Definition of Solid Waste

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Solid waste need not literally be a solid. It may be a solid, a semisolid, a liquid, or a contained gaseous material. In accordance with RCRA regulations, a solid waste is any discarded material that is not specifically excluded by the regulation or excluded by granting of a special variance by the regulatory agency. Discarded material is considered abandoned, recycled, or inherently wastelike. Materials are considered abandoned if they are disposed of, burned or incinerated, or accumulated, stored, or treated (but not recycled) before being abandoned.

Materials are considered recycled if they are recycled or accumulated, stored, or treated before recycling. However, materials are considered solid waste if they are used in a manner constituting disposal, burned for energy recovery, reclaimed, or accumulated speculatively. Table 11.1.1 presents various classes of materials and general situations in which they would be considered solid wastes.

Inherently wastelike materials are solid wastes when they are recycled in any manner. This includes:

• Certain wastes associated with the manufacturing of tri-, tetra-, or pentachlorophenols or tetra-, penta-, or hexachlorobenzenes (for listed wastes F020, F021, F022, F023, F026, and F028, see the following section for an explanation of F designations

• Secondary materials that, when fed to a halogen acid furnace, exhibit characteristics of hazardous waste or are listed as hazardous waste (see section 2.2)

• Other wastes that are ordinarily disposed of, burned, or incinerated

• Materials posing a substantial hazard to human health and the environment when they are recycled.

For a material to be considered recycled and not a solid waste, the material must be used or reused in making a product without reclamation. The material is also considered recycled if it is used as an effective substitute for commercial products or returned to the process from which it was generated without reclamation. In this latter case, the material must be a substitute for raw material feedstock, and the process must use raw materials as its principal feedstocks.

The process for determining whether a waste is a solid waste is summarized in Figure 11.1.1.

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