Ask the Expert, Hazardous Waste Management, Q&A

Hazardous Waste Manifest

Q. What EPA Hazardous Waste Number should be assigned on the Hazardous Waste Manifest when shipping for disposal un-punctured, aerosol cans with carbon dioxide propellant that are assumed to be empty of the product they were intended to spray (e.g. paint)?

A. What EPA Hazardous Waste Number is required will depend on the contents of the aerosol can as well as on the fact that the cans are still pressurized.

You have described your aerosol cans as “not punctured” and “assumed to be empty” of the product they were intended to spray (with “paint” being an example of possible can contents). You’ve not asked how to manage such waste, just whether the cans would need an EPA Hazardous Waste Number when shipped on a hazardous waste manifest. Your plan to use a hazardous waste manifest suggests that you realize that the cans and their remaining contents are a hazardous waste.

As you probably know, to be exempt from hazardous waste regulation (and therefore not have to be shipped on a manifest that requires an EPA Hazardous Waste Number) such cans would need to be “RCRA empty” (in accordance with the standard set forth in 40 CFR 261.7) and not just “assumed” to be empty. The RCRA empty standard would also require that “all wastes have been removed that can be removed using the practices commonly employed to remove materials from that type of container.” In the case of aerosol cans, puncturing them would be a common practice to remove the cans’ contents to the level specified in the regulation. Cans that are not RCRA empty would also not be eligible for other RCRA exemptions, such as those for recycled scrap metal.

Consequently, assuming that the contents remaining in the cans are hazardous, you need to determine whether they are a listed waste (many aerosol cans contain unused chemical products that have a “P” or “U” code) or whether the remaining material exhibits a characteristic hazardous waste (such as reactivity or ignitibility). In addition, un-punctured aerosol cans are usually considered a reactive hazardous waste with the D003 EPA Hazardous Waste Number (as pressured cans can explode if exposed to heat or pressure due to the presence of propellant).

So the EPA Hazardous Waste Number D003 as well as those numbers associated with the specific hazardous chemicals in the aerosol can would need to be entered on the hazardous waste manifest.

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