Recycling Laws By State

Why Are Recycling Laws Differ In Some States?

All of the following is from the EPA website.

State Adoption

Like in most federal environmental legislation, EPA encourages states to develop and run their own hazardous waste programs as an alternative to direct EPA management. State adoption of the universal waste rules is optional because the rules are less stringent than the previous requirements under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). States can create different standards (except for batteries due to the Battery Act), but they have to be equivalent to the federal regulations (i.e., they must provide equivalent protection, cannot regulate fewer handlers, etc.).

States may adopt an entire rule or certain provisions of a rule, which are:

  • General provisions,
  • Provisions for batteries, pesticides, mercury-containing equipment, and lamps (states do not have to include all of them), and
  • Provisions allowing the addition of new universal wastes in state.

The universal waste rules went into effect immediately in states and territories that are not RCRA-authorized including Iowa, Alaska, and Puerto Rico. State adoption of the 1995 universal wastes rule as well as subsequent federal universal wastes (e.g., lamps, mercury-containing equipment) are strongly encouraged.

State Additions

Additionally, U.S. states authorized for the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) petition process may add additional universal wastes to the state’s universal waste program. In order for a state to add waste to the universal waste program:

  • the waste must be generated by a wide variety of generators,
  • the waste cannot be exclusive to a specific industry and
  • the waste must be hazardous.

Also, the state must have a collection system in place and ensure that the universal waste program will increase the likelihood that the waste will be recycled. Keep in mind that state universal waste is only regulated as universal waste in that state and other states that have the same waste added to their universal waste programs.

Below is a table with columns showing the name of each U.S. state, a link to each state’s universal waste regulations (where possible), if the state adopted the 1995 universal waste final rule, and if the state is authorized for that rule.

State Environmental Program

State Universal Waste Regulations

If Adopted the Rule

If Authorized for the Rule

Alabama

Alabama Department of Environmental Management (DEM)

Alabama DEM Waste/Remediation Programs

Regulations (PDF) (1,059 pp, 3.7MB)YesYes

Alaska

(uses Federal regulations)

Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation

Administered by EPA Region 10

Arizona

Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ)

Arizona DEQ Waste Programs Division

Regulations
R18-8-273
YesYes

Arkansas

Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ)

Arkansas DEQ Hazardous Waste Division

Arkansas DEQ Solid Waste Management Division

Arkansas DEQ Regulated Storage Tanks Division

Regulations
Reg 23, Section 273
YesYes

California

California Environmental Protection Agency

California Department of Toxic Substances Control

California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle)

California Department of Public Health, Medical Waste Management Program

Regulations
Chapter 23
YesNo

Colorado

Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE)

CDPHE Hazardous Materials and Waste Management

Regulations (PDF)
(6 pp, 58K)
YesYes

Connecticut

Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)

Connecticut DEP Hazardous Waste

Connecticut DEP Reduce, Reuse, Recycle website

Connecticut DEP Pollution Prevention website

Connecticut DEP Underground Storage Tank Program

Regulations
Section 22a-449(c)-113 (PDF)

(131 pp, 531K)
Incorporated by reference and has modifications
YesYes

State Environmental Program

State Universal Waste Regulations

If Adopted the Rule

If Authorized for the Rule

Delaware

Delaware Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Control (DNREC)

Delaware DNREC Division of Waste and Hazardous Substances

Delaware DNREC Solid and Hazardous Waste website

Delaware DNREC Underground Storage Tank Compliance Program

Regulations (PDF)
(19 pp, 83K)
YesYes

District of Columbia

District of Columbia Department of the Environment

YesYes

Florida

Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)

Florida DEP Waste Management

Florida DEP Bureau of Solid and Hazardous Waste

Florida DEP Bureau of Petroleum Storage Systems

Florida Department of Health – Biomedical Waste

62-730.185
Regulations (PDF)
(28 pp, 138K)
YesYes

Georgia

Georgia Department of Community Affairs – Environmental Management

Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR)

