recycling spray cans

Virginia Adopts Revised Universal Waste Regulations for Aerosols

Created in 1995, the federal Universal Waste program outlines a mechanism for collection and recycling Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) hazardous waste. Four waste streams were added to the federal Universal Waste program between 1995 and 2018.

Some states began adding hazardous waste aerosol cans to their state universal waste programs during that time. In March of 2018, the EPA proposed adding aerosol cans to the federal universal waste list, using state programs as a model for their own Aerosols as Universal Waste Rule.

Having a universal waste classification is important for waste generators, as they can be less stringent in how aerosols are managed and packaged than if such items were classified as hazardous waste.

Over the past couple of years, dozens of states adopted the EPA’s Aerosols as Universal Waste Rule or a similar rule.

The EPA published a Final Rule, Increasing Recycling: Adding Aerosol Cans to the Universal Waste Regulations, on December 9, 2019. Virginia adopted this regulation on October 28, 2022. On December 14, 2022, Virginia published their adoption of the revised federal regulations in their annual update for 2022. Virginia’s rule then went into effect on January 18, 2023.

Virginia’s rule addresses spent aerosol cans that are generated by any business, government facility, school, or religious organization, and many other institutions. It details requirements related to puncturing, draining and recycling aerosol cans, as well as how they must be stored and handled.

The team at ONE Environmental stands ready to help waste generators in Virginia assess how aerosol waste regulations might impact their waste management practices and help ensure compliance with all state and federal requirements.