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How to effectively deal with hazardous waste

If your company
produces or stores hazardous waste, then it is your responsibility to ensure it
is stored and handled correctly. Of course, if this type of waste is mishandled
or poorly stored, it has the potential to damage both the environment and
people. In particular, hazardous waste can contaminate surface water supplies
and groundwater supplies, which in turn can lead to a much wider-reaching

It’s understandable
then, that the UK government has strict policies in place regarding the
monitoring and transport of potentially harmful material. Together with
Reconomy, waste management experts, we’ve produced this guide to help you
make sure your duty of care is being carried out correctly.

Identifying different types of waste

If you produce or
store hazardous waste on-site, you must identify the waste type in order to
correctly handle it. There are two main conditions that define different
hazardous waste types — the potential to harm humans, or the potential to
damage the environment.

Some common examples
of hazardous waste include asbestos, batteries, oils, brake fluid, printer
toner, and pesticides.

Of course, there are
many other hazardous waste products that could be identified on your site. It
is important to know the different types of hazardous waste your company
creates, as they need storing separately. For example, if you are working on a
construction site, you cannot throw hazardous material in the same standard 8
yard skip you have for general waste and rubble — each type of hazardous waste
needs its own container.

Safe storage for hazardous waste

Naturally, the best
way to manage hazardous waste is to reduce the amount you are producing. But
for some companies, hazardous waste products are an unavoidable part of the
process for their industry. In this instance, the waste must be stored,
recorded, then correctly transported.

There are four main
subcategories for hazardous waste: construction, demolition, industry, and
agriculture. Each type should be separately stored in a container designed to
stop anything escaping. To prevent contamination, make use of waterproof covers
to avoid any run off from the waste. Be sure that the containers are clearly
labelled so that everyone on-site is aware of what they are storing.

A classified inventory
of your hazardous waste stored on-site is also vital. These records will help
in the case of an incident, as emergency services will be able to quickly
attend to the problem armed with the right information.


Once your hazardous
waste is collected, you will need to fill out a consignment note. This needs to
be done before the waste is removed from your site.

Consignment notes
require the following information:

  • A full
    description of each type of waste that is being collected.
  • The
    amount, in applicable measurement units, of waste being collected.
  • The
    chemical components of the waste.
  • The form
    of the waste (solid, liquid, gas, etc.)

You need to fill out a
consignment note if the collection is from a business that is a registered
waste carrier, or if the waste is being moved from one premises to another
within the same company. You will also need a consignment note if another
business has produced the waste on a customer site and it needs moving.

You do not need a
consignment note is the waste has been imported and is covered by other
documentation, or for domestic hazardous waste (except asbestos).

Finally, there is a
fee to pay for the consignment note. In England and Wales, this fee is £10 for
a collection, or £5 per note if it is part of a milk round of collections. In
Scotland and Norther Ireland, the fee is £15.