How business can implement an effective hazardous waste management plan

As a business, if your organisation is dealing with hazardous waste than it’s important that you have an effective waste management solution put in place. When hazardous waste isn’t handled properly, it can be harmful to the environment and humans too.

Hazardous waste can be displayed in many forms, including solids, liquids, sludges and contained gases; in these forms, it can regularly contaminate surfaces and groundwater supplies. The UK government gives strict guidance on how organisations should monitor and implement an effective hazardous waste solution, and together with Reconomy – providers hazardous waste skips – this guide will ensure that you’re managing these wastes appropriately.

Waste Classifying
If your company produces or is a holder of hazardous waste, the government stipulates that you have ‘duty of car’ to identify and handle your waste responsibly.

Identifying hazardous waste are based on the two following conditions: Is it harmful to humans and is it damaging 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 manage to identify any of the above, then it needs to be stored separately to the other waste that you produce within your organisation.

Safely storing waste
Before storing hazardous waste, it’s important that you try to do everything that you can to limit the amount of waste that your company produces. Although not exclusive to these types, waste, and hazardous waste can be categorised within four main sub-categories:

  • Construction
  • Demolition
  • Industry
  • Agriculture

After you’ve minimised the amount of waste that you produce, you then should aim to store the hazardous waste in a secure location, and all containers should 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 different types of hazardous waste should be stores separately, and if it is a liquid form, a bund or barrier should be put in place in order to contain any spills or 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.  

Lastly, ensure that you maintain a classified record of the hazardous waste that is on your premises, and where it is being stores. This will help If an incident occurs because the emergency services can deal with it effectively and safely.

Consignment Note
In order to ensure that all of the business’ hazardous waste is accounted for once it collected, you will need to complete what is known as a consignment note. You should make sure this note is complete before the waste is taken away.

This note is required for all hazardous waste in the following scenarios:

  • 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.

However, in the following scenarios, this note is not needed:

  • 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.

Hazardous waste description
To fill in your consignment correctly, so that approved hazardous waste handlers can remove your waste, details of the waste that you wanted disposed of will need to be provided.

Type of waste
You will need to detail each type of waste or hazardous waste that you want removed.

You will need to provide the weight of your hazardous waste in Kilos and for any liquids, they should be converted into the appropriate volumes – ensuring that they are reliable measurements.

Chemical components
The chemical and biological composition of your waste will need to be detailed, which include hazardous and non-hazardous items.

Physical form
The form that best describes your waste will need to be stated, whether it’s a gas, solid, liquid, sludge, powder or mixed.

When the consignment note has been completing, 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.

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