Hazardous materials can be present in a variety of work environments across a number of industries. In these situations, organizations are legally required to address the contamination. However, they are typically underqualified to handle it alone.
It is important to know what hazardous chemicals are and how to identify them and ensure workplace safety. Unfortunately, the disposal of hazardous waste must happen somehow, but we can take measures to reduce their harmful consequences.
Here we discuss the most common types of hazardous and non-hazardous wastes and how to dispose of them. You will also learn about hazardous recyclable material and environmental protection services. Before we begin, let us define hazardous and non-hazardous wastes.
What Is Hazardous Waste – Regulation & Disposal
Hazardous waste is something that poses a serious threat to the environment or human health if improperly disposed of. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines a substance as a hazardous material if it appears on a specific list of hazardous waste regulations. The RCRA (Resource Conservation and Recovery Act) regulates hazardous wastes.
In contrast, non-hazardous subject waste does not pose a severe threat to the environment or human health. However, that does not mean that you can dispose of it in a garbage container or sewer line as it is still risky. The majority of global subject waste (metals, glass, plastics, paper, etc.) is not toxic and therefore not hazardous.
The RCRA considers solid materials and garbage to be non-hazardous solid wastes. Other contents such as containers, liquids, semisolids, and slurries are also viewed as solid waste under this definition.
Identifying Hazardous Materials & Disposals
Almost a quarter of all employees work with hazardous materials such as chemicals, flammable liquids, and gases. In addition to gas and powder, hazardous materials are liquid, solid, and dust as well. They can be either pure or diluted.
It is a legal requirement for manufacturers and importers of hazardous content to provide warning labels and Safety Data Sheets (SDS) with their dangerous goods.
Check the controlled product’s container label and/or the supplier’s SDS to determine whether a material is hazardous. An SDS may not be required if a dangerous good is not classified as a hazardous chemical under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011.
Correspond with the product’s supplier if you are uncertain. In addition to the words ‘danger’ and ‘warning,’ hazardous chemical labels usually include pictograms and hazard details.
Types of Hazardous Waste
Hazardous wastes include mercury-containing batteries, fluorescent light bulbs, industrial solvents, paints, herbicides, and pesticides. Additionally, controlled products contain medical waste, such as sharps, contaminated gloves, human tissue, etc. Some common hazardous wastes are listed below.
There are four official waste lists: F, K, P, and U. On the F list, there are hazardous wastes from common manufacturing and industrial applications that are not source-specific. Examples include spent solvents.
K-lists identify wastes that come from specific sources within manufacturing and industry. P and U are wastes derived from commercially pure, unused chemical formulations.
Hazardous Household Waste
There are many organizations in the industrial, agricultural, and medical fields that use hazardous materials. Their hazard level depends on their concentration. For example, hazardous household wastes are usually not that dangerous, but they could still pose risks to your health.
Common hazardous content in the workplace and households include:
- Materials with caustic properties
- Fire-prone household hazardous waste (controlled products)
- A toxic or corrosive substance
- Metals such as mercury, lead and cadmium
- Petroleum products
Household Hazardous Waste: Possible Side Effects
Exposure to hazardous substances (concentration and duration) has different health effects. It is possible to inhale hazardous substances, splash them on the skin, or swallow them. Here are some of the potential health effects:
- Vomiting and nausea
- Dermatitis, or rashes on the skin
- Chemical burns
- Birth defects
- Lung, kidney, or liver disorders
- Neurological disorders
Environmental Hazards: Highest Cause of Death & Injuries
The following hazardous commodities are considered most hazardous due to their high levels of exposure and associated deaths, serious injuries, or hospitalizations.
There is a high risk of exposure associated with this flammable liquid. Flames are a common byproduct of household hazardous wastes. Smoking and using ignition sources when handling gasoline can result in injuries.
Store gasoline in approved containers and only use it in well-ventilated areas. Read our explosion hazard prevention tips to learn more about preventing such disasters.
Volatile materials are extremely reactive, especially when heated. Since it can severely damage lungs and kill if they are leaked, its’ transportation is prohibited. In spite of its’ hazards, it remains a critical industrial chemical.
Diesel fuel has a high rate of exposure, just like gasoline. Diesel engines power many common vehicles, including commercial trucks, trains, boats, and passenger cars.
