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Program Assessment


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EPA's Recycling, Waste Minimization, and Waste Management Program

The waste management and permitting activities are primarily delegated to states to implement and EPA provides grants and technical assistance. EPA's waste minimization efforts focus on resource recovery (recycling) and reducing waste generation.


What This Rating Means


This rating describes a program that needs to set more ambitious goals, achieve better results, improve accountability or strengthen its management practices.
  • EPA manages hazardous waste grants in a manner that provides incentives for states to take ownership of goals that contribute to national goals. The voluntary agreements focus on achieving goals that are beneficial to the partnering party and it is EPA who must engage in a sufficient number of partnerships in order to meet its national goal.
  • Waste minimization partners do not commit to EPA's overall national goals. The regulatory program failed to go far enough when determining the costs and benefits of its initial regulations. The hazardous waste permitting program developed new, ambitious targets. However, the program is unable to demonstrate the benefits of a permitted facility.
  • Biennial data measurements for municipal solid waste create a data lag and hinder evaluation of program performance, but a more frequent data collection effort is not cost effective. The RCRA base program has only two measures of output efficiency although it has multiple operations.

Improvement Plan

About Improvement Plans

We are taking the following actions to improve the performance of the program:

  • Developing an efficiency measure for the waste minimization component of the RCRA base program.
  • Developing a new regulatory definition of solid waste that satisfies judicial requirements while ensuring costs are not inappropriately shifted to Superfund or other corrective action programs.
  • Improving the program by identifying where compliance costs are excessive and reducing the cost of compliance where appropriate (i.e. RCRA Burden Reduction initiative and manifest rule).

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