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How Do I Deal with Hazardous Waste on my Site?

Read this blog to find out how to deal with hazardous waste on site.

Even if you don’t generate hazardous waste as part of your day to day activities, you are likely to produce it at some point. When you have hazardous waste to deal with, what do you need to do to make sure it is dealt with safely and legally? This blog will explain some of the requirements.

What is hazardous waste?

The Environmental Protection Act states that waste is any substance or object that the holder discards, intends to discard or is required to discard. To be considered hazardous, that waste must contain substances, or have properties that have the potential to make it harmful to human health or the environment. This means hazardous waste can always be considered hazardous, for example fluorescent light tubes or asbestos or be a non-hazardous material contaminated with a hazardous substance such as used spill kit.

Segregation and storage

When you generate hazardous waste, it is a legal requirement to segregate it from non-hazardous wastes and according to its hazardous properties. If you mix up hazardous and non-hazardous waste, you may contaminate the non-hazardous waste, which means it will have to be disposed of as hazardous, which can be very expensive. It is also important to segregate different types of hazardous waste to ensure that dangerous reactions do not occur. When storing hazardous waste, you should also consider any specific requirements according to the risk, for example, fluorescent light tubes should be stored in a specially designed coffin and batteries should not be stored in metal containers. Any liquid wastes, such as oils, should be stored on correctly sized bunds to intercept any spills or leaks.

Removal from site

Like all waste removals from site, you must make sure you have the correct documentation in place prior to removal. This includes hazardous waste you have stored on site but also any waste generated on your behalf, for example asbestos removal by a competent contractor. You must make sure the contractor has a valid waste carriers licence and that the waste is being taken to an approved facility and keep both licences/ permits on file. In addition, all removals of hazardous waste should be accompanied by a fully completed Hazardous Waste Consignment Note (HWCN), with parts A – D filled in. When leaving site, the contractor must leave a copy of the note with you. You cannot have an annual note to cover removal of hazardous waste and must complete a HWCN every time.

Quarterly returns

Even after waste has left your site, you still need to ensure your waste was received and accepted by the disposal site. Your contractor should send you a copy of your HWCN, with part E completed by the disposal site, at least quarterly. It should state that all the waste consignment was accepted by the disposal site and how it was treated. This, along with the HWCN must be kept on file for at least 3 years. For any waste leaving your site, you must ensure that you have a valid waste carriers licence and disposal site permit on file prior to its removal. In addition, hazardous waste must be accompanied by a fully completed HWCN. There are certain requirements for hazardous waste segregation and storage to ensure you are managing the increased risk appropriately. Do you regularly generate hazardous waste? How do you manage it? Contact Green Spark if you need guidance or support!