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All You Need to Know about Hazardous Waste – and How to Deal with it

All businesses produce waste on a daily basis. The waste your business produces could be as harmless as pieces of paper and a bit of food refuse and packaging, but it could also be as potentially harmful as waste such as chemicals, asbestos, and medical waste. These types of hazardous waste need to be stored and disposed of in the proper manner. Here is your guide to hazardous waste – and how to properly and effectively deal with it.

The definition of hazardous waste

Waste can be categorised as hazardous if it is listed under the EWC, or European Waste Catalogue, or the List of Wastes. In general, waste can be called hazardous if it contains substances or materials which can be harmful to the environment or to humans.

All You Need to Know about Hazardous Waste – and How to Deal with itTo give you a better idea, here are some examples of waste that is hazardous: asbestos, solvents, pesticides, chemicals such as printer toners and brake fluid, electrical components including televisions and computer monitors, light bulbs, batteries from vehicles, non-edible oils such as engine oils, and refrigerators which contain substances that can deplete the ozone.

The categories of hazardous waste

Hazardous waste is divided into several categories, but in the European Waste Catalogue, there are two types of hazardous waste – absolute and mirror. Absolute hazardous waste would include such waste produced in manufacturing acids, preservatives for wood, and batteries (nickel cadmium). Mirror hazardous waste is normally not seen as hazardous, but they can be if they contain a particular component which is hazardous, such as wastes with mercury and arsenic. Mirror hazardous waste can also include waste with potentially flammable properties.

Storing hazardous waste

If you are to store hazardous waste in your premises or site, you would not be required to have a licence or permit for pollution prevention or waste management if your waste is not more than 23000 litres of waste in liquid form that is stored in properly secured units or containers, and if your waste is no more than 80m3 (cubic metres) that is also stored in a safe container.

If you are simply waiting for your business’ waste to be collected, you should store them securely in order to avoid pollution. This waste should also be labeled in the proper way. If you have different kinds of hazardous waste, they must be kept separate. Hazardous waste in liquid form must be kept separate with the addition of a barrier which can contain leaks or spills. You should also make it a point to keep an up-to-date inventory of whatever hazardous waste is stored on your site or premises so you can effectively deal with emergency incidents if necessary.

The transfer of your hazardous waste should always be done by a qualified carrier offering waste collection services such as to make sure you comply with all government regulations.

Image courtesy of Michelle Meiklejohn/