• Dan Forsythe

Adding Aerosol Cans to the Universal Waste Regulations Is Now Effective

On February 7, 2020, the final rule regarding adding aerosol cans to the Universal Waste Regulations became effective.  With this rule, EPA adds hazardous waste aerosol cans to those “universal wastes” regulated under title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), part 273, under the Federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) regulations. This change in the RCRA regulations is expected to reduce regulatory costs for a wide variety of establishments generating and managing aerosol cans.



The streamlined universal waste regulations are expected to:

  • Ease regulatory burdens on retail stores and others that discard aerosol cans,Promote the collection and recycling of aerosol cans, and

  • Encourage the development of municipal and commercial programs to reduce the quantity of these wastes going to municipal solid waste landfills or combustors

Below are some clarifications CAPACCIO uncovered which may help you better understand this regulation:

What to do if an aerosol can contains/contained acutely hazardous waste?

Aerosol cans previously (or still) containing a liquid or gas that is an acutely hazardous waste (and not deemed “Empty”) qualify as universal waste.

The definition of an “Empty” aerosol can is explained below:


Aerosol cans are defined as “Empty” if they are void of both product and propellant through ordinary use (e.g., entire aerosol paint can, entire lubricant is used until the can is empty). It is preferable but not required that “Empty” aerosol cans be managed as universal waste or scrap metal to promote recycling.

Cans that are punctured or drained must be recycled!

If a universal waste handler or a facility is puncturing and draining their aerosol cans, the cans must be recycled in order for the puncturing and draining to be considered an exempt recycling process.

If you have any lingering questions about this regulation, contact us:



At CAPACCIO, we live our mission of "Helping Industry and the Environment Prosper". We align EHS with your overall business objectives to strategically position you for success. Our unique approach combines our extensive EHS experience with innovative tools, such as our EHS Dashboard™, to effectively address your challenges. Our comprehensive solutions have resulted in award-winning EHS and overall business performance for our clients. We are certified WBENC, WBE. To learn more visit us at www.capaccio.com.

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