Chemical waste is a waste that is made from harmful chemicals. It could be a solid, liquid, or gaseous material that displays either a "Hazardous Characteristic" or is specifically "listed" by name as a hazardous waste.
Chemical waste falls under regulations such as COSHH in the United Kingdom. To be considered hazardous, your chemical waste needs to display one or more of these 4 characteristics: Ignitability, Corrosivity, Reactivity, and Toxicity.
Any hazardous chemical waste must be categorized based on its identity, constituents, and hazards so that it may be safely handled and managed. Due to the potential risks associated with the improper handling of chemical waste, its correct management and disposal are vital.
There are strict regulations in place to prevent risks to both the environment and to human health caused by improper chemical waste disposal.
Below, we have outlined some useful tips to follow to safely managing the disposal of your hazardous chemical waste.
1. Identify your chemical waste
Identifying your waste is very paramount, as it is understanding the properties of hazardous waste and how to handle and dispose of it correctly. If you produce, transport, or receive hazardous waste you will have responsibilities under the Hazardous Waste Regulations. You can obtain more information on identifying hazardous waste and the Hazardous Waste Regulations from the Environment Agency. Hazardous waste requires specialist treatment and as such, a proper identification is very important. If you’re unsure if you waste is classified as hazardous or not, give us a call .
2. Pay attention to the current legislation
It isn’t just the Waste regulations and the Hazardous Waste Regulations that you need to comply with. You also need to comply with numerous other pieces of legislation such as the WEEE regulations and the EU legislation. If you find waste legislation difficult to understand, do not worry because a professional waste management company can help. At All Waste Matters we have a knowledgeable team of experts with over 50 years of experience in the field that can advise you on the best disposal strategy for your chemical waste.
3. Designate a hazardous waste storage area
Select an area of your facility that is: — Near where the waste is generated — Under the control of trained personnel — Out of the way of normal business activities Label the area with a "Danger — Hazardous Waste" sign and make the area easily accessible and recognizable for the traffic going in and out and for the external inspectors.
4. Store your Waste Properly
Harmful chemical waste must be stored in leak-proof containers that are compatible with the harmful nature of the material. Never mix toxic waste with non-harmful materials. This ensures that your waste disposal activities do not result in reactions or corrosion in the container. Once mixed, the entire waste becomes harmful. Mixing the materials also makes recycling very difficult. Do not store it in a way that may rupture the container or cause leakage. Choose leak-proof containers that have impermeable surfaces and keep them always in good condition. If necessary, transfer waste material to a container that can be securely closed. Keep waste containers closed except when adding waste. When disposing of, it advisable to label the containers ‘harmful waste’ to give a clear description of the contents. Secondary containment should be in place to capture spills and leaks from the primary container, segregate incompatible hazardous wastes, such as acids and bases.
5. Think about the Environment
When deciding on a waste disposal plan for your hazardous chemical waste, consider what impacts on the environmental any proposed disposal solutions may have. Our environment is precious, so it is important that you choose a waste management service that considers the impact that your business’s waste has on the planet. Your designated waste management partner should also advise you on effective ways to reduce your waste. At All Waste Matter we work with you on your specific hazardous waste disposal plan, which should be designed to take inconsideration your social and corporate responsibility with the aim to preserve resources and work towards a sustainable consumption.
6. Choose a responsible hazardous waste disposal partner
A responsible partner is one that is fit to handle hazardous secondary materials and conducts proper disposal or recycling. Some common questions that you may ask when evaluating hazardous waste disposal companies include: What is the company’s history and ownership history? Have they been involved in any contamination? Does the company have a history of environmental compliance? Have they been subject to any enforcement actions? Is the company in compliance with all required permits? What is the general housekeeping at their facility? Does the company employ trained WAMITAB staff? Is the company financially sound? Does it have adequate environmental liability insurance and provisions for necessary closure and clean-up costs if necessary?
7. Promote waste recycling
In most cases it is possible to recycle your harmful chemical waste, including include acids, solvents, oil and metals. Not only is hazardous waste recycling beneficial to the environment, but it also increases the bottom line of your business. You can be sure of production efficiency and cost reduction due to cut costs on raw materials and waste disposal management. Finally, by recycling your chemical wastes, less hazardous waste is sent for treatment and disposal. This means less need for hazardous waste landfills and incinerators, as well as a decrease in energy used for those systems, which ultimately leads to less pollution.