Hazardous waste must be disposed of in the proper way from both a regulatory standpoint, and for the safety of the environment and human health. One cannot simply discard this type of waste in a trash can or dumpster, but instead depending on the product being disposed of and its properties, it may require a lengthy and/ or expensive disposal process. Make sure to read the full blog below to learn more about this process!
According to the EPA, hazardous waste is waste that has the potential to be harmful to the environment and/ or human life. “Hazardous Waste” may be “characteristic” or “listed.” Characteristic hazardous waste is “hazardous” because it is toxic, reactive, ignitable, or corrosive. Analytical data is required to determine if the waste is “hazardous.” Listed hazardous waste is a waste that is hazardous because the EPA (through testing, etc.) has declared…thou shalt be a hazardous waste! This listing may be due to the nature of the waste, the process in which the waste is generated, etc. You would be surprised the items that are a “listed” hazardous waste (vape products are a listed hazardous waste…waste code P075). Many household items that are not being used for their beneficial use are hazardous wastes.
Hazardous waste must be handled, transported, and disposed of properly because if it is not, it can have major ramifications. These ramifications are not only legal, but also have effects on life, safety, and the environment. As a result of this, there are many regulations in place around the proper disposal of this waste.
When disposing of hazardous waste, one must be very careful. This begins by determining what the waste is, and where it came from. Next, determine if it is a characteristic or listed waste. If the waste is listed, there is no need to perform testing, because it is already declared a hazardous waste. If it is a characteristic waste (like gasoline waste…ignitable), testing can be performed to determine if the waste is actually hazardous. In any event, the waste must be properly containerized and manifested for transport for disposal. Also, the “generator” (i.e. owner) of the waste must be declared. If the waste is “hazardous” then, technically, anything the waste touches is a hazardous waste (soil, trash, etc.), and must be handled in a similar manner.
The second major step of the disposal process is transportation. Many times, hazardous waste has to be transported on major roadways to get to disposal facilities. As a result of this, when transporting hazardous waste on public roadways one does not only have to comply with EPA regulations, but also DOT regulations as well. This can make it tricky to become informed about all of the regulations related to this disposal process considering one must study the laws and rules of both government entities. Transporters of hazardous waste must be properly licensed and permitted.
The third major step of this process is the actual disposal part. Depending on the material being disposed, it may be incinerated, placed in a hazardous waste landfill, or injected into very deep wells for disposal. But either way, it is very important that disposal facilities ensure that all hazardous materials are contained properly, and the disposal process is properly documented.
Hazardous waste can be very tricky to handle and can result in bodily injury, death, or at the very least government discipline if it is not handled correctly. This all goes to show that it is better if the disposal process is left to professionals. If you or your company needs help with the disposal of hazardous materials or if you have any other environmental needs, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information regarding what we can do for you!