Exemptions

Not all hazardous wastes pose the same degree of hazard when recycled. U.S. EPA believes that wastes that may be recycled in a protective manner, or that are addressed under other environmental regulations, warrant exemptions from RCRA Subtitle C. Consequently, handlers of these materials are not subject to any hazardous waste regulations. These exempt recyclable hazardous wastes are2

1. Industrial ethyl alcohol: Industrial ethyl alcohol that is reclaimed is exempt from RCRA Subtitle C because the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (BATF) already regulates it from the point of generation to redistillation.

2. Scrap metal: Scrap metal that is disposed of or recycled is a solid waste; however, it is exempt from Subtitle C regulation when it is reclaimed (i.e., recycled to recover metal content). This does not apply to processed scrap metal that is excluded from hazardous waste regulation entirely.

3. Waste-derived fuels from refining processes: Fuels produced by refining oil-bearing hazardous wastes with normal process streams at petroleum refining facilities are exempt if such wastes resulted from normal petroleum refining, production, and transportation practices. For these wastes to be considered as refined, they must be inserted into a part of the process designed to remove contaminants. This would typically mean insertion prior to distillation.

4. Unrefined waste-derived fuels and oils: Fuels produced at a petroleum refinery from oil-bearing hazardous wastes that are introduced into the refining process after the distillation step or that are reintroduced in a process that does not include distillation are exempt if the resulting fuel meets the specifications under the federal recycled used oil standards. Oil that is recovered from hazardous waste at a petroleum refinery and burned as a fuel is also exempt provided it meets the used oil specifications.

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