Facility Regulatory Tour
Quick Reference
Recycling Image

General Description

The re-use of wastes in the development of new items.

Summary of Federal Requirements

Under EO 13693 federal agencies are required to divert at least 50 percent of non-hazardous solid waste, including food and compostable material but not construction and demolition materials and debris, annually, and pursuing opportunities for net-zero waste or additional diversion opportunities. Recycling is one of the main methods being used to meet this waste diversion goal. The White House Council on Environmental Quality issued guidance on how to calculate the diversion rate at federal facilities.

Depending on the amount of waste generated, Federal facilities are required to recycle high-grade paper, newspapers, and corrugated cardboard. Specifically, office facilities of over 100 office workers are required to recover high-grade paper and the high-grade paper must be:

  • separated out at the source of generation,
  • separately collected, and
  • sold for recycling.
Facilities at which more than 500 families reside are required to recycle newspapers and the newspapers must be:
  • separated out at the source of generation,
  • separately collected, and
  • sold for recycling.
Facilities generating 10 tons or more of waste corrugated containers per month are required to:
  • segregate/separately collect the containers for recycling or
  • use the containers as an alternative energy resource.
All items separated out for recycling must be stored so as not to cause a fire, health, or safety hazard; stored in covered or closed containers that are nonabsorbent, leakproof, durable, easily cleaned, and designed for safe handling if they contain food; and stored in containers that are of an adequate size and number to contain all waste generated between collections.

Bulky wastes (i.e. furniture, appliances, etc) separated out for recycling must be stored so as not to create a nuisance if they are bulky and to avoid the accumulation of solid waste and water in and around the bulky items.

Reusable containers used for recycling must be capable of being serviced without the collector coming into contact with the waste. Waste containers used for materials which have been separated for recycling must meet the standards established by ANSI for waste containers as follows:

  • Waste Containers--Safety Requirements, 1994, American National Standards Institute, ANSI Z245.30-1994
  • Waste Containers--Compatibility Dimensions, 1996, American National Standards Institute, ANSI Z245.60-1996.

Federal recycling regulations can be found at 40 CFR 246 . Local recycling opportunities can be found through the Freecycle Network and Earth 911. Information on locations for the recycling or donation of electronics (i.e., cell phones, computers) is also available.

Summary of State Requirements

States and/or counties may require/encourage/offer incentives for the recycling of wastes such as electronics waste, plastic, wood, scrap metal, styrofoam, beverage cans, and plant waste. The Northeast Recycling Council website provides links to state recycling organizations in the northeast.

State-by-state guidance concerning recycling can be found at ENVCAP's TSD and Recycling Facilities Resource Locator.

Laws and Statutes

The Resources Conservation and Recovery Act, Subtitle D

Back to Top  Page Top
Regulatory Sources
40 CFR 246.100 through 246.203
Source Separation for Material Recovery Guidelines

RCRA Online

State RCRA Contacts
Related Topics
Solid Waste Storage: Garbage
Last Updated: December 01, 2017