The 5 W’s of APHIS Waste

1)  What is APHIS?

APHIS is the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service program run by the USDA to protect American animals, plants, and the agricultural industry. The goal of this program is to maintain the health of the United States agricultural environment by defending it from invasive, non-native plants, animals, insects and diseases.

2)  Who generates APHIS waste?

APHIS waste is any waste that was on board, generated on board or removed by any means of transportation during international movement arriving into the United States through border crossings, airports and shipping ports. This includes:

  • Fruits, vegetables, meats

  • Animals, animal products

  • Plants, seeds, soil, plant-based materials

  • Food scraps, table refuse, galley or crew refuse, prepared but not consumed meals, food wrappers or packaging materials, other waste materials from food stores

  • Rejected cargo

 3)  Where is APHIS waste managed & treated?

Given it is highly regulated, APHIS waste is required to be quarantined, packaged and treated by steam sterilization (autoclaved) or incineration as required by USDA waste treatment regulations. It must be transported, treated, and disposed of by a certified waste management company that is permitted in accordance with the USDA APHIS policies, which are written in support of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Title 7 CFR 330.400 through 330.403 and Title 9 CFR 94.5.

 4)  When must APHIS waste be disposed of?

All waste from any international flights, cruise ships, or seagoing vessels (with the exclusion of Canada and U.S. territories) are required to be treated within 72 hours of arriving in the U.S.

 5)  Why comply?

The regulations around APHIS waste are not to be taken lightly. Any person that violates these regulations may be criminally prosecuted and found guilty of a misdemeanor which can result in monetary penalties, a one-year prison term, or both. Additionally, any person violating the Plant Protection Act (PPA) and/or the Animal Health Protection Act (AHPA) may be assessed civil penalties of up to $300,000 per violation or twice the gross gain or gross loss for any violation that results in the person deriving pecuniary gain or causing pecuniary loss to another, whichever is greater.


The 72-hour requirement for APHIS waste to be treated once arriving in the U.S. often makes disposal compliance challenging and costly. At Curtis Bay Medical Waste services, we offer a full-service solution to APHIS waste. We are permitted to transport, treat, and dispose of APHIS waste at 3 treatment facilities, including our on-site autoclave at the Atlanta International airport for a safer, immediate, on-site solution.

We provide piece of mind with our on-demand, on-site remediation of waste, thus eliminating the “72-hour” pressure to ensure waste from international flights is treated. Our services reduce the risk of noncompliance fines, offer an environmentally friendly option and allows our partners to contain and control costs.

Learn more about our APHIS waste services, or request a quote by contacting us at 855-228-1715 or [email protected]