Health, Safety & Environmental

How to have an effective waste management system

If you’re a company dealing with hazardous waste, you need to ensure that you are working with a waste management organisation to help you out. When hazardous waste is improperly handled, it can be harmful to human health and environmental safety.

Hazardous waste doesn’t always come as a solid, but can be liquid, sludges and even contained gas – this can potentially contaminate any groundwater supplies. The UK government stipulates strict guidance on how to monitor and implement an effective hazardous waste solution, and together with Reconomy – providers of skip hire – this guide will ensure that you’re managing these wastes appropriately.

Identifying your hazardous waste

If you are a business that operates with hazardous waste, the government have stated that you have a duty of care – meaning it is your responsibility to get rid of it in the best way possible.

When picking our hazardous waste, it usually comes down to two factors – is it harmful to the environment or humans? There are many examples of hazardous waste, but the most common include the following:

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

If your business produces any of the above – it should all be stored in a different place to other waste that you produce.

Producing less and storing waste

As a business, you should be trying to limit the amount of hazardous waste that you produce. Although not exclusive to these types, waste, and hazardous waste can be categorised within four main sub-categories:

  • Construction
  • Demolition
  • Industry
  • Agriculture

You need to make sure that none of your hazardous waste escapes as it can be a danger, to prevent this you should store the waste in secure containers.  When storing waste that is hazardous, it should be labelled accordingly, so that everyone on-site can identify it as such. In terms of contamination, waterproof covers should be used so that hazardous substances do not run off onto the floor or any other areas.

You need to prevent any spillages if your hazardous waste is a liquid – use a barrier to stop this from occurring. When these materials are being stored onsite, employees should regularly check storage areas for damaged containers, or any other potential risks that may harm employees or the surrounding environment.

As a business, you should have a storing place on your premises for hazardous waste. This means if any incident does occur, the emergency services can deal with it effectively and safely.

Keeping track

A consignment note is required when getting rid of hazardous waste to ensure that everything has been noted. You should make sure this note is complete before the waste is taken away.

You will need to fill out a consignment note for the following:

  • Collections from businesses that are registered waste carriers.
  • Movements from one premises to another within the same organisation.
  • When another business has produced waste, movements from customer premises.

You will not need to fill out a consignment note for:

  • The movement of domestic hazardous waste – other than asbestos.
  • Waste has been imported and exported under international waste shipment controls that require a different movement note.

What hazardous waste?

You need to inform the waste disposers what waste you want to be removed and you can do this on your consignment note.

What waste?

You need to keep a full description of every type of hazardous and regular waste you want to be disposed.

How heavy?

You need to know how much waste there is, so weighing in Kilos is essential – if your waste is a liquid, this should be converted to the appropriate measurements.

Chemical components

Make sure that you can identify what chemical and biological composition are in your waste – whether this is hazardous or not.

Physical form

You need to have a physical form of what you’re disposing, this can range from liquids to powders and waste can even be mixed.

When your consignment note is complete, you need to pay for it. In England and Wales, the charge is £10 for a single collection. If this collection is a milk round (multiple collections), 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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