Ohio Universal Waste Rule Amendments Nearly Final
November 20, 2017 •
Ohio’s Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed changes to its Universal Waste rules have gone through the notice and comment process with zero comments or opposition. The last step (the final filing) in the rulemaking process is procedural in nature and does not include any further review of the rules. This last step will occur in December 2017 or January 2018 at which point the rule will go into effect. The amendments designate hazardous non-empty aerosol containers, hazardous antifreeze, and hazardous paint and paint-related wastes as “universal wastes,” to promote proper handling, recycling, or disposal of the hazardous waste. ACA extensively participated in the interested party review portion of the rulemaking process, and is pleased that Ohio EPA incorporated many of its suggested comments into the final amendments.
In Nov. 21, 2016, the agency released proposed amendments to its Universal Waste Regulations, which included defining aerosols and paint and paint-related waste (PPRW) as universal waste in Ohio. In advocating for this proposed rule, ACA underscored to Ohio EPA, 1) the environmental benefits that would result from classifying PPRW as universal waste; 2) how classifying PPRW as universal waste would create better facility management; and 3) provided specific examples of why classifying PPRW as universal waste would alleviate regulatory burdens, costs, and encourage more recycling and reuse.
Over the past year, ACA’s Ohio Paint Council has been working with the Ohio Manufacturers’ Association and Ohio EPA to develop universal waste regulations for PPRW.
ACA submitted comments to the agency on its proposal in December 2016. ACA’s comments addressed the proposal’s definitions of “aerosol” and “paint,” methods for puncturing, shredding or crushing containers, and capturing of VOCs. ACA has long maintained that paint and paint-related waste satisfy the criteria for designating a new universal waste. Paint is used by a wide range of different manufacturing industries and establishments, and does not pose a significant risk when accumulated and transported. This designation as a universal waste will promote the proper recycling or disposal of the hazardous waste and divert it from non-hazardous waste management systems.
ACA hopes this new regulation will serve as a model that can now be used to promulgate analogous regulations in other interested states. Currently, only Texas and New Jersey have universal waste rules for paint and paint-related waste: Texas has rules for managing Paint and Paint-Related Wastes under its Universal Waste Rule (see its guidance document and regulations); New Jersey has rules for managing Oil-Based Finishes such as oil-based paints, lacquers, stains, and aerosol paint cans under its Universal Waste Rule (see its information site).
ACA has also noted that including both paint and paint-related waste is very important as certain materials are not incorporated into the actual product itself, but are nonetheless critical for paint application and should be listed along with paint.