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The Time is Right for Industrial Wipes

Last year, the industrial wiper market got the good news it had been waiting for. After 30 years of back and forth, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finally published its long-awaited wiper rule, helping to level the regulatory playing field between non-laundered wipes and rags and laundered shop towels.

The final rule modifies the hazardous waste management regulations under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) to conditionally exclude solvent-contaminated wipes from hazardous waste regulations provided that the businesses clean or dispose of them properly. It’s based on the EPA’s final risk analysis that concluded wipes contaminated with certain hazardous solvents do no pose significant risk to human health and the environment when managed properly.

To be excluded, solvent-contaminated wipes must be managed in closed labeled containers and cannot contain free liquids when sent for cleaning or disposal, the EPA says. Additionally, facilities that generate solvent-contaminated wipes must comply with certain record keeping requirements and may not accumulate wipes for longer than 180 days.