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Plain English Guide to Regulations
Solid/Hazardous Waste Management

How to Comply

What is RCRA
Details on How to Comply

This plain language guide focuses on the "federal" requirements for hazardous waste management. Many "states" have their own hazardous waste regulations based on the federal rules. In some of these states, the requirements are the same as the federal standards. Other states, however, have developed more stringent requirements than the federal program. If this is the case in your state, you must comply with the more stringent state regulations. To become familiar with your state requirements, consult your state hazardous waste agency (Go to State Agency Locator).

What is RCRA
The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act or RCRA (pronounced "rick-rah") is the central law that gives EPA the authority to control hazardous waste from the "cradle-to-grave." This includes the generation, transportation, treatment, storage, and disposal of hazardous waste. RCRA also set forth a framework for the management of non-hazardous wastes.

The RCRA regulations apply to most businesses that generate hazardous waste. To determine if these regulations apply to your business you must

  • Determine if you generate hazardous waste in the first place.
  • Measure the amount of hazardous waste that you produce per month.
  • Determine your generator category to learn the management requirements that apply to you.
Additional Information
Follow the links below for basic information regarding hazardous waste and waste generator categories:



The information contained in this site is provided for your review and convenience. It is not intended to provide legal advice with respect to any federal, state, or local regulation.
You should consult with legal counsel and appropriate authorities before interpreting any regulations or undertaking any specific course of action.

Please note that many of the regulatory discussions on STERC refer to federal regulations. In many cases, states or local governments have promulgated relevant rules and standards
that are different and/or more stringent than the federal regulations. Therefore, to assure full compliance, you should investigate and comply with all applicable federal, state and local regulations.