Even if you don’t know it, most businesses produce some degree of hazardous waste which, in some cases, can be extremely dangerous.
When it comes to waste, it’s not always easy to tell which items are hazardous. If you’re busy running your business, it isn’t likely that your rubbish is your top priority, however, disposing of hazardous items in the wrong way can have significant and dangerous consequences which could result in a fine or even a custodial sentence.
Why is some waste hazardous?
Hazardous waste is any type of waste that has the potential to be harmful to health or the environment. As such there are ‘Hazardous Waste Regulations’ in place to ensure these items are properly disposed of.
In 2005 the guidelines were widened to bring items, including computer monitors, TVs, fluorescent tubes and other electrical items in scope and away from obvious chemicals and dangerous substances, it is likely that most businesses now produce some form of hazardous waste. Even items such as used batteries can be classified as hazardous and these have recently been the focus of the Environmental Services Agency’s latest safety campaign ‘Take Charge’. This campaign highlights the fire risks associated with disposing of these batteries with everyday general waste and hammers home the importance of taking these to a recycling site or including them in a hazardous waste collection. Batteries can easily ignite during the sorting and segregating process at waste and recycling sites and are still causing hundreds of fires, putting a drain on our firefighting resources and putting lives at risk.
However, batteries are only one example of the many dangerous items we see thrown in the general waste Cawleys collect each day causing real risk to our personnel and equipment. In reality disposing of these items needs specialist skill and expertise, as well as the correct audit trail which we can easily provide.
So, which waste items are actually hazardous?
Hazardous waste varies enormously, here are just a small selection of common items deemed as hazardous:
- WEEE (Waste Electrical & Electronic Equipment)
- Fluorescent lighting
- Computer screens and keyboards
- Paints and cleaning fluids
- Contaminated solids with oils
Can you really recycle that?
The variety of hazardous wastes is huge but it might surprise some that many of these can actually be recycled.
WEEE (waste electrical and electronic equipment) is very recyclable and our treatment routes include the recovery of materials like plastic, metal and circuitry that makes up an electronic device.
Waste Aerosols, as another example, can be punctured under controlled conditions and metals, solvents and plastics can then be separated and recovered.
In fact, it is now a legal requirement to recycle as much as possible and Cawleys always abides with the Waste Hierarchy where recycling is preferred putting useable elements and components back into the supply chain to reduce reliance on valuable raw resources.
Hazardous is our specialist subject
Disposing and recycling hazardous waste is far from simple but Cawleys has been collecting hazardous wastes for over 30 years and has the right experience and expertise to help waste producers. This specialist knowledge has helped our customers with some tricky wastes at times but always ensuring that we collect safely and with full compliance. With a full fleet of collection vehicles, including bulk liquid tankers, there is very little that we have not come across and we have normally been at the front of the industry when dealing with new waste streams like we have with Lithium Batteries from Electric cars.
More recently we have been able to advise on wastes affected by the Coronavirus pandemic as well as operating in a COVID-Secure way and offer a new Virucide Fogging service to help clean critical working areas.
Whether your business is large or small, now is the ideal time to review your waste management and recycling arrangements. Many companies offer a free waste audit but very few can offer the complete solution from just one provider, discover more at Cawleys.co.uk