Georgia DNR Environmental Protection Division

391-3-11.18
Regulations (PDF)
(13 pp, 44K)
uses Federal Rule
YesYes

Hawaii

Hawaii Department of Health

Hawaii Department of Health Solid and Hazardous Waste Branch

Regulations (PDF)
(29 pp, 156K)
YesYes

Idaho

Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ)

Idaho DEQ Waste Management and Remediation

58.01.05-016
uses Federal Rule
YesYes

Illinois

Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Illinois EPA Waste Management for Businesses website

Illinois EPA Waste Management for Local Governments website

Regulations (PDF)
(42 pp, 144K)
YesNo

State Environmental Program

State’s
Universal Waste Regulations

If Adopted the Rule

If Authorized for the Rule

Indiana

Indiana Department of Environmental Management

Regulations
[See also 329 IAC 3.1-16-1in Article 3.1 (PDF) (6 pp, 45K)]
YesYes

Iowa

(uses Federal regulations)

Iowa Department of Natural Resources Waste Management

Administered by EPA Region 7

Kansas

Kansas Department of Health and Environment (DHE)

Kansad DHE Division of the Environment

Kansas DHE Bureau of Waste Management

Kansas DHE Storage Tank Section

28-31-15
Regulations (PDF)
(19 pp, 83K)
YesNo

Kentucky

Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection

Kentucky Division of Waste Management

Regulations
Guidance (PDF)
(12 pp, 251K)
YesNo

Louisiana

Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ)

Louisiana DEQ Reduce, Reuse, Recycle website

Louisiana DEQ Land Program

Regulations (PDF)
(705 pp, 5.6MB)
YesYes

Maine

Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)

Maine DEP Hazardous Waste and Universal Waste website

Maine DEP Solid Waste Management

YesYes

Maryland

Maryland Department of the Environment

Maryland Department of the Environment Land Programs

Regulations
COMAR 26.13.10.06 – 26.13.10.25
YesYes

State Environmental Program

State’s
Universal Waste Regulations

If Adopted the Rule

If Authorized for the Rule

Massachusetts

Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)

Massachusetts DEP Waste and Recycling website

Massachusetts DEP Hazardous Waste Management website

Regulations (PDF) (429 pp, 2.2MB)
30.1000
YesYes

Michigan

Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ)

Michigan DEQ Waste website

R 299.9228
Regulations (PDF)
(272 pp, 943K)
YesYes

Minnesota

Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (PCA)

Minnesota PCA Waste website

Regulations
Minn.R.7045.1400
YesYes

Mississippi

Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality

YesYes

Missouri

Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR)

Missouri DNR Hazardous Waste Program

Missouri DNR Solid Waste Management Program

Regulations (PDF)
(5 pp, 23K)
YesNo

Montana

Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ)

Montana DEQ Recycling and Waste Reduction website

Montana DEQ Hazardous Waste Program

Regulations (PDF)
(3 pp, 23K)
YesYes

Nebraska

Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ)

Nebraska DEQ Land and Waste Programs

Ch. 25, Title 128
Nebraska Hazardous Waste pages
YesYes

State Environmental Program

State’s
Universal Waste Regulations

If Adopted the Rule

If Authorized for the Rule

Nevada

Nevada Division of Environmental Protection (DEP)

Nevada DEP Bureau of Waste Management

YesYes

New Hampshire

New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (DES)

New Hampshire DES Pollution Prevention website

New Hampshire DES Hazardous Waste Management website

New Hampshire DES Household Hazardous Waste website

RegulationsYesYes

New Jersey

New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)

New Jersey DEP Solid and Hazardous Waste Management Program

Regulations (PDF)
(108 pp, 611K)
Guidance
YesNo

New Mexico

New Mexico Environment Department

Regulations
20.4.1.1000
Using Federal Rule
YesYes

New York

New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)

New York DEC Waste Management website

New York DEC Recycling and Composting website

RegulationsYesYes

North Carolina

North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)

North Carolina DENR Environmental Assistance and Outreach

Regulations – scroll down to universal waste managementYesYes

North Dakota

North Dakota Department of Health

North Dakota Department of Health Division of Waste Management

Regulations (PDF)
(966 pp, 4.2MB)
33-24-05-701
similar to Federal Rule
YesYes

State Environmental Program

State’s
Universal Waste Regulations

If Adopted the Rule

If Authorized for the Rule

Ohio

Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Ohio EPA Division of Materials and Waste Management

