The Latest in CPG Regulations: August 2023
Recent regulatory changes, specifically the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) guidance for hand sanitizers and the new hazardous waste regulations in California, are sparking changes across the industry. Here are a few key takeaways and guidance on how to chart these regulatory waters.
It's important to stay vigilant in understanding and complying with these regulatory changes. But remember -- we're here to chart these waters with you and for you. Reach out to our team at any time with questions at email@example.com
Understanding RCRA and Hand Sanitizers
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has revised its stance on the RCRA industrial ethyl alcohol exemption as it relates to alcohol-based hand sanitizers. The previous interpretation treated unused alcohol-based hand sanitizer as regulated hazardous waste but this is now likely to change, with the EPA allowing generators of unused alcohol-based hand sanitizer to consider energy recovery as a disposal path.
- In the wake of possible changes, retailers should confirm their disposal practices comply with TTB and EPA regulations. The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) regulations apply to recycling of industrial ethyl alcohol. Therefore, retailers should make sure their disposal partners abide by these rules. If unused alcohol-based hand sanitizer is being recycled then the generator must comply with the RCRA legitimacy factors in 40 CFR 260.43.
- For suppliers, make sure to evaluate your disposal process. Unless you are managing unused alcohol-based hand sanitizer as RCRA regulated hazardous waste, the material must be treated as a valuable commodity when it is under your control. Additionally, you should ensure that your waste hauler understands whether the material is hazardous waste or intended for reclamation. The latest EPA interpretation, published May 5 2023, allows generators of unused alcohol-based hand sanitizer to consider energy recovery. Reclaimed ethanol can be used as a fuel or fuel additive and can be burned for energy recovery within the U.S., as long as all applicable TTB regulations and RCRA legitimacy factors are complied with throughout the reclamation process.
Navigating California’s New Hazardous Waste Regulations
In response to California Senate Bill 158, the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) will now be developing new Hazardous Waste Management Reports and Plans every three years. The bill's primary goals are to establish a baseline understanding of hazardous waste management, identify data gaps, and make plans to fill these gaps.
- With this process change in mind, retailers should take the time to engage with it. You have the opportunity to provide input during the planning process, which may be a valuable chance to express any concerns or potential impacts to business operations. Also, stay updated! Keep abreast of legislative updates, especially regarding potential changes in waste management hierarchy, as it could affect the strategies to reduce hazardous waste generation.
- For suppliers, take the time to align your operations. The new regulations emphasize waste reduction, recycling, and treatment before disposal. Suppliers must ensure their operations align with this hierarchy. Also, participate in and prioritize data collection. As the DTSC seeks to fill data gaps, suppliers may have the opportunity to contribute meaningful data and potentially influence the direction of future waste management strategies in California. And finally, plan for stricter standards. With less than 19 percent of hazardous waste tracked in California classified as hazardous under federal criteria, expect California's regulations to be stricter. Suppliers should be prepared for more stringent rules and broader scopes of hazardous waste identification.
Demystifying 1,4 Dioxane: What you need to know
Lately, the regulatory spotlight has been shining on one particularly confusing chemical in consumer products: 1,4-dioxane.
Both California and New York have already issued new guidance targeting 1,4 dioxane. These new restrictions will mean that both retailers and suppliers need to pay attention to where the substance may be, and be ready to confirm that it is not in their products at a certain level. So, we’ve put together a quick look at the reasons behind the urgency around 1,4 dioxane and some tips for how to stay ahead of the curve.
1,4 dioxane: What is it? And why does it matter?
1,4-dioxane is a substance that can be created when making detergents, soaps, and creams, and it’s now considered an environmental contaminant and a probable human carcinogen. 1,4-dioxane contamination can occur rather easily – as a byproduct of the manufacturing processes when making these products. It is also intentionally used at higher concentrations as a solvent in industrial manufacturing processes. Studies have also shown that the harmful substance can easily dissolve in water, which means it could be found in unsafe amounts in drinking water.
All of this has, naturally, made consumers and regulatory bodies worried about finding it in things they use and its possible effects on our health. However a risk evaluation published by the US EPA in 2020 found no unreasonable risks to consumers or bystanders from any conditions of use, including eight consumer uses of surface cleaners, laundry/dishwashing detergents, and paint/floor lacquer where 1,4-dioxane is present as a byproduct.
Regulatory changes and how to keep up
While there is still a lot of unknown around the future of 1,4 dioxane, specific new regulations have started to gain traction. The Food and Drug Administration had previously encouraged suppliers to minimize 1,4-dioxane content, but New York has now taken a proactive approach by implementing a restriction on dioxane contamination levels in products. As of December 31, 2022, cleaning and personal care products are limited to 2 parts per million (ppm), while cosmetics are limited to 10 ppm. And the cleaning and personal care limit was set to reduce to 1 ppm by December 31, 2023.
