The world of contaminated waste

Deceased rhinos, fighter jets and tanks. These are just some of the weird and wonderful items Cawleys Hazardous Services has been asked to collect over the years. You might think these sound like bizarre requests, but with the hazardous nature of these items, it’s paramount they are collected and disposed of correctly.

Contamination of waste streams

In waste and resource management companies such as Cawleys, it’s essential that waste streams are kept separate so that contamination is avoided – if dry waste items such as cardboard and paper get bailed together with waste that’s wet it jeopardises the ability to fulfill the dry waste’s full recyclable potential. This is even more essential with hazardous waste. If, for example, a substance such as diesel is spilled across waste that is due to be collected, it will not only damage the properties of the waste and reduce its ability to be recycled, but it will also create a health and safety risk for anybody who handles it without the correct precautions.

Recently, Cawleys assisted with a hazardous waste incident where a tank carrying sixty per cent nitric acid ruptured. As a well-known and established local brand, Cawleys are well known to local businesses who quickly got in touch with Cawleys to help solve the issue.

Industrial decontamination cleaning

Cawleys has a lot of experience working with factories and large warehouses offering clean down services and decommissioning.  Industrial decontamination cleaning is essential both legally and personally.  A clean factory or workspace involves more than just meeting regulations; it’s a matter of safety. A dirty environment can result in machinery breakdowns and accidents – risking safety, profits and even closure. An unclean work setting also impacts staff. Working in an unclean environment has an impact on how people feel. If a working environment is dirty it will lead to staff feeling undervalued and levels of morale will decrease. Low levels of staff morale are linked to higher sickness levels, more complaints against other staff members and a poorer standard of work.

Furthermore, in factories with machinery or valuable goods it’s important the clean is done with the utmost care. Recently, Cawleys industrially decontaminated a factory which handles precious metals. This clean had to be done by a hazardous team who were aware of regulations and the possibilities of contamination, rather than a general cleaning company to ensure no contamination of the precious metal particles took place, risking the efficiency, profits and reputation of the factory.

Hazardous waste at home

Even at home it's important waste is not contaminated. In a 2017 survey conducted by Cawleys and YouGov, 14 per cent of people said they weren’t sure which day to day items are classed as hazardous waste; while 22 per cent admitted to throwing batteries in the waste bin. This attitude towards hazardous goods in general waste poses health and safety risks at every part of the waste collection cycle, including places of work and the home, as well as at waste collection vehicles, storage and sorting areas.

Contamination Expo

Hazardous waste can easily contaminate waste streams if not handled correctly, both in the industrial and private sectors. This is why it’s important to Cawleys to spread the word about the dangers of high-risk waste and educate those in affected industries how the company can help dispose of hazardous waste correctly.

That’s the reason Cawleys is attending the Contamination Expo on the 12th and 13th September at the NEC Birmingham. Here, Cawleys can answer any questions you may have on safe and sustainable hazardous waste disposal. Please find Cawleys Hazardous Services at stand 5P40.

To find out more about Cawleys Hazardous Services, call 0845 260 2000 or email


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