Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)

Definition - What does Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) mean?

The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) is the USA’s primary law that governs the ways of disposal of solid and hazardous waste. This law was passed by Congress on 21st October 1976 to address the issues of disposal practices of solid and hazardous waste materials. The objectives of this act were to:

  • Conserve conventional natural resources.
  • Protect environment and human health from hazardous waste disposal practices.
  • Reduce the amount of waste being generated.
  • Waste management in environment friendly manner.

Petropedia explains Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)

In order to achieve the objectives, RCRA established three distinct interrelated programs. They are as follows:

  • The Solid Waste Program – This program lies under RCRA subtitle D. This program focuses on:
    • Management of non-hazardous industrial and municipal solid waste.
    • Encouraging solid waste landfills and disposal in specially made facilities and discouraging open dumping
  • The Hazardous Waste Program – This program lies under RCRA subtitle C. RCRA calls this type of waste management as “Cradle to Grave” which means management of hazardous waste from the time it’s being generated till its safe disposal.
  • Underground Storage Tanks Program – This program lies under RCRA subtitle I and talks about ways to dispose of hazardous waste and petroleum waste underground at safe depths.

Compliance and Enforcement by RCRA are as follows:

  • RCRA Compliance Monitoring in which RCRA personnel carry out investigations and inspections in industries.
  • Chemical waste and Cleanup Enforcement
  • RCRA Cleanup Enforcement

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