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About Waste and How We Manage It

Most waste is broadly categorized under the term solid waste. Despite its name, solid waste can be a solid, semisolid, liquid, or contained gas. Solid waste includes any garbage, refuse, sludge, or other discarded material from homes, businesses, and industrial, commercial, mining, agricultural, or community activities. Certain types of waste are excluded from the definition of solid waste. If a solid waste is determined to be hazardous, then it is more specifically defined as hazardous waste and it is managed by other laws and rules. Certain types of toxic wastes are regulated under Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA) laws and regulations.

Waste Determination

"Waste determination" involves determining the qualitative and quantitative nature of a particular waste in order to establish the regulatory status of the waste and determine if it must be disposed of under the hazardous waste rules at 329 IAC 3.1, the PCB rules at 329 IAC 4.1, or the solid waste rules at 329 IAC 10. The regulatory status may be determined using either generator knowledge or testing by the methods in 40 CFR 261, Subpart C, or equivalent methods approved under 40 CFR 260.21. IDEM’s guidance document on Understanding the Hazardous Waste Determination Process [PDF] provides further detail.

If a solid waste is determined to be non-hazardous, you must then determine if it contains regulated levels of PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls), pesticides, asbestos, infectious, or other physical or chemical characteristics defined in 329 IAC 10-7.2-1 that would require special handling when processing or disposing it. Management requirements for these solid wastes can be found at 329 IAC 8.2. Regulatory requirements for wastes containing regulated levels of PCBs can be found in the Indiana Administrative Code at 329 IAC 4.1. Special requirements for waste pesticides can be found in the Indiana Code at IC 15-16-4-68. Industrial solid waste must receive a waste classification to be disposed in a restricted waste landfill.

Waste Generators

Waste generators have a responsibility to manage waste according to solid waste, hazardous waste, septage, biosolids, and/or TSCA environmental regulations. Producers of these wastes are responsible for properly handling, storing, transporting for proper disposal, or treatment/processing. All waste generators, except households, are required by law to determine if any of their waste is hazardous waste (see 329 IAC 10-7.2). A waste determination is made at the point of generation for each waste generated at their site. The waste determination can be done using generator knowledge of the products and processes used, or by having the waste analyzed. It is the responsibility of the generator to ensure their wastes are properly managed and disposed. Generators must keep records of waste evaluations and other information used to determine what type of waste they have.

Recycling and Reuse

One of the best ways to reduce the impact of waste is to reduce the amount of waste that needs to be disposed. Something that is considered to be a waste by one industry may be seen as a useful product to another. This is why we should look for beneficial ways to reuse or reclaim waste materials before they are immediately discarded. We can recycle, reuse, or reclaim some waste materials to harvest their valuable components and use them to create new products.

Legitimate Use of Nonhazardous Waste Materials

Some nonhazardous solid wastes may be legitimately used (refer to the Indiana Administrative Code [329 IAC 10-3-1] "Exclusions; general"). Please note that IDEM approval may be required to reuse solid waste. Legitimate use of solid waste, depending upon the type of waste and how it is to be reused, may require a registration approval or a processing facility permit from IDEM.

Some commonly reused industrial process wastes have separate statutory exclusion. Foundry Sand (IC 13-19-3-7) is one of these and it has as two Nonrule Policy Documents which describe its use in land application and as a soil amendment (Waste-0028 and Waste-0040) along with how it is used in accordance to House Enrolled Act 1541. Slag (IC 13-19-3-8) also has protections on the regulations of its use.

Exclusion of some Hazardous Waste and Other Waste

Some hazardous waste streams may meet applicable exclusion and exemption criteria and not be fully regulated as a hazardous waste. These exclusions and exemptions can be found at 40 CFR 261.