Definition of Hazardous Waste

"According to EPA: Hazardous waste is waste that is potentially harmful or dangerous to our health or the environment. Hazardous wastes can be liquids, solids, gases, or sludges. They can be the thrown away commercial products, like cleaning fluids or pesticides, or the by-products of manufacturing processes." From

The comprehensive definition of hazardous waste:

It is a solid, liquid or solid substance identified in 40 CFR 261 that is a "Characteristic Waste" with one or more of the following descriptions:

Flammable (liquid with a flashpoint less than 141oF, a spontaneously combustible solid, an ignitable compressed gas or an oxidizer), or;

Caustic (an aqueous solution with a pH below 2.0 or above 12.5) a liquid which corrodes steel at a rate of 0.25 inches per year, or;

Reactive (an unstable material, reacts with water, explosive, generates toxic gas or a cyanide or sulfide bearing waste), or;

Toxic (RCRA metals such as chromium, lead, silver, mercury, cadmium; or pesticides, organic solvents, chlorinated solvents); and

Is thrown away, has served its intended use or is a manufacturing by-product, and; That is not inland sewage, a household waste or a sample collected for testing.

The term hazardous waste is also defined under RCRA as solids, liquids, and gases that show certain characteristics or are specifically listed in the rules. Hazardous waste is controlled under a “cradle to grave” concept, meaning that the waste is tracked via written records from the time it becomes a waste, and that ownership remains with the generator forever. Therefore, the best method to reduce the risk of future remediation costs is to decrease the amount of hazardous waste being generated. It is important to consider the amounts and types of wastes that will be generated when a project is in the proposal stage in order to guarantee that a disposal method exists that is both legal and affordable—and to minimize the amount of waste generated.

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