INDA, Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry, praised the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for the July 23 release of its long-awaited rule modifying the federal hazardous waste management regulations that apply to non-laundered and laundered wipes contaminated with solvents that are used in tens of thousands of industrial and other facilities across the U.S.
Under the final rule, both types of solvent-contaminated wipes will be given the opportunity to be excluded from the definition of hazardous waste under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). In order to be excluded, wipes will need to be managed in closed, labeled containers and may not contain free liquids when sent for either cleaning or disposal. In addition, facilities that use these wipes will be prohibited from storing wipes for longer than 180 days and will be required to meet certain recordkeeping requirements. EPA estimates that these changes will result in a net savings of more than $20 million per year in avoided regulatory costs and other expected benefits, including pollution prevention, waste minimization and fire prevention benefits.
The completion of the rule, which is scheduled for publication in the Federal Register, caps off decades of efforts by INDA and others to revise the waste regulations for wipes, which were recognized by EPA as being overly stringent, burdensome and confusing to the thousands of small businesses that rely upon these products. EPA first released a proposal to alter the regulatory framework in November 2003, and published a revised risk assessment in October 2009. INDA provided input on both, and worked extensively with the agency and others throughout the years to see the rule completed.
"We believe this rule will enhance flexibility and increase the options available to the thousands of businesses that use these wipes, and are hopeful it will create new opportunities for nonwoven wipes," says INDA president Dave Rousse.
"After so many years of hard work, we are extremely gratified that the EPA has finalized this common-sense regulation that will reduce unnecessary regulatory burden and simplify the landscape for those who use and make wipes," says INDA director of government affairs Jessica Franken. "INDA urges state officials to implement it as expeditiously as possible."
For more information about this rulemaking: