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How to…correctly manage hazardous waste

Hazardous waste is classed as any liquid, solid, sludge, powder, or gas that can cause damage to the environment or human health and the UK government has firm guidelines on the need to monitor and manage hazardous waste. 

For businesses that produce hazardous waste, it is of vital importance that the waste is dealt with correctly, so waste management experts Reconomy have created the following guide:

Waste classification

Whether your company is producing the waste material, or you are holding and storing hazardous material, the duty of care falls to you in terms of identifying and handling the waste material responsibly.

The most well-known examples of hazardous waste include:

  • Brake fluid
  • Printer toner
  • Batteries
  • Solvents
  • Ozone depleting chemicals, like those found in fridges
  • Asbestos
  • Pesticides
  • Oils, such as car oil

These materials, and more, need to be separated away from general waste.

Separation and storage

The four main sub-categories of hazardous waste are demolition, construction, agriculture, and industrial. These types of waste need to be stored separately and should be labelled so that everyone on-site can identify what is in the containers.

For liquid-based waste, ensure that bunds or barriers are used to prevent any leakages or spills. It is also important for all hazardous waste containers to have waterproof covers on in order to reduce the risk of run off and contamination.

Carrying out regular inspections of the containers is also important, as this can help to highlight any damage that could potentially lead to leakage.

You also need to keep an inventory of the hazardous waste and its location on-site. This can be incredibly important for the emergency services to have access to in the event of any incident involving hazardous waste on your site.

Maintaining accurate records

It is important to keep accurate paperwork regarding the hazardous waste you are storing. You will also need to fill out a consignment note when the waste is collected. This note needs to be completed before the waste is removed from the site.

You will need a consignment note if the waste is:

  • Being moved from one premises to another within the same company or organisation
  • Being collected from a business that is a registered waste carrier
  • Being moved from a customer’s premises after another business has produced the waste

You don’t need a consignment note if the waste is:

  • Domestic waste (other than asbestos)
  • Imported or exported under international waste shipment controls and has a different movement note requirement

Filling in a consignment note

For approved waste handlers to remove the hazardous waste from your site, you need to have a consignment note filled out with details regarding the waste to be removed.

You will need to supply the following information:

  • A full description of the waste, per type
  • The quantity in applicable weight or volume measurement
  • The chemical and biological composition of the waste
  • The form the waste is taking (solid, gas, liquid, powder, sludge, etc)

There is also a fee attached to the consignment note that you’ll need to pay. In England and Wales, the fee is £10 for one collection. If the collection is part of a ‘milk round’ of multiple collections, then the fee is reduced to £5 per collection. In Scotland and Northern Ireland though, the fee is set at £15.

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