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Health & Safety Glossary

Hazardous Waste Management


What is Hazardous Waste Management?

Hazardous waste management is an essential but often overlooked aspect of environmental health and safety

Every year, millions of tons of hazardous waste are generated worldwide, and it is crucial to handle and dispose of these wastes properly to avoid environmental contamination and health hazards

Hazardous waste can be anything from discarded batteries or electronics to chemical waste generated by manufacturing plants, hospitals, and construction sites.

Hazardous waste management involves a comprehensive process of administering, handling, and disposing of harmful materials in an environmentally friendly manner.

hazardous wasteAre you aware of your business' legal requirements around hazardous waste management?

What is Hazardous Waste?

Hazardous waste refers to any discarded material that is potentially harmful or dangerous to human health and the environment. 

These materials can include chemicals, solvents, gasoline, batteries, mercury, and other substances that when mishandled can be a cause of fire, explosions, toxic gas discharges, or other environmental hazards

Hazardous waste can also result from industrial and manufacturing operations, and the disposal of hazardous waste can be complicated.

Examples of hazardous wastes include pesticides, solvents, batteries, medical wastes, and electronic devices, among others.

Why is Hazardous Waste Management Critical?

Improper disposal of hazardous waste can lead to severe environmental and health effects. 

Hazardous waste can contaminate soil, water, and air, leading to long-term health hazards. For instance, the dumping of industrial wastes can lead to soil contamination, resulting in the death of plants and animals, groundwater pollution, and soil erosion. 

Proper management of hazardous waste is necessary to prevent environmental, social, and health problems.

Environmental health and safety is a top priority for companies worldwide. As such, EHS teams and facilities managers must be keen on the kind of hazardous waste they produce and how it is disposed of. 

Often, hazardous waste materials generate from industrial and manufacturing processes, which makes it easy for one to overlook the dangers of improper disposal. 

That's why it's vital to work with professional hazardous waste management service providers for a more sustainable and safe environment.

Hazardous waste management is essential because it protects the environment and maintains the safety of the workplace. 

For example, EHS teams should practice effective hazardous waste management because harmful materials that get into the environment can pollute the drinking water, damage ecosystems, or even cause disease. 

Proper hazardous waste management keeps these hazardous waste materials from harming people, animals, and the environment.

Types of Hazardous Waste Management

There are different types of hazardous waste management to consider, and each must align with the waste material's classification. These types include secure landfills, waste incineration, recycling, and environmental remediation.

Secure landfills require the hazardous waste materials to be placed in a special storage zone where they can sit indefinitely as long as they are adequately contained. 

A waste incineration process involves burning the hazardous waste in a well-controlled system that neutralizes any toxic gas discharges. 

Recycling is another form of hazardous waste management and involves turning some waste materials into something useful.

Finally, the environmental remediation process is a comprehensive approach used to remedy the contaminated ground or surface.

Waste Disposal Options

After categorizing and labelling hazardous waste, disposal options available include on-site (within the facility) or off-site disposal. 

On-site disposal involves treating waste within the organization's premises using specialized equipment, such as incinerators or landfills. 

Off-site disposal involves sending hazardous waste to a licensed and authorized treatment, storage, or disposal facility. 

It is vital to ensure that the selected facility complies with local, state, and federal regulations on hazardous waste disposal.

Managing Regulatory Requirements

To ensure that hazardous wastes are managed and disposed of safely, federal and state environmental agencies have set regulatory requirements for hazardous waste management. 

The agencies regulate an organization's hazardous waste generation, handling, storage, transportation, and disposal. 

It is important for organizations to comply with these regulations to avoid penalties and fines.

Use EcoOnline’s ESG Software for Better Waste Management

EcoOnline’s ESG Software makes it easy for companies to record, categorize, and accurately measure their waste management data, allowing them to drive insights into different activities and record any activities related to waste management. 

This information can prove to be invaluable as companies start to carefully organize their waste management solutions and ensure hazardous waste is properly treated before disposal.