Hazardous wastes in the United States

Currently most of the small businesses like dry cleaners, automobile repair shops, hospitals, exterminators, and photo processing centers and large companies like chemical manufacturers, electroplating companies, and oil refineries generate the hazardous waste. A US facility that treats, stores or disposes of hazardous waste must obtain a permit for doing so under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. Generators of and transporters of hazardous waste must meet specific requirements for handling, managing, and tracking waste. Through the RCRA, the United States Environmental Protection Agency to create regulations to manage the hazardous waste. Under this rule, the EPA developed strict requirements for all aspects of hazardous waste management including the treatment, storage, and disposal of hazardous waste.

Some states might develop more stringent requirements in addition to these federal requirements. In the United States, mainly the hazardous wastes generated by commercial or industrial activities may be classified as “listed” hazardous wastes or “characteristic” hazardous wastes by the EPA. Either appears on one of the four hazardous wastes lists (F-list, K-list, P-list, or U-list) or exhibits at least one of the four “characteristics” of hazardous waste (ignitability, corrosivity, reactivity, or toxicity). Individual states may regulate particular wastes more harshly than mandated by federal regulation. This is because the U.S. EPA is authorized to delegate primary rulemaking authorization to individual states. Most states take advantage of this authority and form their own state regulatory agencies that are monitored by the U.S. EPA.