Frequent Questions

At what point does an unused commercial chemical product become a solid waste?


A solid waste is any discarded material that is abandoned, is recycled, is inherently waste-like, or is a military munition as defined in 40 CFR §261.2. An unused commercial chemical product (CCP) meets the definition of a solid waste when the generator makes the decision to discard it. Under RCRA, unused products do not become ‘waste’ until they become ‘discarded material.’ EPA believes that an unused product becomes ‘discarded’ when an intent to discard the material is demonstrated (62 FR 6622, 6626; February 12, 1997). EPA did not intend to regulate those cases when the chemical is released into the environment as a result of use (Memo, Claussen to Warren; September 29, 1986, RCRA Online #11182). 

The Military Munitions Rule (62 FR 6622; February 12, 1997) is available at the following URL:

Additional information regarding the solid waste determination for CCPs is available in the following guidance documents: 

Memo, Bussard to Caputo; November 20, 1997 (RCRA Online #14163)
Monthly Call Center Report Question; August 1, 1996 (RCRA Online #14012)
Memo, Lowrance to Shultz; May 16, 1991 (RCRA Online #11606
Memo, Clay to Ream; November 28, 1990 (RCRA Online #13431
Memo, Corson to Wittmer; May 13, 1981 (RCRA Online #11012)


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