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Waste Designation Decision Matrix - Spent or Process Waste

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 the waste a spent/used/process waste?YES NO

Spent/Used/Process Waste

A very important distinction in making your waste determination is whether or not the waste chemical has been used or not. A material that is still in its original container and has never been used for its intended purpose will not be considered hazardous under the "F" and the "K" lists of hazardous waste.

Some examples of "used" waste chemicals include:

  • A drum of spent trichloroethylene (F002) solvent used for cleaning resins out of a product.
  • A Q-tip that was dipped in acetone (F003) to clean a circuit board.
  • Emission control dust/sludge from the primary production of steel in electric furnaces (K061)
  • Tank bottoms (leaded) from the petroleum refining industry (K052)

You look to the F and K lists if the waste chemical was used. The general or nonspecific sources are on the F list. The most common are solvents such as acetone (F003). The EPA has also identified certain processes that are notorious for producing hazardous wastes. Production wastes, from those identified sources, carry K-listed codes. These waste streams are very specific and relatively rare, such as the dust from the production of steel in an electric furnace (K061).

If you have unused chemical products, refer to the P & U lists found later in the matrix.