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Rulemaking - Adding Aerosol Cans to the Universal Waste Regulations

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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).

The addition of aerosol cans to EPA's UW rule went into effect on February 7, 2020, but will not be effective in New York State until it's adopted by DEC.

Revisions Being Considered for Adoption

6 NYCRR 370.2 - Definitions

DEC is considering revising existing UW definitions to include a definition for "aerosol can" as defined below. (DEC's Universal Waste webpage has more information on general requirements for universal waste handlers.)

Aerosol can, also known as universal aerosol can waste, 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.

DEC is also considering the following additional revisions to the language from EPA's Aerosol Can Rule to clarify some concepts in the new regulations, including:

  • Defining when UW aerosol cans meet the definition of reactivity - under normal conditions or when mismanaged
  • Better defining "Aerosol Cans" to clarify the types of wastes that would and would not meet the definition.

6 NYCRR 374-3 - Aerosol Cans Universal Waste Standards

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

Waste Management

  • Limiting the size of UW aerosol cans to 24 oz. or 1 liter and limiting cans to manufactured aerosol cans
  • Adding a specific prohibition against the storage of UW aerosol cans with incompatible contents in the same container prior to puncturing
  • Adding measures for shipping and accumulating UW aerosol cans
  • Clarifying when a punctured aerosol can and its contents are no longer considered UW waste

Prevention of and Response to Releases

  • Adding measures to ensure emissions are contained during puncturing and draining activities
  • 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
  • Clarifying how a puncturing device "effectively contains" the residual contents of the UW aerosol cans

You can find further information about the revisions that DEC is consideration for adoption of this rule in DEC's Aerosol Can Fact Sheet (110 KB, PDF).

Request for Comment

DEC is interested in information, data, and comments about any issues or concerns with this rule. Please submit all information, data, or comments by:



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

For additional information about this rule, please call 518-402-8652.