From the archives of the Enforcement and Compliance Listserv for Hazardous Waste Generators

Oct. 23, 2006

Waste or Product?

It is an age old question, is that product you are storing or waste you are unintentionally trying to avoid? Even more important than cleaning out your closet at home is frequently going through your facility and checking on the usefulness, condition and age of your products. To prevent confusion when a hazardous waste inspector visits your company, the department has developed a new fact sheet, entitled Waste or Product Determination Guidance. This guide outlines some basic criteria for determining if your product has become a waste. The fact sheet also gives you pointers on how to store your product so it retains its value.

Nov. 3, 2005

Waste or Product? As a generator it is sometimes very difficult for you to dispose of an expensive product once it is past its usefulness. But it is important to make that call so that you avoid storing a hazardous waste at your business. Here are a few things to keep in mind when deciding whether a product is really a waste:

  • Can you currently use the product in your processes? If you have changed formulation or equipment and the product is no longer needed, then it is a waste.
  • Can another company use the product you no longer need? Identify someone else who can use the product and arrange for transport.
  • Is the product stored as though it has value? Product should be stored in a manner consistent with industry standards.
  • Can you identify the product? If you can't identify the product then you will have difficulty convincing anyone that it can be used. Be certain to label products clearly. It is a good idea to store products and wastes in separate areas.
  • Is the product stored according to the recommendations of the Material Safety Data Sheet? Exposure to the elements, extremes in heat or cold, or being past the expiration date indicates the product is truly a waste.
  • Is the container used to store the product in good condition? If the drum is rusted and leaking you're not only creating a waste because of the spill but it appears the product is not valuable enough to be secured in a container.
  • Is the product labeled "Quarantined", "Do Not Use", "Waste", or the like? Anything carrying a waste label is considered a waste.

Other factors can and will play in your decision to consider a product a waste. It is a good idea to keep a regular inventory of your products, check all containers for labels, and visually inspect the condition of your containers.

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If you need further assistance, please email or contact the Department of Natural Resources' Hazardous Waste Program at 573-751-7560 or 800-361-4827.

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