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What is Solid Waste

pile of garbage

Solid waste means any garbage, refuse, sludge from a wastewater treatment plant, water supply treatment plant, or air pollution control facility and other discarded materials including solid, liquid, semi-solid, or contained gaseous material, resulting from industrial, commercial, mining and agricultural operations, and from community activities, but does not include solid or dissolved materials in domestic sewage, or solid or dissolved materials in irrigation return flows or industrial discharges that are point sources subject to permit under 33 USC 1342, as amended (86 Stat. 880), or source, special nuclear or by-product material as defined by the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended (68 Stat. 923) except as may be provided by existing agreements between the State of New York and the government of the United States (see section 360-1.3 of this Part).

In Simple Words - Solid wastes are any discarded or abandoned materials. Solid wastes can be solid, liquid, semi-solid or containerized gaseous material.

Examples of solid wastes include the following materials when discarded:

waste tires
  • waste tires
  • septage
  • scrap metal
  • latex paints
  • furniture and toys
  • garbage
  • appliances and vehicles
  • oil and anti-freeze
  • empty aerosol cans, paint cans and compressed gas cylinders
  • construction and demolition debris, asbestos

A material is discarded if it is abandoned by being:

  • disposed of;
  • burned or incinerated, including being burned as a fuel for the purpose of recovering usable energy; or
  • accumulated, stored or physically, chemically or biologically treated (other than burned or incinerated) instead of or before being disposed of.

A material is disposed of if it is: Discharged, deposited, injected, dumped, spilled, leaked or placed into or on any land or water so that such material or any constituent thereof may enter the environment or be emitted into the air or discharged into groundwater or surface water.

Construction and demolition (C&D) debris means:

illegal dump

Uncontaminated solid waste resulting from the construction, remodeling, repair and demolition of utilities, structures and roads; and uncontaminated solid waste resulting from land clearing. Such waste includes, but is not limited to bricks, concrete and other masonry materials, soil, rock, wood (including painted, treated and coated wood and wood products), land clearing debris, wall coverings, plaster, drywall, plumbing fixtures, non-asbestos insulation, roofing shingles and other roof coverings, asphaltic pavement, glass, plastics that are not sealed in a manner that conceals other wastes, empty buckets ten gallons or less in size and having no more than one inch of residue remaining on the bottom, electrical wiring and components containing no hazardous liquids, and pipe and metals that are incidental to any of the above. Solid waste that is not C&D debris (even if resulting from the construction, remodeling, repair and demolition of utilities, structures and roads and land clearing) includes, but is not limited to asbestos waste, garbage, corrugated container board, electrical fixtures containing hazardous liquids such as fluorescent light ballasts or transformers, fluorescent lights, carpeting, furniture, appliances, tires, drums, containers greater than ten gallons in size, any containers having more than one inch of residue remaining on the bottom and fuel tanks.

Specifically excluded from the definition of construction and demolition debris is solid waste (including what otherwise would be construction and demolition debris) resulting from any processing technique, other than that employed at a department-approved C&D debris processing facility, that renders individual waste components unrecognizable, such as pulverizing or shredding. Also, waste contained in an illegal disposal site may be considered C&D debris if the department determines that such waste is similar in nature and content to C&D debris.


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  • NYSDEC
    Division of Materials Management
    625 Broadway, Fl.9
    Albany, NY 12233-7250
    518-402-8678
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