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Hazardous Waste Rulemaking - Definition of Solid Waste Rule

In 2008, the United States Environmental Protection Agency issued the "Definition of Solid Waste Rule." The purpose of the rule was to promote recycling of hazardous secondary materials while providing appropriate environmental standards. The DSW Rule redefines "hazardous secondary materials". It streamlines regulation of hazardous secondary materials to encourage beneficial recycling and help conserve resources. The Rule was expected to make it easier and more cost-effective to safely recycle hazardous secondary material. The majority of states did not adopt the 2008 DSW Rule because of concerns that the rule was not sufficiently protective; however, the nearby states of Pennsylvania and New Jersey did adopt the 2008 rule. Due to implementation issues and other human health and environmental concerns, the DSW Rule was substantially revised. EPA published substantial revisions to this rule in December, 2014, which were published in the Federal Register on January 13, 2015.

Most provisions of the DSW Rule will not take effect in New York State until the state adopts it into regulation. Many parts of the rule are not mandatory, but EPA believes that the revised rule will promote environmentally responsible recycling of hazardous secondary materials. Recycling of hazardous secondary materials may conserve energy and natural resources, and have economic benefits.

Certain parts of the DSW Rule revisions are mandatory. In order to maintain regulations that are as stringent as EPA's regulations, DEC must adopt the revised definition of "legitimate recycling," the prohibition of sham recycling, and new record-keeping requirements to demonstrate that material is not accumulated speculatively. If DEC does not meet the deadline to adopt the more stringent provisions, EPA can enforce those provisions in New York State. EPA is still analyzing the rule to determine whether there are other mandatory provisions.

Please see EPA's Definition of Solid Waste website for detailed information about the DSW Rule. A link is given on the right side of this page, under "Links Leaving DEC's Website."

DEC is seeking comments on whether to adopt all of the provisions of the DSW Rule, as revised. Please comment and provide information on impacts of adoption of any portions of the rule, including human health, environmental, environmental justice, and economic costs and benefits.