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Hazardous waste that is improperly managed poses a serious threat to human health and the environment. The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) established the framework for EPA to regulate solid and hazardous waste management in the United States.
All businesses must evaluate their waste streams to determine if that waste is a regulated solid or hazardous waste. Hazardous waste is regulated from cradle (the point it is generated) to grave (its ultimate destruction or disposal).
Listed hazardous waste is waste that is on any of the four lists of hazardous wastes contained in the RCRA regulations. These wastes have been listed because they either exhibit one of the characteristics described below or contain any number of toxic constituents that have been shown to be harmful to health and the environment.
There are over 700 hazardous wastes listed by name. These include wastes derived from manufacturing processes and discarded commercial chemical products. These wastes are listed in 40 CFR 261 of the regulations.
Characteristic waste. Even if a waste does not appear on one of EPA's lists, it is considered hazardous if the waste possesses one or more of the following characteristics:
Hazardous waste characteristics must be determined by testing the waste or a sample of the waste, or applying knowledge of the waste and the process to produce the waste.
EPA regulates hazardous waste generators, transporters, and treatment, storage, and disposal facilities (TSDFs).
There are three categories of hazardous waste generators:
VSQGs generate the least amount of hazardous waste per month and LQGs generate the most.
Generators must comply with a specific set of requirements for their specific generator category.
In Massachusetts, facilities choosing to use a paper-only manifest may need to submit a copy of the manifest to the state.
MassDEP notes that generators using a state-specific generator identification number beginning with “MV” to ship hazardous waste must obtain a new, properly formatted EPA ID before using e-Manifest. However, generators may still use existing MV plus phone number hazardous waste IDs (e.g. MV6170001111) on paper manifests, but will be unable to register as an e-Manifest user or track your shipments online until they are available on the public viewer after 90 days. MassDEP no longer accepts applications for new MV plus phone number IDs.
Massachusetts has several state-only wastes that are regulated only by Massachusetts (e.g. MA01 for waste oil). See https://www.mass.gov/guides/hazardous-waste-generation-generators.