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Hazardous waste disposal in the UK is governed and controlled by the Hazardous Waste act amended in 2016.
It places a legal responsibility on the producer of the waste, to ensure they have safely disposed of their waste in the most environmentally friendly way.
They must now follow the waste hierarchy in order to try and reduce the actual waste produced in the first instance and if not possible follow the following disposal protocol:
Once the most appropriate disposal route has been identified the next stage is to classify your waste. This can be done by checking the European Waste Catalogue and matching your waste to a unique 6 figure code, further identified by the actual process giving rise to the waste.
This code will give you confirmation of whether your waste is treated as hazardous or non-hazardous.
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Our quick guide to hazardous waste:
What is hazardous and non hazardous waste?
The presence of an asterix and/or your waste stream being marked in red ink defines your waste as an absolute hazardous waste and under all circumstances it must be treated as such.
What is considered a hazardous waste?
A Waste containing one or more of the following:
Specific target organ toxicity and aspiration hazard
HP6 Acute toxicity
HP12 Releases toxic gases
HP15 After disposal produces a hazardous leachate, etc.
What is an example of a hazardous waste?
– Alkaline Caustics
– Mercury contained wastes
– Laboratory Chemicals
– Clinical Waste
Some wastes will be classified as mirror entries meaning that your waste may or may not be classified as hazardous. Further testing will be required to identify the concentrations and components of your waste to see if they are above certain thresholds.
All Waste Matters can arrange this testing on your behalf and advise further on the correct disposal method following this analysis.
If your waste is not classified as either a mirror or absolute waste, then provided no contaminants are present it would be suitable to treat this waste as non hazardous.
What are the types of hazardous waste?
Hazardous wastes can be liquid, solid, sludge or gas. The components and concentrations of these will determine how this waste should be disposed of.
How do you dispose of hazardous waste?
Hazardous waste disposal should only be carried out by companies with the appropriate licenses issued from the Environment Agency.
Prior to any collection it is advisable to request copies of these licenses.
In the first instance they should provide you with a copy of their waste carriers license, which authorises the company to transport waste legally throughout the UK.
They should also be able to provide you a copy of their site license of where the waste will be taken to.
All of this information is held by the Environment Agency and can be checked by visiting their website.
The hazardous waste should only be transferred under Hazardous Waste regulation consignment note.
This needs to show:
- Where the waste was collected from
- The company details of the waste carrier including their license number
- The EWC number of the waste, quantity of waste removed, a written description of the waste, composition, concentration and type of hazardous property and the type or size of containers.
- Process giving rise to the waste
- UN and packing numbers
- Any handling requirements
Once the waste has arrived at the hazardous waste disposal site it will then be checked against this paperwork and if all correct accepted.
A copy if this movement will then be sent to the Environment Agency on a quarterly basis.
It is highly advisable to retain your copy of this consignment note for up to 10 years.
How should you dispose of empty chemical containers?
Depending on what was originally stored in the containers you may be able to triple rinse these and send them onto your recycling company with your other plastic waste.
You should first notify your disposal company of their previous contents to see if this would be suitable for their processes.
If residual waste remains these should be treated as Hazardous and disposed of with a licensed company accordingly.