1,4-dioxane has also been getting attention because of the California Cleaning Product Right-To-Know Act of 2017. Under this new regulation, it must be disclosed on a products website as a “nonfunctional constituent” when it's present at or above 10 parts per million (ppm). Since this chemical is also a carcinogen on the California Proposition 65 list, it might be subject to labeling requirements even below this threshold.
There a few simple - but crucial - steps both suppliers and retailers can take to stay ahead of these changes:
- Brush up on which product categories are affected by these bans. You can find product categories that are likely to fall under the ban on the NY State Department of Conservation website.
- Suppliers: Be ready with specific evidence proving the dioxane content for your products is below the allowable threshold. If a product uses a “ethoxylated” ingredient (commonly employed in the production of personal care, household care products) it might contain a regulated amount of 1,4 dioxane. Determine which products you have contain these ingredients, so you can narrow down which items you need to obtain evidence for and make sure you have that on-hand.
- Retailers: Maintain an open-line of communication with suppliers. Your suppliers know their products’ best and have the information you need to prove that the dioxane levels are below allowable thresholds.
The NY Dioxane Ban, along with evolving regulatory guidelines, can be confusing to navigate and leave more questions than answers. Lean on your suppliers, retailers and regulatory partners to help translate and prepare for these new guidelines as effectively as possible.
By staying informed and maintaining close collaboration with your partners, you can successfully navigate these regulations, avoid costly fines or product delays, and provide consumers with safe and transparent choices.
Governor Newsom signs legislation to revisit necessity of aquatic toxicity testing
This press release was originally published by the National Stewardship Action Council on September 15th, 2022
For Immediate Release:
GOVERNOR NEWSOM SIGNS LEGISLATION TO REVISIT NECESSITY OF AQUATIC TOXICITY TESTING
Retailers, Environmental, Clean Air, and Animal Protection Groups Thank Legislature and Governor for Taking Steps to End Unnecessary Fish Testing and Incineration.
(SACRAMENTO) – Tuesday afternoon, Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law California’s Assembly Bill 1793 by Assembly member Dr. Bill Quirk, which will require the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) to review the continued value of acute aquatic toxicity testing, or “aquatox” testing on live fish, which determines if waste is hazardous to the aquatic
environment. The law will also require DTSC to evaluate alternative testing methods such as calculation-based methods (otherwise known as computational toxicology) and submit a report to the Board of Environmental Safety that includes recommendations on next steps.
“We were happy to sponsor a bill that benefits so many, including the communities most impacted by incineration plants or hazardous waste landfills where these products have previously been burned or buried,” said Heidi Sanborn, Executive Director of NSAC.
Currently, retailers must understand both federal and state toxicity regulations to sell and manage consumer products compliantly or are subject to hefty fines. When faced with California’s complicated hazardous testing criteria, many retailers will skip the hazardous evaluation process altogether and the waste must be presumed as toxic. Therefore, instead of conducting “aquatox” testing, the status quo for many retailers is to “play it safe” and consider all potentially hazardous waste as “hazardous”, which includes returned, cruelty-free, and unsellable products.
“The replacement of the “aquatox” test with a new calculation-based methodology means Smarter Sorting’s retail clients stand to save millions of dollars a year on the unnecessary incineration of returned and non-saleable products, plus the ability to divert some of these products away from waste altogether and donate or reuse them. Moreover, brands soon could accurately classify their product without the requirement of animal testing” said Jacqueline Claudia, Chief Executive Office for Smarter Sorting.
California is the only state that still requires the “aquatox” test on live fish, with other states having already taken action to allow for toxicity to be calculated rather than physically tested. An antiquated 30-year-old California testing requirement, AB 1793 will finally result in an evaluation of whether modern, calculation-based methods are more appropriate.
“The fish test was last updated over three decades ago. It leads to innocuous products being treated as hazardous waste,” said Assemblymember Dr. Bill Quirk. Specifically, preliminary data demonstrated that many household products fail the “aquatox” test, including nearly all soaps and shampoos. Requiring that these relatively innocuous products be managed as hazardous waste increases businesses’ costs and the burden on low-income communities where hazardous waste facilities are often located.
California already had plans to broadly reevaluate its hazardous waste testing criterion via The Budget Act of 2022, which was signed into law in June and includes a Budget Change Proposal for DTSC to add 8 positions and $1.5 million annually to evaluate all existing California hazardous waste criteria. AB 1793 simply ensures the existing hazardous waste evaluation will include consideration of the “aquatox” criteria and alternatives such as calculation-based methods. AB 1793 received unanimous votes on both the Senate and Assembly Floors, and was signed by Governor Newsom on Tuesday, September 13th
Heidi Sanborn, Executive Director
National Stewardship Action Council
Original Release published on: https://www.nsaction.us/