Frequent Questions

How is a secondary material regulated if it is recycled by direct use or reuse without prior reclamation?

Direct use or reuse of a secondary material without prior reclamation is a form of recycling. Section 261.2(e) provides exclusions from the definition of solid waste for materials that are directly used or reused without prior reclamation in one of the following ways: 

- used or reused as an ingredient in an industrial process to make a product, provided the materials are not being reclaimed;
- used or reused as an effective substitute for a commercial product;
- or when returned the original production process from which it was generated as a substitute for feedstock materials.
These recycling activities are not considered to involve waste management since they are akin to ordinary production operations or the ordinary use of commercial products (50 FR 614, 619; January 4, 1985). 

However, there are certain situations where use or reuse of a material without prior reclamation is still considered to be management of a solid waste. Section 261.2(e)(2) designates as solid wastes the following materials even if they are used or reused directly: materials used in a manner constituting disposal, or used to produce products that are applied to the land; materials burned for energy recovery, used to produce a fuel, or contained in fuels; materials accumulated speculatively; and dioxin-containing wastes considered inherently waste-like (F020, F021, F022, F023, F026, and F028). 

Additional guidance on recycling of secondary materials by direct use or reuse is available in the following documents: 
Memo, Anders to Naylor; November 13, 1996 (RCRA Online #14099
Memo, Bussard to Woods; August 30, 1994 (RCRA Online #11868
Memo, Petruska to Amour; July 11, 1994 (RCRA Online #11849)
 Memo, Bussard to Nebrich; March 30, 1994 (RCRA Online #11823
Monthly Report Question; May 1992 (RCRA Online #13539)
 Memo, Straus to Lawrence; May 30, 1986 (RCRA Online #11159
Memo, Straus to Bzura; June 6, 1985 (RCRA Online #11083
Memo, Skinner to Scarbrough; June 5, 1985 (RCRA Online #11081)

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