Counting Specific Wastes
Are Pharmaceutical Wastes Counted?
Some pharmaceutical wastes are counted, whereas others are not. As explained, only hazardous wastes are included when counting. Pursuant to Health and Safety Code subsection 25117.5(b), pharmaceutical wastes that are comprised of only pharmaceuticals and that are only hazardous because of their pharmaceutical makeup are not hazardous wastes, hence, they are not included in such counts. This exemption does not apply to pharmaceutical wastes which are RCRA hazardous wastes, hazardous waste mixtures consisting of pharmaceuticals and other wastes, wastes derived from the treatment of pharmaceutical wastes that exhibit a hazardous waste characteristic that the original pharmaceutical waste (which fell under Health and Safety Code subsection 25117.5(b) prior to treatment) did not exhibit, and radioactive pharmaceutical wastes and radioactive pharmaceutical wastes mixtures, all are hazardous wastes and, hence, are to be counted.
Are “Empty Containers” Counted?
No. Containers that satisfy the condition of being empty as defined in the applicable subsection of section 66261.7 of title 22 are not included in such counts, provided they are managed as specified in that section.
See the Fact Sheet entitled, “Managing Empty Containers”
If you have P-Listed hazardous waste, please read this 12/24/2015 letter regarding P-listed hazardous waste containers at California Healthcare Facilities
Are “Non-Empty Containers Counted?
Yes, a non-empty container (including the hazardous waste residues remaining inside the non-empty container) that doesn’t qualify for the exemption pursuant to section 66261.7 is hazardous waste and is to be counted. However, as illustrated in the example above, one must pay particular attention to exactly what must be counted. For example, while the mass of the entire waste (i.e., the mass of the container plus the residue inside it) may be counted for a generator fee determination and for biennial reporting purposes, under RCRA only, but not California regulations pursuant to subsection 66261.7(r), the mass of a P-listed RCRA hazardous waste residue (I.e., the mass of the residue itself) would have to be counted for comparison to > 1 kg of RCRA acutely hazardous waste in a month criterion.
Is “Used Oil” Sent for Recycling Counted?
Yes. Any oil that has been refined from crude oil, or any synthetic oil, that has been used, and, as a result of use or as a consequence of extended storage, or spillage, has been contaminated with physical or chemical impurities is counted because it must be managed as hazardous waste. Any oil meeting this criterion that is sent for recycling may be managed as “used oil” but it must always be counted. This includes material that is subject to regulation as “used oil” under Part 279 (commencing with Section 279.1) of Subchapter I of Chapter 1 of Title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations (e.g., materials contaminated with visible signs of free flowing oil).
Materials that have been contaminated with “used oil” but do not contain visible signs of free flowing oil (e.g., absorbents used to clean up small oil spills) are not “used oil” and therefore are not counted as “used oil”. However, if these materials exhibit a characteristic of a hazardous waste in Article 3 or contain listed hazardous waste in Article 4 they must be counted as hazardous waste.
See the Fact Sheet entitled, “Requirements for used oil generators”
Are Drained Used Oil Filters Sent for Metals Reclamation Counted?
Yes, but not always. As was mentioned above, generators must count for multiple purposes and must not mix up these counts. Drained used oil filters (i.e., used oil filters made of metal that contain no visible signs of free flowing oil) sent for reclamation must be counted to determine the accumulation time limits that apply to a person managing these filters under the alternative management standards in Article 10 of Chapter 16. For more information please view our Counting Purpose Chart.
However, drained used oil filters managed under these alternative management standards are not counted when determining generator status (i.e., to determine if a generator is a SQG or LQG) because they are not regulated as hazardous waste when sent for reclamation. This particular exemption does not extend to drained used oil filters made of other material besides metal (e.g., plastic or paper) although these filters would not be counted if it was determined they did not exhibit a characteristic of a hazardous waste in Article 3 or contained a listed hazardous waste in Article 4. All used oil filters, including those made of metal that are not drained of oil are hazardous waste and may be managed as “used oil”. Materials meeting the definition of used oil are to be counted when determining generator status (see Q – Is used oil sent for recycling counted?).
Are Spent Lead Acid Batteries Sent for Recycling Counted?
Yes, but not always. Spent lead acid batteries sent for recycling must be counted to determine (1) the accumulation time limits that apply to a person, including a generator storing batteries under the alternative management standards in Article 7 of Chapter 16, or (2) whether a person is exempt from these alternative management standards altogether (10 or less batteries in a calendar year).
