Resource Conservation and Recovery Act

Risk Management & Environment/Health/Safety

Resource Conservation and Recovery Act

In 1965, Congress recognized the problems associated with waste disposal and passed the Solid Waste Disposal Act. By the mid-1070s, it was clear that a more aggressive approach was needed. In 1976, Congress enacted the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), which authorizes the United States Environmental Protection Agency to regulate waste management and disposal practices. RCRA requires generators of hazardous waste to keep track of their hazardous waste from "cradle to grave". This means the generators of hazardous waste must record the waste production ("cradle")  and where and how it is sored or shipped. The final disposal of the waste  ("grave") must also be recorded. The records help make sure the waste is disposed of properly and not dumped illegally.

The manifest system is the key element of the recordkeeping procedures established by RCRA. The manifest system provides a documentary trail of the movement of hazardous waste as it is transported from the site where it was generated to the treatment or disposal location. Everyone involved in handling the waste, that is the generator, transporter, and disposer, must sign the manifest.

The copies are kept on file by the generator,  transporter, disposer, and by the state or federal regulatory agency. A copy, signed by all companies involved in the process, is returned to the waste generator.

It is very important that all information on the manifest be accurate since it serves as the primary record of the waste's handling after it leaves a generator's site.

Generators are also required to keep records of waste analyses, equipment inspections, and employee training. Regulations require that these records be kept on file for at least 3 years.

The original generator is responsible for assuring that every step is performed according to state and federal regulations.