Shop Towel Rule Enacted!
EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy signed the long-anticipated EPA wiper rule on July 23, and during a coalition meeting the following day, TRSA thanked EPA Deputy Administrator Bob Perciasepe for the agency’s decision to make the wiper rule a reality.
TRSA has consistently advocated in favor of the wipers rule since it was first proposed on Nov. 20, 2003. Over the years, the association has on several occasions provided detailed comments to federal officials on this issue.
The final rule modifies the hazardous-waste management regulations for solvent contaminated wipes under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).
This rule revises the definition of solid waste to conditionally exclude solvent contaminated wipes that are cleaned and reused. It also revises the definition of hazardous waste to conditionally exclude disposable solvent-contaminated wipes.
Wipes are used with solvents for cleaning and other purposes by tens of thousands of facilities in numerous industrial sectors, such as printers, automobile repair shops and manufacturers of automobiles, electronics, furniture and chemicals. Commercial laundries handle, wash and return clean wipes to their customers as part of the industrial laundry business.
The final rule excludes wipes that are contaminated with solvents listed as hazardous wastes under RCRA, provided that they are cleaned or disposed of properly. The EPA estimates that the final rule will result in a net savings of $18 million per year in avoided regulatory costs and between $3.7 million and $9.9 million per year in other expected benefits, including pollution prevention, waste minimization and fire prevention benefits.