Hazardous waste guidance is provided by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and the Environment Agency. The Health and Safety Executive also provides guidance on how to store substances that are hazardous in nature. Until 2005 hazardous waste was known in England and Wales as special waste.
In order to fully comply with industrial waste regulations it is necessary to register with the Environment Agency if you produce in excess of 500 kilograms or 1,100 pounds, or 500 litres or 110 gallons of hazardous waste in a single year. Should a company produce less that this amount, it doesn’t mean that their waste is any less dangerous and all the other guidance rules should be strictly adhered to.
Registering with the Environment Agency is easy. It can be done over the telephone as well as by email or submitting the appropriate paper form. The charge for registering depends on the type of registration chosen. Electronic means works out the cheapest and using a paper form is the more expensive.
The European Hazardous Waste Directive (91/689/EEC) of 12th December 1991 sets out a framework of guidance that covers the managing, collecting and proper disposal of waste that is dangerous. The directive lists the various types of hazardous waste and categorises them according to a set criteria. This helps to ensure that different categories of waste are not mixed together, or that non hazardous product is not mixed with hazardous waste.
If it becomes necessary to transport or move a product then a consignment note must first be obtained. This is a way of tracking the whereabouts of such waste and it helps to ensure the safe and responsible management of materials that may be dangerous to life or the environment in general.
Regulations demand that any waste moved or transported is carried out by a registered waste carrier. The waste must also be accompanied by an appropriate consignment note, and the destination of the waste must be to a facility that holds a suitable permit for receiving and dealing with hazardous waste.
In addition, the place where the waste is moved from (if it produces more than 500 kilograms of waste in any year), must also be registered with the Environment Agency prior to the waste being moved if you plan on moving the waste yourself. A premises code unique to your location will be issued by the agency on application.
Hazardous waste is defined as being waste that holds the possibility of being harmful or dangerous to people or to the environment in some way. This type of waste can take many forms. It may be asbestos waste or spilt oil, old lead acid batteries or pesticides. There is no single definition; guidance on the management, recovery and disposal of such waste can also differ depending on what exactly the waste consists of.
Hazardous waste management is largely common sense. If a material or liquid is likely to be harmful to anyone who comes into contact with it, or if it is likely to be harmful to the environment, then it is probably hazardous waste and it will need to be treated in accordance with the regulations governing such waste.
C. J. Rose writes on the subject of waste management for industry and onshore/offshore environmental safety for Sureclean Limited, a global leader in industrial process waste management. Topics include HP & UHP water jetting (hydroblasting), tank/vessel cleaning, vacuum transfer/pumping, industrial painting, asbestos management/removal, HVAC/duct management, NORM management.
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