EPA rule on handling used towels to be reviewed

May 10, 2012

May 10, 2012— A rule on waste handling requirements for reusable and disposable industrial towels will undergo review by the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

Several businesses have struggled with how to dispose of used wipes and towels, including shops that use wipes and towels to clean equipment, as well as makers of disposable towels and industrial laundries.

In April the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sent a rule to ease waste handling requirements to the OMB. The rule, called the Resource Conservation & Recovery Act, originally began as a proposal in 2003. That was the year that the disposable towel industry published a study on whether laundered wipes contain hazardous substances. Questions about the proposal led to the EPA revising the risk analysis of solvent-contaminated wipes and laundry sludge. In 2009, the EPA published a notice of data availability (NODA) to collect more information on the data used.

Because of the findings of the 2009 NODA, the EPA may end up with a final rule that requires businesses to dispose of solvent-contaminated wipes and laundry sludge in lined landfills, according to a release_notes from the Automotive Service Association.

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