Hazardous Waste Management - Things You Need To Know As A Business Owner
Hazardous waste is potentially harmful to the environment and human health. These can be solids, gases or even liquids, which could include commercial items like cleaning agents or chemicals, pesticides and waste materials from manufacturing plants. Hazardous waste should be disposed of in the right manner to minimize negative impact to the environment. Dumping hazardous waste into landfills could attract penalties for your business, so you need to understand the right procedures.
What is classified as hazardous waste?
Generally, waste is categorised as hazardous if it contains materials that are harmful or likely to cause harm to human beings or the environment. Some of the examples that have been highlighted by different government environmental agencies include asbestos, which has been proved to have harmful effects to human health and the environment in general. Chemicals like brake fluids, or printer toners are also considered harmful and should be dumped in the right manner.
Some solvents are potentially harmful, so they also fall under this category and should be kept far from contact with humans. If your business deals with ozone depleting substances or equipment that is made up of it, you should understand this is also categorised as hazardous waste.
There are different guidelines that are adhered to while registering for hazardous waste management. One of the criteria used is the amount of waste produced over a period of 12 months. If your business produces or holds less than 500 kilogram of hazardous waste in a period of 12 months, you do not need to register your premises.
If the waste is domestic and does not involve asbestos, you will also not be eligible to register your premises. Mobile businesses like photocopier repair services are also not required to register. However, if the above considerations do not hold, you are required to register your premises using the online registration system. You can also apply by telephone or post to an Environment Agency. The registration should be renewed every 12 months upon expiration.
Disposing hazardous waste
The first step to ensuring hazardous waste produced does not affect the environment or cause harm to humans is to try and reduce its production. You can substitute hazardous materials with ones that are not harmful if that is possible. Also make sure employees are trained on different processes to avoid the production of huge amounts of waste. Old equipment could also be causing the production of hazardous waste, so they should be replaced with efficient ones.
Virtually every city has hazardous collection services. If you lack proper ways of disposing hazardous waste, it is advisable to sign up for collection, which is handled by well equipped professionals. Collection makes waste disposal easier since you will not need to buy expensive equipment that is needed in the process of refining waste to eliminate harmful chemicals.
Do not dump hazardous waste into the ground; rather use trash bins designed for that purpose. It is illegal to throw hazardous waste in the open, so you should strive to follow the right procedures of disposal.