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Are Your Drum Disposal Costs Too High?

Photo Credit: Freepik

It could be because you are declaring your empty solvent drums as hazardous waste.

High waste costs can have a significant impact on your bottom line. If you're declaring your empty solvent drums as hazardous waste, it's important to ensure that you're disposing of them correctly and cost-effectively. Failure to do so may result in penalties, fines, and increased waste management expenses.

If the drum previously contained hazardous materials, it's crucial to dispose of these materials properly according to local, state, and federal regulations. In the United States, hazardous waste is regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The federal EPA regulation specifically dealing with empty containers and drums is 40 CFR 261.7.

To enable empty drums to be disposed of as trash or recycled, they must meet several criteria.

The first criterion is that the drum is RICRA (Resource Conservation and Recovery Act) empty, which means that it contains less than one inch of liquid in the bottom. Drum recyclers and trash haulers prefer that as much material as possible is removed from the drums, and they are "drip empty," meaning that only a small amount of liquid drips out when the drum is tipped upside down.

The second criterion is that the material contained in the drum is not an acute hazardous waste. Acute hazardous wastes are denoted as P-Listed or designated with the hazard code H. You can check if your material is listed as an acute hazardous waste by clicking this link:

40 CFR 261.33 Paragraph e and f.

Photo Credit: Freepik

What were the contents of the drum?

If the material contained in the drum is an acute hazardous waste, the drum must be triple rinsed with an appropriate fluid to remove the hazardous waste before it can be declared RICRA empty. The rinse fluid will be hazardous waste and must be handled appropriately. If triple rinsing is inappropriate, an alternate method called out in 40 CFR 261.7 (b)(3)(ii) may be used.

Once the drum is determined to be empty and the hazard of the remaining chemicals has been mitigated the drum is no longer considered a RICRA hazardous waste. This means that the drum can be disposed of as either trash or recycled.

Due to the large size of 55 gallon drums, recycling is the best course of action to repurpose the drums.

While recycling is an excellent option for reducing waste and conserving natural resources, it's important to note that not all drums can be safely recycled. It's important to check with your local recycling center or waste management facility to determine the appropriate disposal method for your drum.

There are several drum recyclers around the country.

A few of them are listed below.

Container Reclaimer in Colorado specializes in recycling

Waste Management of Colorado can help dispose of your drums

Suny Group will shred your metal drums

Drum Service Inc in Tennessee

For more information about waste drum handling follow this link to the EPA Introduction to containers . Document EPA530-K-05-010

This information was provided in good faith. It is not a complete representation of the EPA’s regulations on empty container handling. Seek guidance from a professional that is familiar with the laws in your state and your specific situation before disposing of any materials.

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