Did you know that every second the world produces 13 tons of hazardous waste? Leading Sydney rubbish removal companies think more people need to be aware that unlike normal waste that can just be thrown in the dump, hazardous waste needs to be treated differently.
Despite this fact, many people are unfamiliar with what the substance is and how it’s classified. So, exactly what is considered hazardous waste?
If you want to learn the answer to that question, and more, then you’re in the right place. In this article, we’ll teach you everything you need to know about hazardous waste. Let’s get started!
What is Considered Hazardous Waste?
Before we begin it’s important to go over a simple definition of hazardous waste. According to the EPA hazardous waste is any type of waste that is capable of causing a harmful or dangerous effect on either the environment or humans.
While that’s all well and good it turns out that defining all of these wastes is harder than you might think. After all, hazardous wastes come from a variety of different sources. Industrial manufacturing is one of the main contributors.
However, it also comes from things that you might use every day, like batteries, fertilizers, and other chemicals. The identification process for this type of waste can get a little confusing. So, let’s take a closer look at how it’s identified.
How is Hazardous Waste Identified?
It quickly became apparent that hazardous wastes were difficult to define. So, to make it more clear the EPA has set guidelines for helping to define what type of materials are hazardous.
The guidelines are laid out in the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). This act states that to be hazardous material must contain the following characteristics: corrosivity, ignitability, toxicity, and reactivity.
Keep in mind that these are just guidelines. Some materials can be hazardous even if they don’t contain any of those characteristics. These days, hazardous waste is determined by asking four questions. These questions include:
- Is the material solid? (liquid and gas is excluded)
- Is the material exempt from being regulated? (certain materials might not be classified as hazardous)
- Is the material listed as hazardous waste? (if yes, then it’s been classified)
- Has the material been delisted? (some materials that were once considered hazardous are no longer on the list)
After these questions are asked, then the material is classified as toxic waste. Make sure to check out this resource for a full list of all of the materials currently classified.
How Do You Handle Hazardous Waste Management?
In the middle of the twentieth century, the RCRA started by the EPA created a basic framework for the proper way to manage hazardous waste materials. This framework puts the burden of management onto the person who initially created the waste.
It became known as “cradle to grave” management. This is because the person who made it is responsible for it from the second it’s made, on through to its transportation, treatment, and eventual disposal.
The good news is that there are a variety of hazardous cleaning services that handle all of these tasks. Still, let’s take a closer look at the specifics of this management program to learn more about it.
The first link of hazardous waste management is the people who generate it. The main responsibility of these individuals is to determine if the material they are disposing of is hazardous.
Regulations typically only apply to generators if they produce a certain amount. If regulations do apply to them, then it’s their job to identify it, manage it, and treat it.
Typically, the waste needs to be picked up and transported to a facility that’s equipped to treat it. The United States Department of Transportation provides strict guidelines for when hazardous waste is moved along roads, trains, and waterways.
Typically, the person transporting it needed to be properly trained and have certain types of licenses. This is so they know what to do in the event of spillage or contamination.
3. Treatment and Storage
Before it can be disposed of or recycled the hazardous waste must be treated. Different types of waste have different requirements for how they’re treated. For example, a certain type of radioactive material needs to be stored away before it can be handled.
Make sure to read any specific requirements around the type of waste you’re moving. It likely comes with guidelines detailing how to treat and store it before doing away with it.
In the past, hazardous waste was disposed of in landfills. However, this was problematic because it caused the waste to leak into the groundwater supply.
To combat this, special landfills use lining underneath the waste to catch any runoff before entering the water supply. Other types of waste may be incinerated instead of dumped.
It’s also possible for certain types of hazardous waste to be recycled. This is ideal because it reduces both the amount of waste that ends up in landfills and the amount of raw material that’s needed to make it.
The EPA has specific regulations for any generators that want to try to recycle their hazardous waste.
Want More Content? Keep Reading
We hope this article helped you answer the question, What is considered hazardous waste? As you can see, the list of hazardous waste materials is pretty expansive. And, what makes it even more confusing is that it’s changing all of the time.
As such, if your industry deals with potentially hazardous material, then it’s important to make sure you keep up to date on the subject. That way, you know exactly how to dispose of it.
Did you enjoy this article? If the answer is yes, then you’re in the right place. Keep exploring to find more topics that you’re sure to love.