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Recycling: Am I Regulated?

Storage limits, and recordkeeping and reporting requirements for Texas operations that recycle materials diverted from municipal solid waste streams.

Overview of Requirements for Recycling Materials from Municipal Sources

Recycling Source-Separated Materials from Municipal Sources

If you receive, process, and return to use only nonputrescible, source-separated recyclable materials diverted from a municipal solid waste stream, your recycling facility will be exempt from permitting and registration requirements provided you comply with general requirements and with certain storage, recordkeeping, and reporting requirements. Examples of common source-separated recyclable materials include cardboard, paper, glass, plastic, aluminum, and metals that are separated from the solid waste stream at the point of generation.

Recycling Materials Recovered from a Municipal Solid Waste Stream

Facilities that separate recyclable materials from a municipal solid waste stream must be permitted or registered as a municipal solid waste processing facility in accordance with 30 TAC Chapter 330, Section 330.7 Exit the TCEQ or 330.9 Exit the TCEQ.

Recycling Source-Separated Materials from Industrial Sources

A recycling facility that manages materials diverted from a municipal solid waste stream may also manage source-separated nonhazardous recyclable materials from industrial sources, provided it complies with additional reporting requirements for nonhazardous industrial materials.

Electronic Equipment

If you want to recycle discarded electronic equipment, please see our additional information about recycling computers, televisions, and other electronics.

Combustible Materials

If your recycling operation involves storing combustible material outdoors or poses a significant risk to public health and safety, you may be required to establish financial assurance.

If your recycling facility is located in Bexar County, and will store combustible material for producing mulch or compost, please be aware of additional requirements detailed 30 TAC 328.4(g).

Incidental Waste

Recycling facilities must limit nonrecyclable waste to “incidental amounts” (no more than 10 percent per incoming load, and no more than 5 percent of all materials received by a facility in a 6-month period) to continue to qualify for exemption from solid waste permit and registration requirements. However, 30 TAC Chapter 328, 328.2(2) Exit the TCEQ allows certain nonrecyclable materials to be accepted without counting toward these limits, including nonrecyclable components of manufactured products, such as automobiles, appliances, or other items that require dismantling, grinding, or some other process that is not practical at the point of generation to separate recyclable and nonrecyclable materials; source-separated recyclable material that has been broken or damaged during collection, unloading, and sorting, and is no longer recyclable, such as broken glass from a public collection program; “tramp materials” that commonly accompany recyclable materials, such as glass from recyclable metal windows, nails and roofing felt attached to recyclable shingles, nails and sheetrock attached to recyclable lumber from a demolition site; and pallets and packaging materials.

Recycling Rules

General Requirements for All Facilities, Including Exempt Facilities

Under 30 TAC 330.11(e) Exit the TCEQ, a facility that is used as a collection and processing point for only nonputrescible source-separated recyclable material is exempt from municipal solid waste permitting and registration requirements. Facilities that are owned or operated by a government or government agency or which meet the terms of certain exclusions in 30 TAC 328.4(a) Exit the TCEQ and 328.5(a) Exit the TCEQ are also exempt from municipal solid waste permitting and registration requirements. All recycling facilities, including exempt facilities must comply with the general requirements.

  • Rule identifying general requirements for all recycling facilities – 30 TAC 328.3 Exit the TCEQ

Storage, Reporting, and Recordkeeping Requirements for Non-Exempt Facilities

Facilities that are not exempt must comply with the general requirements for all facilities, and with the following requirements regarding storage, reporting, and recordkeeping.

Storage

  • Rules regarding limitations on storage of recyclable materials – 30 TAC 328.4 Exit the TCEQ

Highlights of the rule:

  • Only source separated, nonputrescible recyclable materials may be accumulated or stored
  • Incoming material being processed or sorted into marketable fractions must be shipped out on a schedule that prevents accumulation on site over an extended period of time
  • Nonrecyclable and nonmarketable materials must be disposed of properly
  • 25 percent of materials accumulated or stored 90 days from commencement of facility operation must be recycled or transferred to a different site for recycling, within 270 days from commencement of operation
  • During any subsequent six-month period, at least 50 percent of materials accumulated or stored within that period must have been recycled or transferred to a different site for recycling

Reporting

The reporting requirements include:

  • Submitting notification of intent
  • Establishing a fire prevention and suppression plan, if managing combustible materials
    (The fire prevention and suppression plan must be made available to the local fire prevention authority having jurisdiction over the facility, for review and coordination.)
  • Establishing financial assurance, if storing combustible materials outdoors

Recordkeeping

Owners and operators of recycling facilities that are not exempt must keep records and make them available upon request to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality or to local governments with territorial or extra-territorial jurisdiction over the property on which the facility is located.

Recordkeeping requirements include maintaining records of the amounts of material recycled or transferred, and amounts of incidental waste. Example recordkeeping forms.

Additional Reporting Requirements for Nonhazardous Materials from Industrial Sources

If you recycle source-separated nonhazardous recyclable materials from industrial sources, read the information in this guidance document:

and complete the applicable forms for recycling hazardous or industrial waste.

Facilities that manage recyclable hazardous material from industrial sources must also comply with applicable industrial solid waste and municipal hazardous waste requirements.

Recycling Electronic Equipment

If you want to recycle discarded electronic equipment, please see our additional information about recycling computers, televisions, and other electronics.

Financial Assurance Requirements for Recycling Facilities

If you store combustible material outdoors or your operation poses a significant risk to public health and safety, you are required by 30 TAC 328.5(d) Exit the TCEQ to establish financial assurance unless your facility is excluded by 328.5(a) Exit the TCEQ. The following documents provide additional information:

If your recycling facility is located in Bexar County, and will store combustible material for producing mulch or compost, additional requirements in 30 TAC 328.4(g) also apply.

Forms for Recycling Facilities

Forms for Notifying of Intent

  • Notice of Intent (NOI) to Operate a Recycling Facility
    • Submit Notice of Intent (NOI) to Operate a Recycling Facility online using e-Permits/Registration option in State of Texas Environmental Electronic Reporting System (STEERS)
      • STEERS Login Page
        (Applicants will need to create a STEERS account to complete the form online. For questions regarding the creation of a STEERS account, please contact the STEERS Program Area at 512-239-6925 or steers@tceq.texas.gov.)
    • Submit Notice of Intent (NOI) to Operate a Recycling Facility on paper forms by mail

Forms for Recycling Hazardous or Industrial Waste

Forms for Recordkeeping

For More Information

Contact the MSW Permits Section if you have questions about recycling materials from the municipal solid waste stream.