Definition of Solid Waste (DSW) Rule

The Definition of Solid Waste (DSW) rule, under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), has the potential to encourage the recycling of valuable secondary materials, including those from electronics manufacturing. Wastewater treatment sludge from electroplating operations represent one of the largest sources, in the United States, of untapped metal-bearing secondary materials amenable to metals recovery. However, the material is a listed hazardous waste, making it profoundly difficult to recycle the valuable material. The DSW rule finalized in 2008 removed regulatory barriers that inhibited the recycling of manufacturing wastes and had the potential to save industry approximately $95 million dollars per year while simultaneously providing an environmental benefit by reducing waste. However, the rule was reopened due to a lawsuit and an alternative, disappointing, rule was proposed in 2011.

IPC has been a key player, advocating for a DSW rule that promotes and incentivizes recycling of secondary materials. IPC and member companies have met with EPA staff and key Administration officials on numerous occasions, testified during a public meeting, and met with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to express concerns with the 2011 proposed DSW rule.

A final rule was published December 2014 that provides insufficient incentives to promote recycling of secondary materials and maintains many onerous and unnecessary requirements as proposed in 2011. Although EPA has substituted a verified recycler provision for the more onerous subtitle C regulations proposed in 2011, we remain concerned that the requirements could prove too onerous to encourage additional facilities to recycle secondary materials.

The final rulemaking can be found on EPA’s website:

Electroplating Sludge Response