However, spent lead acid batteries that are sent for recycling under these alternative management standards are not counted when determining generator status because Article 7 specifically exempts generators from the requirements pertaining to the generation and storage of a hazardous waste.
Is “Scrap Metal” Sent for Recycling Counted?
No. Hazardous wastes meeting the definition of “scrap metal” in section 66260.10 of Title 22 are not counted when sent for recycling unless specifically excluded from the definition of scrap metal (e.g., fine powders or metal contaminated with a hazardous waste). Scrap metal that is disposed of is to be counted.
Is Universal Waste Counted?
No. Effective January 1, 2016, hazardous waste generators do not count their universal wastes when determining their hazardous waste generator status. However, universal waste handlers must still count their universal wastes for purposes of Chapter 23 of Title 22.
See the Fact Sheet entitled “Universal Waste”
Is Treated Wood Waste (TWW) Counted?
Yes. TWW is regulated similarly to universal waste [see Q – Is universal waste counted?] in that Chapter 34 of Title 22 provides alternative management standards for TWW and some additional exemptions (for generators) but does not specifically exempt generators of TWW from the requirements pertaining to the generation and storage of a hazardous waste. Therefore generators must include TWW in their counts when determining their generator status. For more on other reasons to count TWW please see our Counting Purpose Chart.
Is Paint Waste Counted?
Yes, but not always. Paint waste is listed in Appendix X of Chapter 11 as a presumed hazardous waste. A generator may rebut this presumption by determining it is not through testing or knowledge, in which case the paint waste would not be counted. Any paint waste that is determined to exhibit a characteristic of a hazardous waste (for ignitibility or toxicity) or where the generator does not rebut the presumption (e.g., a business brings their paint to a collection location operating under Health and Safety Code, section 25217, et seq.) is considered a hazardous waste and needs to be counted to determine generator status. As was mentioned previously, there are many reasons to count and an additional one applies to generators of oil based paint using collection locations operating under 25217, et seq. For more information please review our Counting Purpose Chart.
Is PCB Waste Counted?
Yes, but not always. Any waste that contains or is contaminated with PCBs (i.e., PCB waste) and exceeds the regulatory threshold (≥ 5 ppm for liquids and ≥ 50 ppm for solids) is a hazardous waste and must be counted. This may include PCB contaminated electrical equipment (e.g., capacitors and transformers) and fluorescent light ballasts containing PCBs. If these wastes, among others, do not exceed the regulatory threshold limits for PCBs then they are not considered hazardous waste (although they may contain some PCBs) and therefore are not counted. In these circumstances, if it is determined the PCB waste is nonhazardous, the person managing the PCB waste should ensure it is not otherwise regulated as a hazardous waste (e.g., if the capacitor contained an oil below the regulatory threshold for PCBs, it may be “used oil” and thereby a hazardous waste).
Are “Reusable Soiled Textile Materials” Counted?
It depends. Reusable soiled textile materials, including shop towels, uniforms, gloves, linens and towels which are soiled with a listed hazardous waste, or which are identified as a characteristic hazardous waste, are counted when determining one’s generator status.
However, reusable soiled textile materials soiled with a listed hazardous waste, or which are identified as a characteristic hazardous waste, are not counted for the purposes of calculating generator fees if the material is managed following the requirements in section 25144.6 of Health and Safety Code.
For more information on the management standards that pertain to reusable soiled textile materials, including other materials soiled with hazardous waste (e.g., paper wipes), please see our Managing Textile Materials Soiled with Hazardous Waste web page.
Hazardous Waste Links
- Hazardous Waste Home
- Certified Appliance Recycler (CAR) Program
- Electronic Waste (E-Waste)
- Facilities (TSDFs)
- Hazardous Waste ID Numbers
- Hazardous Waste Manifests
- Hazardous Waste Tracking System
- Household Hazardous Waste
- Land Use Restriction Sites
- Metal Recycling
- Universal Waste
- Form 1358
- California Hazardous Waste Codes
Hazardous Waste Related Links
- Annual/Biennial Reports
- Emergency Response Program
- Export-Import Standards
- Fact Sheets & Publications
- Find a Registered Hazardous Waste Transporter
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Hazardous Waste Policies & Procedures
- Hazardous Waste Project Documents
- Kettleman Hills Landfill
- Office of Criminal Investigations
- Regulatory Assistance Office
- Report an Environmental Concern
- Retail Waste