Managing hazardous waste responsibly

By Anthony Davitt, Sales Director

Hazardous waste is one of the most complex and challenging aspects of waste management. The array of legislation can be daunting, not to mention the fact it's also overseen by many different regulators.

It not only includes gases, liquids and solids, it often included the containers they come in. And you can’t necessarily tell whether something is hazardous just by looking at it. As a result, some businesses take a chance and throw things in their general waste or recycling.

However, as well as having a legal obligation to deal with hazardous waste responsibly, the materials you're disposing of are harmful to human health and/or the environment. So it’s just not worth the risk.

There's also the cost implications. If your non-hazardous waste is found to contain hazardous material, the complete contaminated load may require transportation and disposal as hazardous waste. This will cost you significantly more than separating and handling the wastes separately.

7 top tips on dealing with hazardous waste

To help business improve the way that they deal with hazardous waste, we have created seven top tips. Following these will enable you to ensure its handle compliantly, that you aren't putting yourself, employees or the public at risk; and you aren't incurring any additional costs.

1.Understand what you are dealing with
Always refer to the Safety Data Sheet (SDS) and Control of Substances Hazardous to Health risk assessment (CoSHH sheet) to understand whether a substance or product is hazardous and how it must be handled, stored, transported and disposed of.

2.Train your staff regularly
Your team need to know what hazardous wastes could be on your site and how to deal with them safely and compliantly.  Employees need regular training and reminders, such as posters, in areas of your site where they may be dealing with, or come across, hazardous wastes.

3.Use the right container
Hazardous waste needs to be stored in separate, secure, durable, weather and corrosion resistant, UN-approved containers.  After using a container to store hazardous waste, that container may need to be decontaminated with a neutralisation solution before being reused, depending on what hazardous waste it has contained.

4.Signpost clearly
Ensure all your waste containers have clear labels as to what can and can’t go in them so that the right waste goes in the right container.  Ideally your hazardous waste container will stand out clearly from other waste containers – a good and easy way to ensure this is to have a totally different coloured container.

5. Audit staff, wastes and contractors

The only way to find out whether hazardous waste is being dealt with properly is to regularly audit. This not only means checking staff understanding but also looking at what’s in your hazardous waste container and what’s in your other waste containers.  Waste producers have a Duty of Care until waste is disposed of so you also need to audit your waste contractor.

6.Take ownership of what happens on your site
You may not deal with hazardous waste on your site but others may – for example if you subcontract cleaning services or decorating, if you are building or renovating. You may require subcontractors, as part of their contracts, to take away the waste generated during their activities – but you still need to securely keep SDS and CoSHH sheets in case there is a health and safety incident.

7. Choose the right supplier, Choose Powerday.
The right waste contractor will support you with all the above whilst ensuring your waste is transported by ADR trained drivers and under the oversight of Dangerous Goods Safety Advisor (DGSA) as required by legislation. They will ensure you have the correct paperwork and that your hazardous waste is disposed of correctly.

For more information about Powerday's hazardous waste services, click here.

Note: The above guidance applies to hazardous waste in the United Kingdom. Legislation may differ in Northern Ireland and Ireland – please refer to local regulators for information.   


About the author

Anthony Davitt has progressed through the business since joining the Company in 2009. Anthony has an incomparable understanding of our business and is responsible for Sales, National Solutions, Marketing, Customer Services.