RESOURCE CONSERVATION AND RECOVERY ACT (RCRA) Introduction The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) were passed in 1976 as an amendment to the Solid Waste Disposal Act. RCRA is mainly address the issue of solid waste disposal and hazardous waste management. The program set three goals: 1. To protect human health and the environment. 2. To reduce waste and conserve energy and natural resources. 3. To reduce or eliminate the generation of hazardous waste as expeditiously as possible.

Below are the some of the issue covered under the RCRA:  hazardous waste generators and transporters  biennial reporting for hazardous waste activities  land disposal restrictions (LDR)  municipal solid waste landfill criteria  solid and hazardous waste recycling  treatment, storage, and disposal facilities  waste minimization and hazardous waste combustion  federal procurement of products that contain recycled material

Amendments were added to expand the program in 1984. The Hazardous and Solid Waste Amendments (HSWA) broadened the scope of RCRA, authorizing EPA to regulate underground storage tanks containing petroleum products or hazardous substances.

Some of the RCRA components are summarized as below: RCRA applies to: 1. Generators of the waste  Generator status is based on the amount of waste generated per calendar month, and the amount of waste accumulated onsite at any time. 2. Transporters of the waste 3. Treatment, Storage and Disposal Facilities (TSDFs)

Land Disposal Restrictions  Generally, hazardous waste cannot be disposed of on land (including underground) without prior treatment to reduce toxicity and/or mobility of its hazardous waste constituents  Wastes meeting treatment standards may be land disposed  Land disposal includes placement in or on the land, except in a corrective action management unit, including placement in a landfill, surface

impoundment, waste pile, injection well, land treatment facility, underground mine or cave, a concrete vault, or bunker intended for disposal purposes

Comparison between RCRA and Malaysian Regulation In Malaysia, the regulation that uses to manage the solid wastes and hazardous waste are Environmental Quality (Schedule Wastes) Regulations 2005. There are some differences between this regulation and RCRA, such as in table:

Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, RCRA

Environmental Quality (Schedule Wastes) Regulations 2005

The principal of Federal Law that applied The Federal Law that applied in Malaysia. in the United State. Responsibility Commerce by (DOC), Department DOE, and of Responsibility by Department of Environmental the only.

Department of the Interior (DOE) and also Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). There did not list out the categories of the There have listed out all the categories of the wastes. wastes in the First schedule of this regulation.

Need to apply permit for the treatment, No need apply permit for treatment, storage, storage, and disposal of the waste. and disposal of the waste, but before manage the wastes need to apply approval from Director-General. These Acts apply to industrial and firm, it Applied in the industrial waste and firm only. also applies to residential wastes. Did not use in residential wastes.

The compound and offences can divide There have a general compound and offences into three categories that are civil to whose did not comply this regulation, that is

penalties, criminal penalties, and also not exceeded RM2000 which mention in the citizen s suits. sub-regulation 1.

There have prepared the corrective action It did not have the corrective action but it have to manage the hazardous wastes that conduct training about how to manage the have released. It can protect the human wastes to all the employees. health and environment. Encourage recycling to reduce the volume Did not mention about recycling. of wastes. There have some types of recycling such as reclaimed the wastes, burn the wastes into energy recovery, and etc.

From the above comparison, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act more stringent than the Environmental Quality (Schedule Wastes) Regulations 2005 in Malaysia. This is because RCRA use the concept of cradle to grave which it managed the hazardous and non-hazardous waste from their point of generation, transport, treatment, and their disposal and besides that it has required some recycling activity. On the other hand, the compound and offences in the RCRA is stricter than Malaysian Regulation. For instance,  Civil penalties range up to $25,000 per violation per day.  Criminal conviction for "knowing" violations includes a potential $50,000 penalty per violation per day, plus up to two or in some cases, five years in jail.  The penalty doubles for repeat offenders.  "Knowing endangerment", or the placing of a person at risk of death or serious injury by an unlawful hazardous waste activity, may result in a $250,000 fine for individuals and imprisonment for up to fifteen years.  Organizations may be fined up to $1,000,000. Moreover, it required permit to manage the waste whereas Malaysia only need to apply approval from Director-General. Apply for permit need more time to wait the permit process.

Comprehensiveness of the act Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) The RCRA put a greater emphasis on resource conservation where it is prioritize to reduce and increase the efficient and sustainable use of resources while the resource conservation is considered as a secondary objective. It s more comprehensive through its cradle to grave life cycle approach in managing the chemical risk of the solid and hazardous waste. Besides it encourage recycling practice as the efficient use and reuse of materials could be a key to a more sustainable economic system. It focused on moving toward a broader materials management program, away from current typical waste only focus. Environmental Quality (Schedule Wastes) Regulations 2005 This regulation is comprehensive only on waste management which regulate the storage, transport, treatment and disposal of hazardous wastes. For instance;  Scheduled wastes must be rendered innocuous before it can be disposed.  Generation of scheduled wastes shall be reduced using the best practicable means;  Waste generators to notify the DOE of any scheduled wastes generated and keep up-to-date inventory of scheduled wastes generated, treated and disposed.  Scheduled wastes may be stored, recovered and treated within the premises of a waste generator.  Land farming, incineration, disposal, off-site recovery, off-site storage and offsite treatment shall only be carried out at prescribed premises licensed by the DOE. However, this regulation does not promote recycling to reduce the volume of wastes as being encouraged by the RCRA such as reclamation of the wastes, and burning the wastes into energy recovery.


1. Legal Research Board. (2009). Environmental Quality Act 1974 (Act127), Regulation, Rules And Orders. International Law Book Services. 2. 3. ppt 4. e/Miscellaneous/RCRA%20Program%20summary.pdf 5.

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