Frequent Questions

Can contractors who generate lead-based paint (LBP) waste at a household take advantage of the household hazardous waste exclusion?

Yes, the household hazardous waste exclusion applies to lead-based paint (LBP) waste generated by either residents or contractors conducting abatement, rehabilitation, renovation, or remodeling activities at a household (Memo, Cotsworth to Regions; July 31, 2000 RCRA Online #14459). For the purposes of the exclusion, EPA does not distinguish between waste generated at a household by a homeowner and waste generated at a household by a person other than the homeowner (i.e., contractor) provided that the waste is generated as part of daily living (e.g., routine residential maintenance). Solid waste generated by a homeowner, resident, or contractor at a home as part of routine residential maintenance is part of the household waste stream, and is exempt from RCRA regulation under the household waste exclusion (Memo, Petruska to McNally; February 28, 1995 RCRA Online #11897). 

EPA defines household waste as any material (including garbage, trash, and sanitary wastes in septic tanks) derived from households (including single and multiple residences, hotels and motels, bunkhouses, ranger stations, crew quarters, campgrounds, picnic grounds, and day-use recreation areas) (§261.4(b)). EPA defines the scope of the household hazardous waste exclusion by applying the following two criteria: the waste must be generated by individuals on the premises of a household, and the waste must be composed primarily of materials found in the wastes generated by consumers in their homes (63 FR 70233, 70241; December 18, 1998). 

The definition of household waste and the two criteria for determining the scope of the exclusion focus on the type of waste generated and the place of generation rather than on who generated the waste (i.e., a resident or a contractor). Contractor-generated LBP waste from residential renovations, remodeling, rehabilitation, and abatements are of the same type generated by consumers in their homes. Therefore such waste, whether generated by a resident or a contractor, falls within the scope of the household hazardous waste exclusion (Memo, Cotsworth to Regions; July 31, 2000 RCRA Online #14459). 

Contractors are also encouraged to contact their state, local and/or tribal government to determine whether any restrictions apply to the disposal of residential LBP waste.  This is necessary since, under RCRA, states, local and tribal governments can enforce regulations that are more stringent or broader in scope than the federal regulations.  Thus, under such circumstances, LBP waste from households may still be regulated as a hazardous waste as a matter of state, local or tribal regulations.

Additional guidance regarding the applicability of the household hazardous waste exclusion to contractors in households is available in the following documents: 

Memo, Springer to Ferguson; June 23, 2003 (RCRA Online #14673
Memo, Friedman to Hill; March 7, 1995 (RCRA Online #11898
Monthly Call Center Report, March 1990; (RCRA Online #13358

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