Frequent Questions

What is the proper way to manage empty aerosol cans under RCRA?

A steel aerosol can that does not contain a significant amount of liquid (e.g., a can that has been punctured and drained) would meet the definition of scrap metal (§261.1(c)(6)), and, would be exempt from regulation under §261.6(a)(3)(ii) if it is to be recycled (Letter, Shapiro to Campbell; January 4, 1994 (RCRA Online #11806)). Scrap metal that is recycled is exempt from RCRA regulation under this provision even if it is a hazardous waste. Scrap metal that is not recycled, however, is subject to the hazardous waste regulations if it is hazardous (Letter, Cotsworth to Nebrich; May 19, 1997 (RCRA Online #14235)). If a can is to be disposed of, and either contains or is a hazardous waste, it must be managed under all applicable RCRA Subtitle C regulations (Letter, Denit to Crawford; October 7, 1993 (RCRA Online #11782). In order to dispose of an aerosol can at a non-hazardous waste landfill, a generator would have to determine that the can is empty under 40 CFR §261.7 (or that the product it contained was not hazardous), and that the can itself is not hazardous (Letter, Denit to Crawford; October 7, 1993 (RCRA Online # 11782). The memos referenced above are available in the RCRA Online Database at the following URL:

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