Retailers Welcome EPA Proposed Haz. Waste Generator Rules

The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) welcomed two proposals from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Monday that update waste management regulations related to the handling of unsold consumer products by retailers.

The EPA’s proposed Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements rules address compliance challenges for retailers stemming from the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). RCRA applies to large scale manufacturing plants that generate more significant quantities of hazardous wastes, as well as to the very small percentage of unsold consumer products that may be recycled, reused or otherwise discarded from a retail store. Nearly all of these products are sold to consumers and are either consumed or disposed of without additional regulation.

Specifically the proposed rules:

Allow a hazardous waste generator to avoid increased burdens of a higher generator status when generating large quantities of waste episodically, such as obsolete, outdated or seasonal product, provided the episodic waste is properly managed; and

Allow a conditionally exempt small quantity generator to send its hazardous waste to a “large quantity generator” under its control, provided certain conditions are met, thereby eliminating the disproportionate regulatory burdens of a higher generator status at store-level. 

“RILA welcomes these long-awaited and commonsense proposals to ease the burden on retailers who want to implement good waste management practices,” said Sue Pifer, vice president of compliance at RILA. “This is an important step forward and we look forward to reviewing the proposal further and providing additional comments to the EPA.” 

RILA led a coalition of retailers to explain the challenges of complying with RCRA and many of the issues raised by the coalition were addressed in the proposed rules. RILA’s comments to the EPA’s initial proposals were submitted in conjunction with the Food Marketing Institute (FMI), the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) and the National Retail Federation (NRF). 

For more information on the proposed rules, visit here and here.


RILA is the trade association of the world's largest and most innovative retail companies. RILA members include more than 200 retailers, product manufacturers, and service suppliers, which together account for more than $1.5 trillion in annual sales, millions of American jobs and more than 100,000 stores, manufacturing facilities and distribution centers. 


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