Managing Hazardous waste as a business

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If your business is dealing with Hazardous waste, no matter what the type is, then it’s important to implement an effective waste management plan to tackle any problems that could occur, which can cause significant damage to your business.  Avoiding this is absolutely essential for all companies, especially when the waste can be harmful to the environment as well as its employees.

Usually hazardous waste is presumed to be in gas form however, this is far from the truth. Hazardous waste can be displayed in many forms, ranging from liquids, gases, solids and sludges, and this can often lead to groundwater and surface contamination. The British government have given strict guidance on how businesses should be handling this issue. Together, with Reconomy – providers of 8 Yard Skip – this guide will ensure that you’re managing these types wastes appropriately.

Labelling your waste
If your business produces or carries hazardous waste, the government stipulates that you have ‘duty of care; which means that you are required to handle and identify your waste responsibly.

When it comes to identifying your waste, it’s required to label them as the two following conditions: is it damaging to the environment? Is it harmful to humans? There are many examples of hazardous waste, but the most common include the following:

  • Asbestos
  • Batteries
  • Chemicals such as brake fluid and printer toner
  • Equipment that contain ozone depleting substances
  • Oils such as car oil
  • Pesticides
  • Solvents

If you identify any of the waste above that your business produces, then you will need to store them separately to the other waste.

Storing your waste correctly
Before doing any of this, a key would be to reduce the waste that your company produces as much as possible. Although not exclusive to these types, waste, and hazardous waste can be categorised within four main sub-categories:

  • Agriculture
  • Construction
  • Demolition
  • Industry

After you’ve minimized the amount of waste that produced in your business, you should then aim to store the hazardous waste in a safe, secure location and all containers used should be able to stop waste from escaping. When storing waste that is hazardous, it should be labelled accordingly, so that everyone on-site can identify it as such. In terms of contamination, waterproof covers should be used so that hazardous substances do not run off onto the floor or any other areas.

The hazardous waste should be stored separately, and if the waste is liquid, then a barrier or bund should be put in place to prevent spillages and leakages. When these materials are being stored onsite, employees should regularly check storage areas for damaged containers, or any other potential risks that may harm employees or the surrounding environment.  

Finally, you will need to keep a record of the hazardous waste that is on your premises, and where you’re storing it. This means if any incident does occur, the emergency services can deal with it effectively and safely.

Hazardous waste collection
A consignment note needs to be filled in once hazardous waste has been collected and taken away from your premises. This is an important part of hazardous waste collection as business owners need to be able to account for waste that enters and leaves their business.

Consignment notes are required for hazardous waste for the following:

  • When another business has produced waste, movements from customer premises.
  • Movements from one premises to another within the same organisation.
  • Collections from businesses that are registered waste carriers.

A consignment note is not needed in the following scenarios:

  • Waste has been imported and exported under international waste shipment controls that require a different movement note.
  • The movement of domestic hazardous waste – other than asbestos.

Detailing your hazardous waste
In order for the waste to be removed, you will need to provide details of the waste that you want disposed of, within the consignment note. This will allow the hazardous waste handlers to be able to remove it efficiently

Describing your waste
You will also need to give description of the types of waste or hazardous waste that you want to be taken away.

The Amount
You will need to detail the total weight of your hazardous waste in Kilo’s, and any liquids need to be converted into the appropriate volumes – ensuring they are a reliable measurement.

Chemical components
You will need to identify the chemical and biological composition of the waste before it’s disposed of, which should include hazardous and non-hazardous waste.

Physical Form of your waste
Is it a solid, liquid, gas, powder, sludge or mixed? The form of the waste needs to be described.

Once you’ve completed the consignment note, then payment is required. In England and Wales, the charge is £10 for a single collection. If this collection is a milk round (multiple collections), then this is reduced to £5 per note. Depending on applicability, the fee is set at £15 in Northern Ireland and Scotland.

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