Hazardous waste includes a wide range of materials which present a threat to both humans and the environment in general. When disposing of this waste, it’s essential that you entrust a professional to handle the material and not to attempt disposal yourself. Regardless of the type of hazardous waste, handling it without training or the correct safety equipment could easily lead to injury.
In this guide to hazardous waste, we’re looking at the different kinds of hazardous waste you can find, why they’re dangerous and how they should safely be disposed of. Let’s start with the different kinds of hazardous waste you might encounter.
Kinds of hazardous waste:
Explosive – Waste which presents an explosion hazard – fireworks, for example – can cause serious harm if not handled or disposed of correctly. Explosive waste may also include chemicals or fuel tanks found during demolition.
Incineration or detonation is a common method of disposal, but this must be carried out by a professional to avoid injury from an unplanned explosion – including any rubble and debris that is scattered as a result.
Oxidising – Oxidising materials can contribute to the combustion of surrounding materials when exposed to heat or a source of ignition. Chemicals, bleach and other oxidising agents, which you’d find in a laboratory or hospital, can contribute to a fire, causing it to grow and spread faster. Some items – oxygen tanks, for example – can also be an explosive hazard.
Store oxidising chemicals away from other combustible items, and contact a licensed waste carrier to ensure they are handled, transported and disposed of safely.
Flammable – Items which will combust when they reach a certain temperature. Flammable waste typically refers to flammable liquids – most commonly found in commercial or industrial premises – such as fuels, solvents and oils.
To ensure that flammable liquids are safely disposed of, store used liquid containers and fuels away from other combustible items, label them clearly, and contact a licensed waste carrier to correctly transport and dispose of them away from your property.
Irritant – Any non-corrosive materials which can cause damage and irritation to the skin or eyes if you come into contact with them. Examples include: solvents, cleaning products, acids, detergents, paints, adhesives.
An irritant should be clearly labelled on the packaging, so avoid contact with your skin when using any of these products. Do not dispose of irritants down the drain. Instead, contact a hazardous waste disposal company to ensure they are disposed of in the most environmentally friendly manner possible.
Toxic – In general, toxic waste refers to substances which, when inhaled or ingested, can cause severe, often fatal, damage. There are some subcategories of toxic waste, including: specific target organ toxicity (STOT) acute toxicity, ecotoxic, aspiration toxicity, and more.
Pesticides, acids, clinical waste, solvents, paints, vehicle oils and battery fluid are all examples of toxic waste.
Toxic chemicals and substances should be treated with extreme caution, and should be disposed of with care by licenced hazardous waste carriers.
Carcinogenic – Substances which present a cancer risk when inhaled or ingested regularly or in large doses.
Asbestos is one of the most common carcinogenic waste materials. When faced with an asbestos-containing material during construction, renovation or demolition works, great care should be taken not to disturb the material. An assessment will need to be carried out, and a hazardous waste removal company should be contacted in order to safely dispose of the identified carcinogenic asbestos waste.
Corrosive – Corrosive substances can not only eat away and erode living tissue, but can also damage structural materials such as concrete or metal frameworks. Acids are corrosive and should be treated with caution at all times. Disposal should be handled by trained professionals – attempting to pour corrosive substances down the drain, or dumping them in the rubbish bin, can lead to extensive damage to the local environment.
Infectious – Materials which contain toxins or micro-organisms which can lead to disease in humans or animals. Infectious waste is usually limited to hospitals and laboratories. Examples can include: discarded blood, clinical waste, syringes, medical instruments, used medical apparatus and equipment.
All infectious materials should be safely contained, labelled clearly, and taken away by licensed hazardous waste professionals.
More information on hazardous waste
Above are some of the most common classifications of hazardous waste. However, others do exist so it helps to be fully aware of rarer materials so you can properly prepare when it comes to storing, handling and disposing of them. To learn more about the full range of hazardous waste materials and classifications, this extensive ‘waste classification guide’ has all you need to know.
Hinton’s Waste are proud to provide a comprehensive hazardous waste removal service throughout Croydon, Sutton, London and the surrounding areas. We ensure all hazardous materials are handled and disposed of in a safe and legal manner, ensuring all work is carried out in full accordance with the Hazardous Waste Regulations. If you have hazardous waste stored at your home or business premises, contact our knowledgeable team today to discuss our efficient disposal services.