The EPA estimates that this rule change will result in a net savings of between $21.7 million and $27.8 million per year — $18 million in avoided regulatory costs and between $3.7 million and $9.9 million in other expected benefits.
The TRSA, which has been vocal the past several years defending the towel rental concept, endorsed the EPA's ruling, saying:
"The rule codifies TRSA's best practices for soiled reusable textile handling, published 20 years ago, which eliminate free liquid from being transported with shop towels and other laundered products sent to textile services facilities for washing and reuse," the association said, adding it "views the measure's implementation aligning with other EPA activities in recent years that recognize TRSA members' commitment to environmental stewardship."
The final rule modifies the definition of solid waste in the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) to conditionally exclude solvent-contaminated wipes that are cleaned and reused, according to the TRSA. It also revises the definition of hazardous waste to exclude shop towels contaminated with solvents listed as hazardous wastes under RCRA, provided that the solvents are cleaned and disposed of properly.
Commercial laundries handle, wash and return clean wipes to their customers as part of the industrial laundry business.
"Reusable textile products reduce waste and protect workers," said Kevin Schwalb, vice president of government relations. "Implementing this rule acknowledges these contributions and that these items play an important role in waste minimization in a variety of industries across the economy."
The TRSA represents the $16 billion U.S. textile services industry, which employs nearly 200,000 workers at more than 1,500 facilities nationwide.