An Industry Overview of Furniture/Wood Manufacturing and Refinishing


Not all furniture/wood manufacturing and refinishing operations produce hazardous waste. If, however, you use any solvents, flammable or combustible liquids, combustible solids, ignitable paints containing flammable solvents, or other materials containing toxic chemicals, the waste generated from using these materials might be hazardous, and you might be subject to Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) requirements covering the generation. transportation, and management of hazardous waste.

Your business is included in the furniture/wood manufacturing and refinishing category if you manufacture, refinish, reupholster, or repair:

Hazardous Wastes from Furniture/Wood Manufacturing and Refinishing

The furniture/wood manufacturing and refinishing industry uses many solvents. Spent solvents and solvent still bottoms are usually hazardous wastes. In addition to solvent wastes, your facility might generate ignitable wastes or toxic wastes. Many wastes generated from the use of paints, wood treatments, stains, varnishes, polishes, and adhesives might be ignitable or might fail the Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure (TCLP) test. Sawmills and planing mills can generate wastewaters that fail the TCLP test.

Table I lists general processes/operations that use hazardous materials and that can result in the generation of hazardous waste. If you generate 100 kilograms (220 pounds or about half of a 55 gallon drum) or more of hazardous waste per month, you must fill out a Uniform Hazardous Waste Manifest when you ship the hazardous waste off your property. The Manifest requires the proper Department of Transportation (DOT) description for each waste. Table 2 lists proper DOT shipping descriptions for a number of wastes that might be generated during furniture and wood manufacturing and refinishing. Table I and Table 2 are not comprehensive lists. If you generate a waste that is not in these tables, consult your EPA Regional office or state hazardous waste management agency to determine if your waste is hazardous and to obtain the proper DOT information.

Waste Minimization

An effective waste minimization program can reduce the costs, liabilities, and regulatory burdens of hazardous waste management, while potentially enhancing efficiency, product quality, and community relations. Waste minimization techniques that can help you reduce the amount of hazardous waste that you generate include:

Training and supervision of employees implementing waste minimization techniques is an important part of your successful program. Call the RCRA/Superfund Hotline toll-free at 800-4249346 (or TDD 800-553-7672 for the hearing-impaired) for waste minimization information and publications.

Table 1 Typical Furniture Manufacturing and Refinishing Operations: Materials Used and Hazardous Wastes that Might be Generated

Process/OperationMaterial UsedTypical Material IngredientGeneral Types of Waste Generated
Wood Cleaning and Wax RemovalPetroleumPetroleum distillates, distillates, white mineral spirits, spiritsIgnitable wastes, Toxic wastes, Paint wastes, Solvent wastes
Refinishing/StrippingPaint removers, varnish removers, enamel removers, shellac removersAcetone, toluene, petroleum distillate%, methanol, methylene chloride, alcohols, ketones, oxygenated solvents, paint solvents, turpentineIgnitable wastes, Toxic wastes, Paint wastes, Solvent wastes
StainingStainsMineral spirits, alcohol pigmentsIgnitable wastes, Toxic wastes, Paint wastes, Solvent wastes
PaintingEnamels, lacquers, epoxies, alkyds, acrylicsToluene, pigments, titanium dioxide, epoxy-ester resins, aromatic hydrocarbon bons, glycol ether, halogenated hydrocarbons, vinyl-acetate acrylicIgnitable wastes, Toxic wastes, Paint wastes, Solvent wastes
FinishingVarnish, shellac, polyurethane, lacquers, wood treatments, PolishDenatured alcohols, resins, shellac, petroleum distillates, toluene diisocyanateIgnitable wastes, Toxic wastes, Spent solvents, Solvent still bottoms
Brush Cleaning and Spray Gun CleaningPaint thinners, enamel reducers, varnish removers, shellac removers, white spiritsAcetone, toluene, petroleum distillates, methanol, methylene, chloride, isopropanol, mineral spirits, alcoholsIgnitable wastes, Toxic wastes, Spent solvents, Solvent still bottoms

