Frequent Questions

What is the difference between hazardous wastes or substances and solid wastes?

Hazardous wastes or substances can be potentially hazardous to human health or the environment when they are improperly managed. They possess at least one of four characteristics (ignitability, corrosivity, reactivity, or toxicity), or appear on special EPA lists.

Under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), a "hazardous substance" is any material EPA has designated for special consideration under the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Toxic Substances Control Act, or the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). EPA also may designate additional substances as being hazardous under CERCLA.

Solid wastes are non-liquid, non-soluble materials ranging from municipal garbage to industrial wastes that contain complex and sometimes hazardous substances. Solid wastes also include sewage sludge, agricultural refuse, demolition wastes, and mining residues. Technically, solid waste also refers to liquids and gases in containers. 

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