Emergency response workers often come into contact with this hydrocarbon-based fuel during diesel spills. This compound can cause irritation of the eyes, skin, lungs, and respiratory system, as well as dizziness, headaches, or nausea.
Propylene is a key product in the petrochemical industry, used to make films, packaging, and more. The handling of this volatile flammable gas poses a fire hazard, especially in close proximity to equipment capable of igniting it.
We recommend contacting environment and fire specialists like Roar Engineering Nathan Brown when handling propylene.
Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG)
Propane or butane are other names for LPG. In addition to being used in refrigerants, it is a common fuel for appliances and vehicles. The mixture of hydrocarbon gases must be stored in pressured vessels to mitigate the fire risk. In the event of a fire, LPG can cause significant explosions.
Carbon Dioxide, Refrigerated Liquid
Gases like this are used to freeze and chill food products during transport. Inhaling its vapours can cause dizziness or asphyxiation while coming into contact with the gas, or liquefied gas can cause burns, severe injuries, and frostbite.
Acid sulfuric is highly corrosive. Its’ common uses are cleaning agents, fertilizer manufacturing, oil refining, and wastewater treatment. The fumes can cause serious lung damage and severe burns if they come in contact with human skin.
Special Handling of Dangerous Goods
There are several reasons why subject waste requires special handling, including:
- Human health protection
- Environment protection
- Fire prevention, leak detection, and spill prevention
- Promoting sustainable practices
The Importance of Environmental Remediation
Remediation of the environment simply means eliminating contaminants from soil, surface water, groundwater, sediment, etc. A contaminated area is reclaimed through environmental remediation if it poses a risk of damaging nature or human health.
Our experts will conduct an in-depth inspection to determine the cause and origin of the pollution. Fuel oil, mould, or asbestos can cause contamination. We will create a scope of work to remove contaminants, repair damages, and clean up the site.
The Environmental Remediation Process
Most often, environmental remediation is required when the EPA sets the key standards. Additionally, it is important to note that some sectors may have additional legislative standards.
One of the main reasons why businesses should work with environmental remediation experts is when their work contaminates the environment. Our Expert Team of Environmental Remediation specialists is familiar with all the applicable regulations and standards and will guide you along the way.
ESA Regulations, Evaluation & Remediation
The remediation of different types of contamination requires a different process and technology. Environmental remediation teams also usually consider applicable standards and regulations when choosing technologies.
As part of the remediation process, they will also use the information from the original assessment to identify the necessary safety precautions they need to take to protect all workers. It would be impossible for a basic guide to cover all the types of remediation that may be necessary when an environment is contaminated.
- Mould sampling and air quality monitoring
- Independent laboratory testing
- Remediation and abatement protocols
- Sources and causes of environmental contamination
- Moisture, fugitive liquids, and mould surveys
- Analyses of air quality
- Investigations and remediation of fuel oil spills
- Underground tanks
- Evaluating hazardous materials
- Microbial influenced corrosion
- Safety and response to chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear agents
Hazardous Waste Regulation & Legislation
Based on the CANADA National Reporting to CSD in 2019, the provinces are constitutionally responsible for the majority of solid waste activities. There are mainly three spheres of federal authority: federal lands, federal facilities, and Indian lands.
Canada’s Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA 1999) allows the government to regulate the movement of hazardous waste, recyclable material, and non-hazardous waste.
Hazardous Waste Management: Recycling Hazardous Products
The management of hazardous waste involves the collection, treatment, and identification of materials deemed hazardous. In order to minimize damage to human and environmental health, hazardous waste needs to be handled by specialist teams and equipment.
EPA regulation created hazardous waste recycling regulations to promote the reuse and reclamation of useful materials in a way that is both healthy and environmentally responsible. If hazardous waste is used, reused, or reclaimed; it is recycled.
Hazardous household waste items can harm your health or the environment, so do not place them in your trash or recycling bins. You can take hazardous household waste to recycling centers.
For more information, contact your local authority or locate your nearest hazardous waste disposal facility.
Chemical exposure at the workplace can have a variety of short- and long-term health effects, including poisoning, skin rashes, and lung, kidney, and liver disorders.
Using Roar Engineering Environmental Remediation Services will ensure your household and office safety. Once the remediation work is complete, we ensure that your site is clean in accordance with all regulations and standards.