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Recently Adopted Hazardous Waste Revisions

DEC has released two new fact sheets and a full text copy of the updated Subpart 374-3 Standards for Universal Wastes to support implementation of the new universal waste regulations for aerosol cans and paint, effective July 8, 2023. You can find the fact sheets on DEC's Hazardous Waste Guidance page. You can find the unofficial full text copies of new regulations below in the Full Text Regulations section.

On This Page:

Adding Aerosol Cans & Paint to the Universal Waste Regulations

DEC published revisions to the 6 NYCRR Parts 370, 371, 373, 374, and 376 regulations in the State Register on May 24, 2023 (link leaves DEC website). These regulations will be effective and available for use by the regulated community on July 8, 2023.

The revisions include the provisions of EPA's Aerosol Cans Rule (2019) and designate hazardous waste paint as a universal waste to support implementation of New York's new paint take back program. Revisions to Parts 370, 371 and 373 add definitions and update cross references. The revisions to Subpart 374-3 add management, transportation and disposal standards for universal waste aerosol cans and paint. Changes to Part 376 update cross references in the regulations for land disposal restrictions related to universal waste.


Aerosol Cans

Aerosol cans are used across many different industries and in households to dispense products such as pesticides, personal care products, solvents, and paints. Aerosol cans make up as much as 40% of the hazardous waste generated by larger retail facilities. Examples of common aerosol can products include insect repellent, hairspray, room deodorizers, and spray paint.

On December 9, 2019, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) added hazardous waste aerosol cans to the Universal Waste (UW) Rule. The UW Rule, established by EPA in 1995, is a set of reduced requirements for certain commonly generated hazardous wastes. It was created to streamline the collection and recycling of hazardous waste.

The addition of aerosol cans to this rule is expected to:

  • Encourage the collection and recycling of aerosol cans
  • Reduce the amount of aerosol cans going to landfills
  • Alleviate regulatory burdens for generators of this waste
  • Decrease regulatory costs for generators of this waste (e.g., retail stores)

Follow this link to review EPA's final rule regarding aerosol cans (link leaves DEC website).


On December 16, 2019, the Governor signed the Postconsumer Collection Paint Collection Program Law that requires manufacturers of architectural paint to develop a paint recycling program. PaintCare will be the designated representative to implement the paint collection program. The program will allow the public, including businesses, to recycle paint by bringing it to certain locations or, for some businesses, by scheduling bulk pick ups. In some cases, paint may be a hazardous waste (for instance, oil-based paint and varnishes may be ignitable). DEC is actively working to create a state Universal Waste Rule for paints to facilitate the implementation of the law by allowing paint to be managed as a universal waste. The universal waste rule is a set of reduced requirements for certain commonly-generated hazardous wastes that provides waste-specific management requirements.

Summary of Revisions

6 NYCRR 370.2 - Definitions

DEC is considering revising existing UW definitions to include the following:

  • Aerosol can, also referred to as a universal waste aerosol can, means a non-refillable receptacle containing a gas compressed, liquefied, or dissolved under pressure, the sole purpose of which is to expel a liquid, paste, or powder and fitted with a self-closing release device allowing the contents to be ejected by the gas. Aerosol can does not include gas cylinders such as propane or acetylene.
  • Architectural coatings means paint used for homes and commercial buildings.
  • *Paint, also referred to as universal waste paint, means interior and exterior architectural and structural coatings, including, but not limited to, primers, sealers, resin (single component), epoxy-based flooring paint (single-component), lacquers, latex, water-based paint, oil-based paint, and bridge paint. Paint does not include other industrial, original equipment or specialty coatings, paint thinners, or paint contaminated applicators, debris or personal protective equipment.
  • Structural coating means paint used for protective or decorative purposes on components that support built structures. Such components include, but are not limited to, bridges, trusses, girders, stringers and bents used to support walkways, roadways, railways or subways.
  • Adding aerosol cans and paint to the definition of Universal Waste.

*Although the new State paint take back law only addresses paint waste in 5 gallon or smaller containers, universal waste handlers could receive paint in larger containers under the new proposed universal waste revisions. (DEC's Universal Waste webpage has more information about the general requirements for universal waste handlers.)

6 NYCRR 374-3 - Aerosol Can Universal Waste Standards

In addition to the language from EPA's Aerosol Can Rule DEC is considering adding the following requirements and clarifications:

  • Adding a specific prohibition against the storage of UW aerosol cans with incompatible contents in the same container prior to puncturing and comingling of incompatible residuals drained from the aerosol cans.
  • Limiting small quantity handlers to puncturing only the cans that they've generated themselves, and requiring facilities puncturing cans received from off-site to operate under the large quantity handler standards regardless of the number of cans managed on-site.

6 NYCRR 374-3 - Paint Universal Waste Standards

DEC is proposing requiring the following for facilities managing paint as a universal waste:

  • Protect containers from sources of heat
  • Secondary containment requirements, particularly if consolidation is occurring, and at loading and unloading areas.
  • Need a part 364 waste transporter permit when transporting more than 500 lb of universal waste paint, similar to existing universal waste transport requirements.
  • Labeling containers and storage areas to clearly identify paint being managed as universal waste.
  • May accumulate waste for no longer than one year from the date the universal waste is generated, or received from another handler
  • Must immediately contain all releases of universal waste and other residues from universal waste
  • Must determine whether any material resulting from a release universal waste (including cleanup debris) is hazardous waste, and if so, must manage the hazardous waste in compliance with applicable regulations
  • Must train all employees who handle or have responsibility for managing the universal waste paint
  • Where handlers can send the paint
  • Which activities will be allowed at the different types of handlers (e.g., sorting, consolidating, recycling).
  • Require a 50-foot setback storage requirement for ignitable paint at large quantity handler sites.

DEC is NOT including the following coatings as part of the definition of universal waste paint:

  • Autobody coatings
  • Two-part epoxy-based flooring paints
  • Industrial paints
  • Original equipment or specialty coatings
  • Paint chips
  • Paint thinners
  • Paint-related cleaning solvents
  • Solvent-contaminated rags
  • Paint-contaminated applicators and PPE


A public comment hearing for the proposed rule was held before an Administrative Law Judge via Webex Events on January 11, 2023.

Full Text Regulations

The regulations below are for convenience only and are not considered to be official complications of the regulations. The official complication of the regulations will eventually be posted on the Westlaw website. (Link leave DEC's website)

Rulemaking Documents

Questions & Comments

The official comment period for this rulemaking took place from November 9, 2022 through January 17, 2023.

Please submit all questions by:

Email: (include "Questions About Universal Waste Rule Revisions" in the subject line of the email)


Alison Egbon
NYS Department of Environmental Conservation
RCRA Compliance and Technical Support Section
625 Broadway
Albany, NY 12233-7256

For additional information or questions about this rulemaking, please contact Alison Egbon at (include "Universal Waste Rule Revisions" in the subject line of the email) or (518) 402-8652.