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Hazardous Waste

Hazardous Wastes are solid wastes that are inherently dangerous to handle or dispose. They include chemicals such as solvents, mercury in thermometers, and lead in paint. The Division of Waste and Hazardous Substances regulates transporters, businesses and industry so that hazardous wastes are managed properly and cleaned up in the event of a spill or release.

The Division regulates hazardous waste, not hazardous products or materials. If the substance is not considered to be a “waste,” then it is not governed by the State’s hazardous waste laws and regulations. Non-waste items include substances that are considered raw materials or products that can be used commercially. Regulations pertaining to “extremely hazardous substances” are implemented by the Emergency Response and Strategic Services Section.

Large-quantity generators of hazardous waste — those generating greater than 1,000 kilograms (2,200 pounds) of hazardous waste or 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) of acutely hazardous waste in any single calendar month — must file an annual hazardous waste report.

What Are Hazardous Wastes?

Hazardous wastes can be any solid, liquid, or containerized gas that you can no longer use, and either choose to throw away, recycle or store. A waste is considered hazardous if it is listed or identified as exhibiting a characteristic.

A listed waste is one which is identified on one of four lists contained in Delaware’s Regulations Governing Hazardous Waste (7 DE Admin. Code 1302). These wastes are listed because they have characteristics or toxic constituents shown to be harmful.

Even if a waste does not appear on a list, it may still be hazardous because it has one of the following characteristics:

It is ignitable. These wastes are combustible or flammable. Examples are paint wastes, degreasers and solvents.

It is corrosive. These wastes can dissolve metal or burn skin. Examples are rust removers, acid or alkaline cleaners.

It is reactive. These wastes undergo rapid chemical reactions when mixed with water or other materials. Examples include cyanide plating wastes, bleaches and oxidizers.

It is toxic. These wastes contain high concentrations of certain metals or volatile chemicals. Toxic wastes are determined through a laboratory test. Examples include pesticides, metals such as lead, cadmium, or chromium wastes.

Hazardous Waste Fact Sheets