3745-273-01
Regulations
YesYes

Oklahoma

Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ)

Oklahoma DEQ Land Protection Division

252:205-3-2
Regulations (PDF)
(19 pp, 87K)
Using Federal Rule
YesYes

Oregon

Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ)

Oregon DEQ Land Quality website

Oregon DEQ Hazardous Waste website

Oregon DEQ Solid Waste website

Oregon DEQ Tanks website

RegulationsYesYes

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)

Pennsylvania DEP Waste Programs website for Businesses

Pennsylvania DEP Recycling and Disposal website for Citizens

Pennsylvania DEP Storage Tanks website for Businesses

RegulationsYesYes

Rhode Island

Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM)

Rhode Island DEM Office of Waste Management

Rhode Island DEM Pollution Prevention Program

Fact Sheet (PDF)
(7 pp, 23K)
YesYes

South Carolina

South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC)

South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control – Environment

South Carolina DHEC Land and Waste Management

South Carolina DHEC Underground Storage Tanks website

Regulations (PDF) (14 pp, 135K)YesYes

South Dakota

South Dakota Department of the Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)

South Dakota DENR Hazardous Waste Program

South Dakota DENR Solid Waste Program

South Dakota DENR Reduce, Reuse, Recycle website

Regulations (Word)
Chapter 74:28:33
uses Federal Rule
YesYes

State Environmental Program

State’s
Universal Waste Regulations

If Adopted the Rule

If Authorized for the Rule

Tennessee

Tennessee Department of Environment & Conservation

Tennessee Department of Environment & Conservation Hazardous Waste Management website

Regulations (PDF)
(28 pp, 106K)
YesYes

Texas

Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (CEQ)

Texas CEQ Waste Index

Texas CEQ Recycling Index

YesYes

Utah

Utah Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ)

Utah DEQ Division of Waste Management and Radiation Control

RegulationsYesYes

Vermont

Vermont Agency of Natural Resources (ANR)

Vermont ANR Waste Management Division

Regulations (PDF)
(20 pp, 44K)
YesYes

Virginia

Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ)

Virginia DEQ Recycling and Litter Prevention website

Virginia DEQ Land Protection & Revitalization website

YesYes

Washington

Read more about our Washington recycling program here.

Washington Department of Ecology

Washington Department of Ecology Hazardous Waste & Toxics Reduction

Washington Department of Ecology Waste website

Washington Department of Ecology Waste 2 Resources website

Regulations
173-303-573
YesYes

West Virginia

West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)

West Virginia DEP Water and Waste website

West Virginia DEP Pollution Prevention and Open Dump Program

uses Federal RuleYesYes

Wisconsin

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR)

Wisconsin DNR Managing Waste and Materials website

Regulations (PDF)
(10 pp, 82K)
YesYes

Wyoming

Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ)

Wyoming DEQ Solid and Hazardous Waste Division

Uses Federal RuleYesYes

Notes about this table:

  • Adoptions/authorization status listed was last updated on June 7, 2006.
  • The linked regulations may not be the most current.
  • States do not have to include all of the federal universal wastes when the states adopt the rule. For example, Maine and Washington did not include pesticides and North Dakota did not include thermostats. The table below contains more detail about which states have adopted which universal wastes.

Universal Wastes in Each State and State Additions

The universal waste regulations can vary between states and states can add different types of wastes. Below is a table with columns showing the name of each U.S. state, the four types of federal universal wastes, additional universal wastes the state has added to its program, and the regulatory citation for the state’s universal waste program. An “X” marked in the columns Batteries, Pesticides, Mercury-Containing Equipment or Lamps indicates that the state universal waste program includes that federal universal waste.

