Absorbents

A Summary of Regulatory Requirements

Title V of the Illinois Environmental Protection Act (Act) establishes statutory requirements to ensure that solid waste will be handled in a safe and responsible manner. The requirements found in the Act and the Board’s regulations are intended to reduce the occupational and environmental health risks that occur during storage, treatment, transport, transfer and disposal of solid waste.

The information presented in this fact sheet does not eliminate any person’s responsibility to fulfill any legal obligation under the Act or regulations promulgated thereunder.

The purpose of this fact sheet is to provide some of the solid waste requirements, found in both the Act and the Board’s regulations. For the complete requirements, please see Title V of the Act and 35 Illinois Administrative Code (IAC): Subtitle G. For additional information on solid waste regulations in Illinois, please contact the Disposal Alternatives Unit at the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency; Bureau of Land; 1021 North Grand Avenue East; P.O. Box 19276; Springfield, Illinois 62794-9276; (217) 524-3300.

How are absorbent products regulated?

Rags and absorbents when used and discarded meet the definition of a solid waste. Discarded means any material which is recycled, disposed of, burned, or incinerated. The soiled rags or absorbent products are not solid wastes when sent for laundering (reuse).

Waste generated at a household is excluded from regulation as a hazardous or special waste. Household waste means any waste material derived from households (including single and multiple residences, hotels and motels, bunkhouses, ranger stations, crew quarters, campgrounds, picnic grounds, and day-use recreation areas), but not waste from a business operated at a place of dwelling.

Are they a special waste?

Discarded (dirty) rags and absorbent products are a special waste if they result from an industrial process or the performance of a service (such as maintenance of a car at a commercial enterprise). Laundered rags and absorbent products when sent for disposal are solid wastes, not special wastes.

Exemption:
Discarded rags and absorbent products, generated at a household, are excluded from regulation as a special waste.

Can they be a hazardous waste?

Yes, they are a hazardous waste if the discarded rags and absorbent products exhibit the characteristic of a hazardous waste or the rags and absorbent products are contaminated with a listed hazardous waste (such as solvents). It is the responsibility of the person who generates the waste to make a hazardous waste determination.

Exemption:
Used rags and absorbent products, generated at a household, are excluded from regulation as a hazardous waste.

Who can accept my wastes?

No person may accept spent absorbents or rags for storage, treatment or disposal without a current, valid operating permit issued by the Illinois EPA. Accordingly:

  1. Laundered rags and absorbent products may be placed with the regular garbage and accepted by your municipal waste landfill.
  2. Rags and absorbent products which are special wastes or hazardous wastes, must go to an appropriately permitted facility (i.e., special waste or hazardous waste landfill or treatment facility).
  3. Rags and absorbent products sent for laundering are not regulated as a waste.
  4. Rags and absorbents, generated at a household, are excluded from regulation as a special or hazardous waste and may be placed with the general refuse.

The generator should ask the appropriately permitted facility (i.e., special waste or hazardous waste landfill or treatment facility) for the permit number which authorizes the facility to accept the waste.

Who can transport my wastes?

A person hauling or transporting any special or hazardous waste within Illinois must have a current, valid waste hauling permit issued by the Illinois EPA.

Exemption:

  1. Persons transporting only conditionally exempt small quantity generator waste (one who generates 220 pounds or less of waste in a calendar month) are not required to have a special waste hauling permit.
  2. Persons transporting only household waste are not required to have a special waste hauling permit.
  3. Used rags and absorbent products sent to a launderer are not subject to any manifest requirements.

Do I have to manifest my wastes?

A manifest must be completed before offering a special or hazardous waste to a permitted waste hauler.

Exemption:

  1. A generator who generates 220 or less pounds of special waste including hazardous waste in a calendar month is not required to use a manifest.
  2. Used rags and absorbent products sent to a launderer are not subject to any requirements.

In all instances, the generator must insure that his/her wastes go to a properly permitted facility for storage, treatment, transfer or disposal. The generator should ask the waste hauler who transports his/her wastes for their special waste hauling permit number and should obtain from the facility where the waste is being taken, their permit number and facility ID number.

How do I prepare my waste for transportation?

Before offering hazardous waste for transportation off-site, unless the generator is a conditionally exempt small quantity generator, the generator must:

  1. package the waste in accordance with the applicable Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations under 49CFR Parts 173, 178 and 179;
  2. label and mark each package in accordance with the applicable Department of Transportation regulations under 49CFR Part 172 (DOT specifies wording to be placed on packages for certain chemicals); and
  3. offer the initial transporter the appropriate placards according to Department of Transportation regulations 49CFR Part 172, Subpart F (i.e., trucks must properly identify what type of chemicals they are transporting).

Do I have to submit an annual report?

A generator of hazardous waste who generates 2200 pounds or more in any month must submit an annual hazardous waste report to the Agency by March 1.