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“Waste” and the Proper Shipping Name for Shipments of Hazardous Waste

“Waste” and the Proper Shipping Name for Shipments of Hazardous Waste

One of the things I enjoy about providing training to so many people are the questions I receive from participants that force me to think more deeply about the regulations than I would otherwise.  For example, at my training event in Piscataway, NJ I was asked where in the regulations is the requirement to add the word “waste” to the beginning of the proper shipping name when offering a hazardous waste for shipment.  I had never thought deeply about the matter or researched it enough to find the requirement in the regulations.  The answer, though, was quite easily found and understood.  49 CFR 172.101 explains the purpose and use of the Hazardous Materials Table.  172.101(c) allows for the modification of a proper shipping name as required or authorized.  And 172.101(c)(9) reads, “If the word ‘waste’ is not included in the hazardous material description in Column 2 of the Table, the proper shipping name for a hazardous waste (as defined in §171.8 of this subchapter), shall include the word ‘Waste’ preceding the proper shipping name of the material. For example: Waste acetone.”

hazardous waste containersSo, if a waste meets the DOT definition of a hazardous waste – that is, the US EPA requires the use of a hazardous waste manifest – then the word “waste” must precede the proper shipping name wherever it is used to comply with the Hazardous Materials Regulations.

A proper shipping name modified in this way will appear in two forms of hazardous material communication:  (1) the Uniform Hazardous Waste Manifest (Manifest) and (2) on the container itself as a marking.

  • Referring to the manifest, 49 CFR 172.205(i) reads, “The shipping description for a hazardous waste must be modified as required by §172.101(c)(9).”  So, for the purpose of completing the manifest it refers one back to the requirement to place the word “waste” prior to the proper shipping name in 49 CFR 172.101(c)(9).
  • Regarding the marking requirement for the container, 49 CFR 172.301(a)(2) reads, “The proper shipping name for a hazardous waste (as defined in §171.8 of this subchapter) is not required to include the word ‘waste’ if the package bears the EPA marking prescribed by 40 CFR 262.32.”  In other words, as long as one meets the EPA requirements for marking a hazardous waste container for shipment – typically by using a pre-printed hazardous waste label – the word “waste” may be dropped from the proper shipping name marking on the container.  If no such label is used, then the word “waste” must precede the proper shipping name.

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Every time I research the answer to a question in this way my understanding of the regulations grows.  I look forward to my next training event and the questions I will face there.