StateBatteriesPesticidesMercury- Containing EquipmentLampsState AdditionsRegulatory Citation
AlabamaXXXXDIVISION 14 335-14-11
Alaska (uses Federal regulations)XXXX
ArizonaXXXXR18-8-273
ArkansasXXXXconsumer electronic items; cathode ray tubes (CRTs) and other electronic wastes (excludes broken and crushed lamps/debris)Regulation 23
CaliforniaXXthermostats; waste cathode ray tube materialsR-97-08
ColoradoXaerosol cans; electronic devices and electronic components
ConnecticutXXXthermostats; lamps; used electronics22a-449(c)-100 through 119
StateBatteriesPesticidesMercury Containing EquipmentLampsState AdditionsRegulatory Citation
DelawareXXXX
District of ColumbiaXXXX
FloridaXXXXuniversal pharmaceutical waste62-730.185
GeorgiaXXXX391-3-11-.18
HawaiiXXthermostats11-273
IdahoXXXX58.01.05.016
IllinoisXXXXPart 733
StateBatteriesPesticidesMercury Containing EquipmentLampsState AdditionsRegulatory Citation
IndianaXXXdiscarded mercury-containing thermostats; lamps-prohibition against intentionally breaking or crushing
Iowa (uses Federal regulations)XXXX
KansasXXXX
KentuckyXXXXChapter 43.10
LouisianaXXXXelectronics; antifreezeTitle 33 Part V Chaper 38
MaineXXcathode ray tubes; mercury thermostats; motor vehicle mercury switches; totally enclosed, non leaking polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) ballast
MarylandXXXXfluorescent light ballasts that contain polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)
StateBatteriesPesticidesMercury Containing EquipmentLampsState AdditionsRegulatory Citation
MassachusettsXXXmercury-containing devices310 CMR 30.000
MichiganXXXXantifreeze; consumer electronics; electric lamps; devices containing elemental mercury (including thermostats, switches, thermometers, manometers, barometers, anti-locking braking systems (ABS), gas flow regulators, hydrometers, blood pressure cuffs and various medical devices, etc); pharmaceuticals, including drugs for both human and veterinary use
MinnesotaXXXX
MississippiXXXXHW-1
MissouriXBatteries10 CSR 25-16.273
MontanaXXXXrequirements for treatment of electric lampsARM 17.53 SubChapter 13
NebraskaXXXXelectronic itemsChapter 25 of Title 128
StateBatteriesPesticidesMercury Containing EquipmentLampsState AdditionsRegulatory Citation
Nevada
New HampshireXXXXcathode ray tubes; waste antifreezeEnv-Hw 1100
New JerseyXXXXoil-based finishes; consumer electronicsN.J.A.C. 7:26 Subchapter 1
New Mexico20.4.1.1001
New YorkXXXthermostats§374-3.1
North CarolinaXXXX13A .0119
North Dakota
StateBatteriesPesticidesMercury Containing EquipmentLampsState AdditionsRegulatory Citation
OhioXXXXOAC 3745 Chapter 273
OklahomaXXXX252:205
OregonXXXX340-113-0000
PennsylvaniaXXXXoil-based finishesCHAPTER 266b
Rhode IslandXXXXthermostats; cathode ray tubesDEM OWM-HW01-07
South Carolina
South Dakota74:28:33:01
StateBatteriesPesticidesMercury Containing EquipmentLampsState AdditionsRegulatory Citation
TennesseeXXXX1200-01-11-.12
TexasXXXXmercury-containing equipment, including thermostats; paint and paint-related wasteTitle 30 Part1 Chapter 335 Sub Chapter H, 5§335.261
UtahXXXthermostatsR315-16
VermontXXXXthermostats; PCB-containing fluorescent light ballasts; cathode ray tubesSUBCHAPTER 9
VirginiaXXXXUniversal waste lamps may be crushed or intentionally broken on the site of generation to reduce their volume; however, breaking, crushing, handling, and storage must occur in a safe and controlled manner that minimizes the release of mercury to the workplace and the environment and must comply with 29 CFR 1910.1000.9VAC20-60-273.
WashingtonXXXWAC 173-303-573
West VirginiaXXXX§33-20-13
WisconsinXXXthermostatsNR 673
WyomingXXXXCh. 14