Today, every shipment of hazardous waste is tracked by a "manifest" to ensure delivery to a designated recycling, treatment, or disposal facility. The manifest is a multi-copy paper document that is filled out and signed by the generator of the hazardous waste. It is then signed by the transporter to indicate transfer of custody, and is finally signed by the receiving facility upon receipt of the hazardous waste shipment. A copy of the completed manifest must be sent back to the generator to confirm the "cradle to grave" tracking of the hazardous waste. Many states also require that copies be filed with their environmental agencies.
The manifest is an important document to promote safe management of hazardous waste. It is also a very costly paperwork burden, and the collection of useful data from the approximately 500,000 manifests used each year is a daunting task.
To address these issues, ETC worked with Congress to pass legislation that would allow the U.S. EPA to develop an electronic manifest system that would be much less costly and more efficient and give generators the ability to track their shipments. The legislation (S.710) was introduced by Senator John Thune (R-SD), received bipartisan support in both Chambers and was signed into law by President Obama in 2012. Now that the system is operational, the ETC continues to work with EPA to ensure the system falls in line with the intentions of Congress and is user friendly to industry.