Home Editor's Picks Impacts of Hazardous Waste to Human Health and the Environment

Impacts of Hazardous Waste to Human Health and the Environment

Example of Hazardous Waste
Example of Hazardous Waste

As a business, when you’re dealing with hazardous waste, it’s important that your organisation has an effective waste management plan in place. Hazardous waste can be harmful to human health and the environment, if it’s not handled properly.

There are many forms of hazardous waste, including solids, liquids, sludges and contained gases; in these forms, it can frequently contaminate surface and groundwater supplies. The UK government orders strict procedures on how to monitor and implement an effective hazardous waste solution, and together with providers of skip hire, Reconomy, this guide will assist that you’re managing these wastes appropriately.

Categorising your Waste

With you being a producer or holder of hazardous waste, the government strictly requires that you have a ‘duty of care’, which means they expect you to handle and identifying your waste responsibly.

In general, waste that is hazardous is identified simply based on the following two conditions: Harmful to humans or damaging to the environment. There are a number of examples of hazardous waste, but the most common including the following:

  • Batteries
  • Pesticides
  • Oils such as car oil
  • Equipment that contains ozone depleting substances such a fridge
  • Asbestos
  • Solvents
  • Chemicals such as brake fluid and printer toner

If able to identify any of the above, then it should be store separately to the other waste that you produce within your organisation.

Safely Storing Waste

Before hazardous waste is stored, it’s important that you do everything possible to limit the amount of waste you produce. Although, waste and hazardous waste can be categorised within four main sub-categories.:

  • Demolition
  • Industry
  • Agriculture
  • Construction
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Once you’ve minimised the amount of waste that you produce, you should aim to store hazardous waste in a secure place and all containers should stop waste from escaping. If you’re storing waste that is hazardous, be sure they’re labelled accordingly, so that everyone on-site can identify it easily. Waterproof covers should be used so that hazardous substances do not run off on the floor or any other areas, stopping them being contaminated.

Each type of hazardous waste should be store separately, and if it is in a liquid form, a bund or barrier should be put in place in order to contain any spills or leakages. If they’re being stored on-site, then employees operate regular checks on the storages areas for damaged containers, or any other potential risks that may harm employees or the surrounding environment.

Lastly, be sure that you maintain a classified record of the hazardous waste that’s on your premises and where it is being stored. This will help emergency services deal with any incidents effectively and safely.

Keeping your records

To ensure that all of a business’ hazardous waste is accounted for once it is collected, you will need to complete a consignment note. This note needs to be completed before the waste is taken away.

The note is required for all hazardous waste, should the following scenarios occur:

  • When your moving waste from one premise to another within the same organisation
  • When collections are being carried out by registered waste carriers
  • When another business has produced waste, movements from customer premises
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The note won’t be needed if the following scenarios occur:

  • If you’re moving domestic hazardous waste other than asbestos
  • If the waste has been imported and exported under international waste shipment controls that require a different movement note.

Details of your Hazardous Waste

To fill out your consignment note correctly, so that approved hazardous waste handlers can take your waste away, you need to provide details about the waste you want to dispose.

Description of your waste

You need to provide a full description of each type of waste or hazardous waste that you want to be taken away.

Quantity of Waste

You will also need to provider details of the total weight in Kilo’s of your hazardous waste, and for any liquids they should be converted into the appropriate volumes to make sure they are reliable measurements.

Chemical Components

You always need to identify the chemical and biological compositions of the waste materials that you are disposing of, which include hazardous and non-hazardous items.

Physical form

You will need to enter the form that best describes the waste you’re disposing of: gas, liquid, solid, powder, sludge or mixed.

Once you complete the consignment note, the service needs to paid for. In England and Wales, the charge is £10 for a single collection. If this collection Is a milk round (multiple connections) then this is reduced to £5 per note. Depending on applicability, the fee is set at £15 in Northern Ireland and Scotland.


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