Hazardous Waste – How a Small Business Should Manage It

It is any business’ duty to manage all your hazardous waste, regardless of its size, unless you want to become wrong for all the wrong reasons.

Hazardous waste can take many forms, and the damage it causes is a good reason to learn about its effects and be able to identify potential dangers. Below are the main types of hazardous waste:

What is Hazardous?

Common examples of this type of waste include:

  • Pesticides
  • Asbestos
  • Batteries
  • Equipment with ozone depleting substances, such as fridges
  • Oils
  • Solvents
  • Brake fluid and printer toner chemicals

These should be separated from all other waste produced by your business, due to them easily contaminating general waste and generally needing specialist handling.

How Do I Store This Waste?

No matter how much you try to reduce commercial waste, you will always produce a lot as a product of your work. This needs to be managed properly.

Hazardous waste needs to be stored in a container with no possibility of leaks or escape, and it should be labelled properly so all employees know it’s hazardous. Waterproof coverings are essential to avoid contamination happening, as the water could push the water through the lid into other areas during a heavy rain, or seep out the sides if a container were to be knocked over.

Be sure to also keep them out the way of any warm areas or in direct sunlight, especially if amplified by its positioning in a room with a glass window, as some waste can react to warm temperatures or be highly flammable.

Each type of hazardous waste should be stored separately; solids away from liquids, with the liquids being stored in a secure way, acting as a defence against leaks or spillage. You should never ignore hazards and regularly check on the condition of the waste while it’s being stored.

Be sure to always keep a record of all hazardous waste on-site so you have a referral to emergency services should an accident ever occur.

Consignment Forms

Most sites will only be allowed to store waste on-site without a permit for 270 days. Should you want to remove the waste from your work site, you must first complete a consignment note prior to the waste being collected. This is for moving waste between two locations of the same business, collections for licensed waste carriers, or if another company has produced the waste on-site and it needs to be shifted from customer premises.

You will not need a consignment form if moving domestic hazardous wastes (aside from asbestos), or those either exported or imported through international shipment controls that require a new note.

You will also have to add details about your waste when filling out the consignment note so the waste handlers know how to best dispose of the hazards. These include putting down information on:

  • Quantity – Put down the total weight in kilograms of the waste, or an appropriate volume of measurement such as litres for liquid waste.
  • Chemical Components – Specify the chemical and biological composition of the waste.
  • Physical form – State if the waste is solid, liquid or gas, or if it’s a more transitional form such as sludge, powder or mixed.

Once this is filled out, you simply need to pay the cost for it. £10 is the average collection amount in England and Wales, or a regular payment of £5 per note if you’re looking for a series of consistent collections (£15 in Scotland and Ireland).

With that, you should now be able to easily dispose of the hazardous waste your company produces.

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