Frequent Questions

May transporters puncture and crush hazardous waste aerosol cans while repackaging wastes at a transfer facility?

Transporters repackaging waste from one container to another (e.g., consolidating) or mixing hazardous waste at transfer facilities do not need a permit, unless the transporter is conducting treatment (Memo, Regas to Wardzinski; July 20, 1989 (RCRA Online #13308)). Activities such as puncturing, shredding, and crushing non-empty aerosol cans may meet definition of hazardous waste treatment. EPA has delegated the authority to determine whether this is treatment to the individual state authorized implementing agency. 

The following guidance documents provide additional clarification on the puncturing, shredding, and crushing of aerosol cans:
Memo, Bussard to Nash; June 24, 1992 (RCRA Online #11674
Memo, Petruska to Citizen; September 12, 1989 (RCRA Online #11466
Memo, Lowrance to Williams; March 31, 1989 (RCRA Online #11414
Memo, Lowrance to Whitman; September 30, 1988 (RCRA Online #13225

These guidance documents are available in RCRA Online at the following URL:

Also see Section 261.7 regarding the management of residues of hazardous waste in empty containers.

In addition, it is important to note that this guidance represents clarification of the Federal regulations. Most states are authorized to implement the Federal regulations. We recommend that you also contact your state's implementing agency to acquire additional information on aerosol cans and treatment. The Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery (ORCR) has compiled a complete list of waste program Web sites maintained by EPA Regional offices and state environmental agencies to help users locate the appropriate agency within their states.

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