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EPA Revises Hazardous Waste Export-Import Rule

By Jordy Byrd

preview of hazardous waste management infographic

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed enhancements to the oversight of hazardous waste shipments. The proposed rule, Hazardous Waste Export-Import Revisions, was submitted for publication in the Federal Register in September, 2015. With this rule, the EPA proposes to amend existing regulations regarding the export and import of hazardous wastes from to and from the U.S.

“When hazardous waste is shipped across multiple countries there can be a higher risk of mismanagement from unsafe transport, recycling and disposal practices,” said Mathy Stanislaus, assistant administrator of EPA’s Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response. “This proposal will provide greater protection to communities and the environment through increased transparency, better data sharing and more efficient compliance monitoring.”

The proposed rule would:

  • Enhance EPA tracking of exporter, importer, and recognized trader activities
  • Create one consolidated and streamlined set of requirements applying to all imports and exports
  • Reduce risks associated with recovery and disposal of hazardous wastes
  • Improve the ability to acquire information regarding the quantities of hazardous waste shipments exported from the U.S. and the destination facilities to which the shipments are exported
  • Increase regulatory efficiency
  • Create mandatory electronic reporting to the EPA
  • Link the consent to export with the exporter declaration submitted to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)

“When hazardous waste is shipped across multiple countries there can be a higher risk of mismanagement from unsafe transport, recycling and disposal practices.”

Hazardous Waste

Many industries generate hazardous waste. The EPA regulates hazardous waste under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) to ensure these wastes are managed in ways that protect human health and the environment. The EPA’s general hazardous waste export and import regulations were originally created in 1986.

When finalized, the new rule will affect the approximately 3,000 hazardous waste import shipments and 49,000 hazardous waste export shipments mostly within North America. The EPA estimates the annual cost to industry at $1.5 million with roughly $450,000 in annual cost savings, or $1 million in annual net costs.

Graphic Products offers a complimentary Industrial Hazardous Waste Management Guide, which outlines the four-point approach to identifying waste, differences in the governing agencies, and how to comply with regulations from the EPA, OSHA, and DOT. Graphic Products also offers a Hazardous Waste Management Infographic, which outlines the differences between types of waste, and provides steps for overall hazardous waste management.