Ohio EPA Adopts New Universal Waste Rules

Ohio EPA has adopted new Ohio-specific Universal Waste Rules, adding three new types of universal waste to the existing rules. The new rules allow hazardous non-empty aerosol containers, hazardous paint and paint-related wastes, and hazardous antifreeze to be classified and managed as universal waste under OAC Chapter 3745-273. The new rules became effective on December 21, 2017.
Aerosol Containers

“Aerosol container” is defined as a non-opening, non-refillable container that holds a substance under pressure and that can release the substance as a spray, gel, or foam by means of a propellant gas. Aerosol containers may be hazardous due to the contents, propellant, or both.
Under the new rules, handlers of universal waste aerosol containers must comply with a specific set of waste management standards, which include provisions for handling containers in a manner that does not pose a threat to human health or pose a risk of fire or explosion. Leaking containers must be immediately emptied or individually over-packed in a container with absorbent, and ignitable waste must be stored at least 50 feet from the property line and protected from sources of ignition.
The new rules also provide the option for handlers to collect aerosol containers in a satellite accumulation area either in a container with a capacity that does not exceed 55 gallons, or a designated cabinet.

Handlers may puncture or crush aerosol containers if using appropriate equipment in a ventilated area protected from an ignition source. The collected material must be evaluated to determine if it is a hazardous waste, unless it is paint, which may be managed as universal waste paint.

Paint and Paint-Related Waste

Paint includes waste powder and liquid coatings, which are typically hazardous due to metal content or ignitability. Paint-related waste includes materials contaminated with paint, which are typically hazardous due to metal content, ignitability, characteristic and listed solvents. Examples of paint-related wastes include cleanup solvents, rags, and PPE.

Under the new rules, paint containers up to 5 gallons may be punctured and crushed to reclaim the waste paint or paint-related waste. Paint can be reclaimed by any handler, however paint-related waste may only be reclaimed by the generator of the waste or a permitted hazardous waste facility. Reclamation equipment must have sufficient processing capacity and be operated and maintained by trained personnel. Waste generated from reclamation is not a universal waste and must be evaluated to determine if it is a hazardous waste.


The definition of antifreeze includes propylene glycol or ethylene glycol used as a heat transfer medium in an internal combustion engine; heating, ventilating, and air conditioning units; electronics cooling applications; or used for winterizing equipment. Antifreeze is often hazardous due to cross contamination with chemicals such as benzene, heavy metals, and characteristic and listed solvents.

Antifreeze can be reclaimed if the reclamation equipment has sufficient processing capacity and is operated and maintained by trained personnel. Waste generated from reclamation must be evaluated to determine if it is a hazardous waste.

The new rules require that handlers of universal waste antifreeze develop and maintain a procedure that describes how antifreeze will be prevented from being comingled with other waste. Antifreeze mixed with oil must be managed as used oil.

General Requirements

All universal wastes must be managed in containers or tanks that are structurally sound and compatible with the contents. Containers must be closed except when adding or removing waste and labeled with words that identify the contents. Universal waste may be accumulated for up to one year from the date it was first generated.


Universal waste rules give both large and small quantity universal waste handlers the option to avoid more complex hazardous waste requirements. Universal wastes do not count toward a generator’s monthly hazardous waste accumulation rate, and they are not required to be reported on the generator’s biennial hazardous waste report.
Universal waste handlers are not required to manifest off-site shipments of universal waste or use a hazardous waste transporter. However, handlers must only ship to and ensure delivery to another universal waste handler or a permitted destination facility.
Ohio-specific universal waste may be managed as universal waste within the state of Ohio. Wastes that are transported to or through another state must be managed under that state’s requirements.
If you have questions, contact Katie Milk at (330) 689-1106.
by Katie Milk, Scientist III