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What Are the 4 EPA Hazardous Waste Characteristics?

Updated: Feb 7

Hazardous Waste Management

You probably won’t find EPA-classified “hazardous wastes” in any pharmaceutical waste containers in Chester County because they do not fall under the umbrella of Regulated Medical Waste (RMW). The EPA divides hazardous waste “characteristics” into four categories: ignitability, corrosivity, toxicity, and reactivity. Learn about characteristic wastes in the infographic below, and then continue reading for more detailed information:

The 4 EPA-Designated Hazardous Waste Characteristics


The ignitability characteristic is assigned to wastes that contain liquids with flash points below 60 °C, non-liquids that can cause fires under specific circumstances, ignitable compressed gases, and oxidizers. The EPA waste code for ignitable hazardous wastes is D001.


The corrosivity characteristic is assigned to aqueous wastes with a pH of less than or equal to two, a pH of at least 12.5, or based on its ability to corrode steel. The EPA waste code for corrosive hazardous wastes is D002.


The reactivity characteristic is assigned to wastes that may be unstable under normal conditions, including substances that can react with water, substances that give off toxic gases, and substances that are capable of detonating or exploding under normal conditions or when heated. The EPA waste code for reactive hazardous wastes is D003.


The toxicity characteristic is assigned to wastes that are harmful when ingested or absorbed. Toxic wastes are particularly concerning because if they are not disposed of properly, they can potentially leach from waste and pollute groundwater. EPA waste codes D004 through D043 are assigned to toxic wastes, depending on the Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure (TCLP) concentration.

Got Regulated Medical Waste?

While we can’t dispose of hazardous wastes directly for you, it’s important to understand the difference between hazardous wastes and Regulated Medical Wastes. However, if you need someone to point you in the right direction, we can certainly help you make arrangements for hazardous waste disposal. And if you need help with chemotherapy waste disposal near Philadelphia County, or disposal of any other Regulated Medical Wastes, we’ve got that covered for you. Contact us today to learn more or to inquire about the products and/or services we offer.

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