An Industry Overview of Textile Manufacturing

Not all textile manufacturing industries produce hazardous waste. If, however, you use hazardous solvents and materials containing toxic chemicals, you might be subject to Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) requirements covering the generation, transportation, and management of hazardous waste.

The following textile manufacturing industry segments are covered by this summary:

Hazardous Wastes from Textile Manufacturing

Most of the hazardous waste generated by textile manufacturers results from the use of solvents. Solvents are used in:

In addition, solvents are used to clean machinery such as rollers and spinning machines used in textile manufacturing. Spent solvents are listed hazardous wastes. In addition, tetrachloroethylene, trichloroethylene, benzene, and ethylene dichloride are included in the recently expanded Toxicity Characteristic. Insecticides and disinfectants also sometimes contain Toxicity Characteristic chemicals such as cresols, chloroform, and carbon tetrachloride. Wastewaters or other process wastes containing these chemicals are hazardous if they fail the Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure (TCLP) test.

Table I lists general processes/operations that use hazardous materials and that might 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 are potentially generated during textile mill operations. Table I and Table 2 are not comprehensive lists. If you suspect that you generate a waste that is not included in this summary, contact your state hazardous waste management agency or EPA Regional office for assistance.

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 Textile Manufacturing Operations
Materials Used and Hazardous Wastes that Might be Generated

Materials Used:General Types of OperationWaste Generated
Wool Scouring
DisinfectantsInsecticides, solvents
FabricDyes, solvents, lacquers
Floor coveringBleaches, finishing
FinishingAgents, adhesives
Stock and YarnSolvents, dyes
Processing, Dyeing, and FinishingSpent solvents, toxic wastes
Wastewaters and wastewater treatment sludges with toxic constituentsSpent solvents, toxic wastes

Table 2 Textile Manufacturing Waste Descriptions

UN/NA:Waste Type
Designations/Trade NamesDOT Shipping NameHazard ClassID Number
Waste Solvents: Solvent Still Bottoms and Other Toxic Wastes Containing:
Tetrachloroethylene*Waste Tetrachloroethylene or PerchloroethyleneORM-AUN1897
Trichloroethylenc*Waste TrichloroethyleneORM-AUN1710
Methylene ChlorideWaste Dichloromethane or Methylene chlorideORM-AUN1593
1,1,1-TrichloroethaneWaste 1,1,1-TrichloroethaneORM-AUN2831
Chlorobenzene*Waste ChlorobenzeneFlammable Liquid 2UN1134
TolueneWaste Toluene or ToluolFlammable LiquidUN1294
Benzene*Waste Benzene or BenzolFlammable LiquidUN1115
XyleneWaste Xylene (xylol)Flammable LiquidUN1307
Ethylene Dichloride*Waste Ethylene DichlorideFlammable LiquidUN1184
VarsolWaste NaphthaFlammable LiquidsUN1256
 White SpiritsCombustible LiquidUN1256
 Mineral Spirits  
Other Wastes
Ignitable Wastes, NOS4Waste Flammable Liquid, NOSFlammable LiquidUN1993
 Waste Combustible Liquid, NOSCombustible LiquidNA1993
 Waste Flammable Solid, NOSFlammable SolidUN1325
Hazardous Waste, NOSHazardous Waste, Liquid or Solid, NOSORM-EUN9189

Toxicity Characteristic constituent. Any waste that results in a TCLP leachate 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 shipping name, hazard class, and UN/NA ID number do not directly correspond to RCRA hazardous waste categories.
  2. A flammable liquid has a flash point less than 100 deg. F.
  3. A combustible liquid has a flash point between 100 deg. F. and 200 deg. F.
  4. NOS - not otherwise specified.

Last Updated: January 8, 1996