.31) includes non-specific source wastes. The K-List consists of wastes from specific industrial sources (full list at 40 CFR 261.32). The P-List and U-List are discarded commercial chemical products (full list at 40 CFR 261.33). Below are particular listed wastes common to laboratories.
Spent Solvents (subsets of F-Listed Waste)
- EPA Waste Code F002 – Halogenated solvents containing, before use, a total of ten percent or more of one or more of the following:
- methylene chloride
- EPA Waste Code F003 – The following non-halogenated solvents or mixtures/ blends containing only these solvents.
- ethyl ether
- methyl isobutyl ketone
- ethyl acetate
- n-butyl alcohol
- ethyl benzene
- EPA Waste Code F005 – Non-halogenated solvents containing, before use, a total of ten percent or more of one or more of the following:
- methyl ethyl ketone
- carbon disulfide
Discarded commercial chemical products, container residues, and spill residues of materials listed in Appendix 12-B are acute hazardous wastes. These wastes are “acutely toxic” or “P-listed” wastes. Note: if these materials are used (spent), they are not RCRA-regulated hazardous wastes unless they meet the definition of a characteristic hazardous waste or wastes from non-specific sources; however, they may still require disposal as a hazardous material (see definition of “non-RCRA regulated waste”).
Discarded commercial chemical products listed in Appendix 12-C are listed wastes because of toxicity (T), reactivity (R), corrosivity (C) or ignitability (I). Note if these materials are used (spent), they are not hazardous wastes unless they meet the definition of a characteristic hazardous waste or wastes from non-specific sources; however, they may still require disposal as a hazardous material (see definition of “non-RCRA regulated waste”).
Defined at UNC as any one of the following:
- materials contaminated or potentially contaminated during the manipulation or clean-up of material generated during research and/or teaching activities requiring biosafety level 1, 2, or 3 or animal or plant biosafety level 1, 2, or 3 (refer to your laboratory’s Biological Hazards Registration section of the Laboratory Safety Plan to identify these materials in your lab);
- human liquid blood and body fluids;
- human tissue and anatomical remains;
- materials contaminated with human tissue or tissue cultures (primary and established) because these are handled at BSL-2; and
- animal carcasses, body parts, blood, fluids and bedding from animals infected with BSL-2 and BSL-3 agents.
A radioactive waste that also meets the definition of a RCRA-regulated hazardous waste.
Non-RCRA Regulated Waste
A solid waste, other than radioactive or RCRA-regulated waste that is subject to additional EPA requirements because disposal to the sewer or the sanitary landfill is prohibited or imprudent. Wastes in this category include batteries, carcinogens, compressed gases, controlled substances, corrosive solids, infectious waste, latex paint, medical waste, mutagens, poisons, sharps, teratogens and waste oils. This includes “Universal Wastes” (see definition below).
Radioactive material regulated by the North Carolina Radiation Protection Division that is to be discarded.
Waste regulated under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), commonly referred to as the “hazardous waste regulations”. According to RCRA definitions (40 CFR 260), a waste is a hazardous waste if it exhibits one or more of the “characteristics” of a hazardous waste or contains “listed” waste. The four hazardous waste characteristics are ignitability, corrosivity, reactivity, and toxicity.
A waste exhibits the characteristic of reactivity if:
- it is normally unstable and readily undergoes violent change without detonating;
- it reacts violently with water;
- it forms potentially explosive mixtures with water;
- it generates gases sufficient to endanger human health;
- it is a cyanide or sulfide bearing waste that can generate toxic gases upon contact with an acid or base; or
- it is readily capable of detonation.
The EPA Waste Code for reactivity is “D003”.
Broken glass, pipettes, scalpels, razor blades, serrated metal, hypodermic needles, slides, cover slips, capillary tubes, and any other items capable of penetrating trash bags and skin.
Any discarded solid, compressed gas or liquid material other than domestic sewage. “Discarded” includes abandoned, recycled or inherently waste-like hazardous materials. All solid waste disposal is regulated by the EPA. Solid waste may be further classified and regulated as:
- Hazardous or RCRA-regulated waste
- Mixed Radioactive waste
- Infectious waste
- Non-RCRA regulated waste
- Medical waste
- Radioactive waste
A waste exhibits the characteristic of toxicity if it contains any of the contaminants listed in Appendix 12-A at the concentration equal to or greater than the respective value given in that table. The Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure (TCLP) is used to determine whether waste exhibits the toxicity characteristic.
Widely-generated wastes that are subject to the Standards for Universal Waste Management (40 CFR 273), to facilitate environmentally sound collection and proper recycling or treatment. Universal wastes include batteries, pesticides, mercury containing equipment, and lamps (fluorescent bulbs). For disposal information, contact EHS.