Skip to Content
Questions or Comments:

Waste Designation Decision Matrix - Reactivity Determination

This is the waste designation decision matrix provided by the Small Business and Local Government Assistance Program to aid businesses in deciding how certain wastes must be handled.

This matrix is provided as an assistance tool. It cannot be used as a substitute for following applicable city, state, and federal laws.

Is your waste reactive?YES NO

Reactive Wastes

The basic concept of reactivity is that the material is so unstable or reacts under normal environmental conditions in such a way that the result is a threat to human health and the environment. A material is defined as being hazardous due to the characteristic of reactivity if it:

  1. is a cyanide or sulfide bearing waste which, if exposed to pH conditions between 2 and 12.5, can generate toxic gases, vapors, or fumes in quantities sufficient to present a danger to human health or the environment;
  2. reacts violently with water, it forms potentially explosive mixtures with water, or when mixed with water, it generates toxic gases, vapors or fumes in a quantity sufficient to present a danger to human health or the environment;
  3. is capable of detonation or explosive reaction if subjected to an initiating source or if heated under confinement, it is readily capable of detonation or explosive decomposition or reaction at standard temperature or pressure, it is a forbidden explosive as defined by the Department of Transportation (Class A or B) per 49 CFR 173.53 or 173.54 .
  4. is normally unstable and readily undergoes violent change without detonating.

This waste designation is particularly complicated. It is reserved for specifically dangerous wastes and is relatively uncommon. Wastes that exhibit the characteristic of reactivity are assigned an EPA waste code of D003.