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Hazardous waste and how to get rid of it

Businesses that operate with hazardous waste need to ensure that they have a waste management contract in place. When hazardous waste is improperly handled, it can be harmful to human health and environmental safety. Whether the waste you produce is solid, liquids or gases – this can eventually contaminate groundwater essentials.

The UK government stipulates strict guidance on how to monitor and implement an effective hazardous waste solution.

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Identifying waste

Businesses that handle hazardous waste have a responsibility which means that you have to identify your different types of waste and get rid of it accordingly.

Hazardous waste is usually associated with the two types of ways that it can be harmful, either to humans or to the environment. There are many examples of hazardous waste, but the most common include the following:

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

If you are able to identify any of the following, then it should be stored separately to the other waste that you produce within your organisation.

Before you store your waste

As a business, you must try and limit the amount of waste that you produce before storing it correctly. Although not exclusive to these types, waste, and hazardous waste can be categorised within four main sub-categories:

  • Construction
  • Demolition
  • Industry
  • Agriculture

When you’ve lowered the amount of waste that you produce, you should then store it in containers that prevent 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.

You need to prevent any leakages occurring, hazardous waste should be stored separately to avoid this. 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.

Keep your hazardous waste in a secure location so that if any incidents do happen, emergency services will be able to handle the situation in the most helpful way and in the safest way.

Consignment notes

A consignment note must be filled out when you’re getting rid of your hazardous waste so you know that all the waste is accounted for. You should make sure this note is complete before the waste is taken away.

A consignment note is required for the following situations:

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

A consignment note is not needed in the following situations:

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

Describing your hazardous waste

Reconomy – providers of skip hire – have provided this guide on how to fill your consignment note. You need to provide details on the type of hazardous waste you produce in order to get it removed from your premises.

The waste description

On the waste description of your consignment note, you should write down what type of waste you need to be taken away.

The quantity of your waste

When descripting the quantity, you should write the weight down in kilo’s – in relation to liquid, measure this in the appropriate volumes.

The chemical components in your waste

For this section, you need to identify both hazardous and non-hazardous waste materials that you require to be disposed.

The physical form of your waste

You need to narrow down the type of waste you’re disposing of, this could be liquid or solids.

When you have completed your consignment note, you will then need to pay for it. 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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