What is hazardous waste?
Ignitability. – Waste that combusts/burns easily.
Corrosivity. – Waste that can cause damage or corrode any other substances it comes into contact with.
Reactivity. – Highly reactive Waste.
Toxicity. – Waste that contains or releases dangerous toxins.
Due to the potentially dangerous nature of the waste, Business owners across multiple industries must ensure that their hazardous waste is stored and disposed of correctly. Failure to do so could result in large fines, company closure and even criminal charges.
What are the different kinds of hazardous waste?
Universal Waste can be produced both within the home and the workplace and includes items such as:
TVs, lamps and other WEEE products.
Equipment containing mercury.
Mixed waste refers to any waste that contains hazardous or radioactive components, and it is often produced in laboratories or similar facilities. Mixed wastes are split into three sub-categories: Low-level mixed waste, intermediate-level waste and high-level mixed waste.
Low-Level Mixed Waste (LLMW) is waste produced in nuclear facilities that have come into contact with potentially hazardous or toxic materials. As a result, it could contain items such as:
Intermediate-Level Waste (ILW) is produced at numerous different facilities and contains higher levels of radioactivity than LLMW. This includes items such as:
Some forms of cladding.
High-Level Mixed Waste is typically classified as such as it contains large amounts of radioactivity. It is produced through the reprocessing of nuclear fuel and is typically in the form of a liquid. This form of waste is harder to dispose of but typically accounts for less than 1% of mixed waste.
Chemical waste is any waste products that contain or may have come into contact with dangerous chemicals. By nature, they are typically corrosive, toxic or highly reactive. This includes items such as:
Listed Wastes are waste products created in the manufacturing or industrial process and are divided into two sections – the F-List and the K-list – and are determined by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency).
F-list Wastes are forms of common manufacturing waste. This could include:
Metal fishing waste.
Pharmaceutical waste such as acetone and methanol.
K-List wastes refer to specific industry waste products. This could include:
Waste from the production of metals such as iron, steel and aluminium.
Veterinary waste products.
Waste produced in the production of petroleum and similar products.
Inorganic & organic chemicals.
How does hazardous waste get disposed of?
The Strategy for Hazardous Waste Management in England (2010) dictates that all waste must be:
Identified correctly and labeled.
Stored securely before collection.
Collected by a licensed waste carrier. During this stage, a Waste Transfer Notice must be completed.
Disposed of appropriately and in a way that has a minimal impact upon the environment.
When taken to the correct facilities, hazardous waste is disposed of in a variety of ways. For example, some products, such as certain types of batteries or electronic circuit boards, can be recycled and turned into new products. In fact, most forms of Universal Waste are disposed of in this manner.
Chemical waste and some forms of Listed Waste undergo specific forms of treatment before disposal, such as chemical or thermal treatments, which work to make the chemicals less dangerous and therefore easier to dispose of or recycle. By prioritising recycling, fewer waste products need to be disposed of in landfills or through incineration – thus reducing the impact we have on the environment.
How do you store hazardous waste?
Ensure that all waste is stored safely and securely, using the appropriate bins and containers.
Ensure that the different forms of hazardous waste are stored separately and do not contact each other.
This can be achieved by correctly labeling each bin and using colour-coded containers or bins to make the distinction between each one clear.
Inspect your waste storage area regularly, ensuring that none of the bins or containers are damaged or leaking.
Arrange for the waste to be corrected regularly.
If you have any further questions about hazardous waste or want to put together a waste management plan for your business – do not hesitate to get in touch today 0800 211 83 90. We have a team of dedicated experts on hand who can answer any questions or queries you might have.