Hospitals, schools, chemical laboratories, medical clinics, and even residential homeowners often need to get rid of hazardous waste. If you have never dealt with this situation before, you may not know how to handle hazardous waste, how to dispose of hazardous waste, or even what this category of waste includes.
Once you know something about hazardous waste and its proper disposal, you can approach the problem as safely and correctly as possible. Here are some key points to help you familiarize yourself with this important issue.
What Qualifies As Hazardous Waste?
Any waste product that can damage the environment or threaten human health qualifies as hazardous waste. The Environmental Protection Agency breaks these wastes down into three distinct categories: listed wastes, characteristic wastes, and mixed radiological and hazardous wastes.
Listed wastes include any waste products mentioned in a federal regulation 40 CFR sections 261.31 and 261.32. You can generally find out whether the product in question belongs on either of these lists by examining the label. Look for an F or K followed by a three-digit number.
In addition to the F or K number, you should also see a capital letter indicating the characteristic of the waste. Your product may qualify as Toxic Waste (T), Acute Hazardous Waste (H), Ignitable Waste (I), Corrosive Waste (C), Reactive Waste (R), or Toxicity Characteristic Waste (E).
Unused commercial chemicals belong on two separate lists designated P and U. Each P or U code number corresponds to a specific kind of chemical.
How Should You Get Rid Of Hazardous Waste?
If you want to get rid of unwanted hazardous waste quickly, safely, and easily, start by seeing whether someone else can make use of it. Unneeded paints, cleaning chemicals, and other still-usable products can provide necessary services to others until none of it remains.
Some unwanted substances, such as used automotive fluids, can undergo recycling; others, such as chemical and medical waste, require permanent disposal. You’ll need expert advice on how to separate different categories of waste and prepare them for removal.
Some types of waste get their own specific types of receptacles. For instance, medical waste typically goes into leak-resistant bags surrounded by sturdy bins. These receptacles include labels warning that the materials within constitute a potential hazard. Rigid bins protect handlers from sharp contents such as syringes.
In many cases, you can put multiple smaller hazardous waste containers into over-packed drums known as lab packs. Just make sure that the smaller containers cannot leak and that the contents of different containers cannot react with each other. You’ll fill the remainder of the lab pack with moisture-absorbing material.
What Does “Cradle to Grave” Mean?
You may hear the phrase “cradle to grave” mentioned in connection with hazardous waste disposal. This phrase refers to the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) for managing every step of the waste collection and disposal process.
If you generate hazardous waste, this law requires you to assume responsibility for its final disposition. To comply with the law, you may need to make use of tracking software, barcode scanning, and other logging techniques to document the chain of custody for every piece of hazardous waste you generate.
Choosing a licensed, experienced hazardous waste disposal company can help you meet compliance with these legal requirements. Our company can review the entire transportation, storage, and disposal procedure with you, reassuring you that your hazardous waste receives the correct handling.
Now that you have some idea of how hazardous waste disposal should work, start taking the necessary steps toward safety, environmental best practices, and legal compliance. Contact City Disposal to learn more about our services and get the qualified help your school, business, or medical facility needs.