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What is the EPA Wiper Rule Anyway?

Posted by John Field

thumbnailLast fall, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lifted an enormous regulatory burden from the manufacturing industry by instituting what has become known as the “wiper rule.”

Tim Wright wrote about the rule in an October 2013 article in Nonwovens Industry magazine:

“The final rule modifies the hazardous waste management regulations under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) to conditionally exclude solvent-contaminated wipes from hazardous waste regulations provided that businesses clean or dispose of them properly. It’s based on the EPA’s final risk analysis that concluded wipes contaminated with certain hazardous solvents do not pose significant risk to human health and the environment when managed properly.”

So, what does this mean for the nonwovens industry and for manufacturing in general?

  1. For the nonwovens industry, it would certainly point to a probable increased volume in sales of industrial wipes. If used, solvent-contaminated wipes do not have to be disposed of utilizing expensive hazardous waste management, then companies will be free to purchase them in bulk for the foreseeable future.
  2. For the manufacturing industry, the rule allows for manufacturers to use convenient, disposable wipes for cleaning that pose no significant risks to health or the environment. This will save not only on hazardous waste costs but also on inconvenient and sometimes costly laundering of shop towels.

How do you use industrial wipes in your business? Do you see this rule as a positive change in the industry?






Topics: General Nonwovens

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