The Environmental Protection Agency, figuring that the garbage generated at campgrounds, bunkhouses and ranger stations is the same as garbage generated in a house, proposed yesterday to expand the household-waste exclusion under the hazardous waste laws.
The EPA decided in 1980 that Congress did not intend to subject Mr. and Mrs. American Homeowner to stringent laws on the disposal of toxic wastes by forcing them to separate their empty pesticide cans from their wadded-up paper towels. Now, at the request of the Agriculture and Interior departments, it has proposed extending the same logic to crew quarters, picnic grounds and facilities that are used as homes away from home and generate "at-home" kinds of waste.
The agency decided that offices, retail stores, restaurants and the like do not meet those criteria, so their wastes will continue to be regulated. It also denied a petition from the American Retail Federation to exclude all "consumer-household products" from regulation. The retail group reasoned that if a can of bug spray could be tossed out by a homeowner without penalty a retail store ought to be able to pitch the same can of spray without penalty.
The EPA nixed the idea, saying it was the homeowner, not the bug spray, Congress wanted to protect from burdensome regulation. "These wastes have been exempted from regulation because Congress intended to exclude 'household waste,' not because they necessarily pose no hazard," it said. (FR 6872)