With the definition of hazardous waste in the eyes of the government being any material which is ‘harmful to humans or the environment’, it is important that any and all waste which falls into this category is dealt with properly.
Whether you’re the producer, holder, carrier or consignee, it’s important that you know the legal way in which each material should be treated and disposed of. There are several main categories for this type of waste, some of which we will explore in this article to help you define them and the types of items they constitute.
Gas Under Pressure
These items will contain a pressurised gas which can explode if exposed to heat. This poses an obvious danger of burns and injury for anyone nearby. Similarly, refrigerated gas can also pose a risk of cryogenic burns.
- Gas containers
- Gas cylinders
It takes only a small spark to ignite flammable liquids – it doesn’t take much heat at all. The resulting fires can spread fast, exacerbated by flammable materials, including the containers themselves. Once a fire has broken out, there are also associated fumes to contend with, making breathing even more difficult.
- Lamp oil
- Nail polish remover
Waste which is explosive is dangerous for obvious reasons. These items when exposed to heat, some form of ignition or they are damaged, pose a risk of explosion. Additional risks include the projection of rubble and shrapnel as a result of the explosion.
An oxidising agent poses a risk when it comes to fires. Oxygen, as you will no doubt be aware, is a key component of the formula needed for fire; the more oxygen there is, the stronger the fire can become, even resulting in explosions.
- Medical oxygen
Corrosive materials can pose two distinct risks, the first is to other materials, with the potential for construction materials, such as metal structures, to be corroded. The second risk is to humans, with many chemicals hazardous in relation to skin and eye damage.
- Drain cleaners
- Acetic acid
- Hydrochloric acid
These materials present a variety of health risks, from respiratory irritation to allergic reactions. These items can also cause skin irritation, drowsiness and should not be swallowed or inhaled under any circumstances. Not only are these substances dangerous to humans, they can also cause damage to our upper atmosphere.
- Washing detergent
- Toilet cleaning fluids
Symbolised by skull and crossbones, there is a serious risk of fatalities when anyone comes into contact with this waste type. Whether through inhalation, ingestion or simply through contact on the skin, these materials can be toxic to humans and animals.
Serious Health Hazard
These materials are dangerous if consumed, either purposefully or accidentally. They can cause damage to organs, cause cancers and genetic defects – they can also damage fertility or an unborn child for women during pregnancy.
- Lamp oil
Hazardous to the Environment
Dangerous most of all to wildlife, the environment needs to be protected from these materials. Aquatic life is most at risk, with a long lasting, toxic impact made on any habitat into which these materials are released.
All of these waste types are hazardous to humans, animals and the general environment, and while some of the waste examples fit across the categories, it is important to understand how to deal with waste. Disposal methods also play a large part in protecting us from hazardous materials, which is why it should be left to the professionals.
If you’d like more advice on disposing of your hazardous waste, or you’re seeking advice on whether your waste would be classed as hazardous, simply contact our professional team.