Table 2 Furniture/Wood Manufacturing and Refinishing Waste Descriptions

Designations/Trade NamesDOT Shipping NameWaste TypeHazard ClassUN/NA ID Number
Spent Solvents and Still Bottoms and Ignitable or Toxic Wastes Containing:
Ethylene Dichloride*Ethylene Dichloride, 1,2-DichloroethaneWaste Ethylene DichlorideFlammable LiquidUN1184
Benzene*BenzeneWaste Benzene (benzol)Flammable LiquidUN1114
TolueneTolueneWaste Toluene (toluol)Flammable LiquidUN1294
Ethyl BenzeneEthyl BenzeneWaste Ethyl BenzeneFlammable LiquidUN1175
Chlorobenzene*Chlorobenzene, Monochlorobenzene, PhenylchlorideWaste ChlorobenzeneFlammable LiquidUN1134
Methyl Ethyl Ketone*Methyl Ethyl Ketone. MEK. Methyl Acetone, Meetco, Butanone, Ethyl Methyl KetoneWaste Methyl Ethyl KetoneFlammable LiquidUN1193
Chloroform*ChloroformWaste ChloroformORM-AUN1888
Carbon Tetrachloride*Perchloromethane, Tetraform, Carbons Halon 104Waste Carbon TetrachlorideORM-AUN1846
Hexachloroethane*HexachloroethaneWaste HexachloroethaneORM-ANA9037
Cresols*o-Cresol, m-Cresol, p-Cresol, (m,p)-Cresol, (o,m,p-Cresol)Waste CresolCorrosive MaterialUN2076
Pentachlorophenol*PentachlorophenolWaste Pentachlorophenol, Liquid or SolidORM-ENA2020
AcetoneAcetoneWaste AcetoneFlammable LiquidUN1090
White Spirits, VarsolWhite Spirits, Mineral Spirits, NaphthaWaste NaphthaFlammable LiquidUN2553
KeroseneKerosene, Fuel Oil #1Waste KeroseneCombustible Liquid 3UN1223
Methylene ChlorideDichloromethane, Methane Dichloride, Methylene Bichloride, NCI-C50102, Solaesthin, Aerothene, Nwkotil, SolmethineWaste Dichlommethane or Methylene ChlorideORM-AUN1593
TolueneToluene, Methacide, Methylbenzene, Methylbenzol, Phenylmethme, Toluol, Antisal LAWaste Toluene (Toluol)Flammable LiquidUN1294
Benzene*Benzene, BenzolWaste Benzene (Benzol)Flammable LiquidUN1114
EthanolEthanol, Ethyl AlcoholWaste Ethyl AlcoholFlammable LiquidUN1770
Phenol*PhenolWaste PhenolPoison BUN1671
Paint Wastes With Heavy Metals
Heavy Metal paints with:    
Nickel* Ignitable Wastes, NOS  
Chromium* Hazardous Wastes, NOS  
Other Wastes    
  Ignitable Wastes NOS, Solvents  
  Hazardous Waste, Liquid or Solid, NOS4 NA9189
  Waste Flammable Liquid, NOSFlammable LiquidUN1993
  Waste Combustible Liquid, NOSCombustible LiquidNA1993
  Waste Flammable Solid, NOSFlammable SolidUN1325
  Waste Petroleum DistillatesFlammable LiquidUN1268
  Hazardous Waste. Liquid or Solid. NOSORM-ENA9189
Toxicity Characteristic constituent.Any waste that results in a TCLP extract containing a Toxicity Characteristic constituent equal to or above regulatory levels is hazardous.
  1. These descriptions may change given variations in waste characteristics or conditions. Note that the DOT came, hazard class, and UN/NA shipping ID number do not directly correspond to RCRA categories of hazardous waste.
  2. A flammable liquid has a flash point below 100 deg. F.
  3. NOS -Not otherwise specified.
  4. A combustible liquid has a flash point between 100 deg. F. and 200 deg. F.

For further information call the RCRA/Superfund Hotline 1-800-424-9346.

Last Updated: January 8, 1996