On July 23, 2013, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced changes to hazardous waste regulations that will save businesses up to $27.8 million each year. The EPA ruled to reduce the regulations under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) to exclude solvent-contaminated wipes as long as they are managed properly. The agency called this modification “a common-sense exclusion” that will affect several thousand workplaces.
After a peer- and public-reviewed risk analysis, the EPA concluded wipes contaminated with certain chemicals do not pose significant hazards to the environment or human health when disposed of in closed, labeled containers. To be excluded from regulation, facilities cannot accumulate wipes for more than 180 days and must not contain free liquids.
“Today’s rule uses the latest science to provide a regulatory framework for managing solvent-contaminated wipes that is appropriate to the level of risk posed by these materials,” explained Mathy Stanislaus, assistant administrator for the EPA’s Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response. “The rule reduces costs for thousands of businesses, many of which are small businesses, while maintaining protection of human health and the environment.”
Many types of wipers are available for cleaning solvents and employers can save money and help protect the environment by choosing cost-effective wipes like reusable recycled t-shirt cloth rags. Ensure the safety of workers cleaning up spills with appropriate safety products, including eye and respiratory protection, gloves, and protective clothing