Hazardous Waste – How a Small Business Should Manage It

By law, It is any business’ duty to manage all their hazardous waste, regardless of its size.

Hazardous waste can take many forms, and it is important to learn about any effects and identify potential dangers that could be caused by incorrect handling. 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 and will need to be handled by a specialist.

How Do I Store This Waste?

All waste needs to be managed correctly, but it is vitally important that hazardous waste is managed, stored and disposed of in a safe and responsible manner.

  • Hazardous waste needs to be stored in a container with no possibility of leaks or corrosion, and it should be labelled properly so employees know it’s hazardous.
  • Watertight containers are essential to avoid contamination, especially if your waste is being stored outside.
  • Be sure to hazardous waste out of direct heat or sunlight, as it may 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 securely.
  • 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 workplace, you must first complete a consignment note prior to the waste being collected. This is required 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 you are 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 provide details about your waste when completing the consignment note so that the waste handlers know how to best dispose of the hazards correctly. This includes information such as:

  • Quantity – Indicate 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.

You should now be able to easily dispose of the hazardous waste your company produces.

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