Cradle to Grave Responsibility And Long-Tail Liability

Written by Stephen Henshaw, P.G., President & CEO, EnviroForensics
As seen in the September 2013 issue of Cleaner & Launderer

Most people that purchase, handle and manage cleaning solvents, are familiar with the terms “Cradle to Grave Responsibility” and “Long-Tail Liabilities”.  Cradle to Grave responsibility has been used to describe the fact that any person that generates a waste material that is classified, as a hazardous substance is responsible for that waste from the time it is generated until pretty much the end of time.  The Cradle to Grave system is a provision with legislation known as the Resource, Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) which passed in 1976 and focuses to a large degree on the management of hazardous waste. There is no time limit or expiration date that will release a generator from this long-term management responsibility.  This is why the management of hazardous substances is termed Long-Tail Liability.

Everyone knows that when a site is contaminated, the person that caused the contamination is responsible for cleaning it up.  But what happens when the party that operated the site is no longer around, either financially or administratively.  Who then pays for the cleanup? Continue reading “Cradle to Grave Responsibility And Long-Tail Liability”