Hazardous Waste Disposal: Best Practices for Businesses

Pile of reconditioned oil chemical drums

Proper hazardous waste management is crucial for UK businesses in today’s environmentally conscious world. It is not only a legal requirement but also essential for protecting human health and the environment. 

This comprehensive guide covers the best practices for hazardous waste disposal for businesses.

Why is Proper Disposal Important for Your Business?

Hazardous waste is any substance that poses a risk to human health or the environment. It can be in solid, liquid, or gas form. Proper disposal of hazardous waste is crucial for several reasons:

  • Protecting human health and safety: Hazardous waste can pose immediate and long-term risks to people who come into contact with it.
  • Preventing environmental contamination: Improper disposal can lead to soil and water pollution, harming ecosystems and wildlife.
  • Complying with regulations: UK law requires businesses to handle hazardous waste responsibly.
  • Avoiding hefty fines: Non-compliance can result in significant financial penalties and legal issues. 

Best Practices to Recycle Your Hazardous Waste

Recycling is always preferable when it comes to managing your hazardous waste. Here’s how to recycle hazardous waste efficiently:

1. Identify Recyclable Materials

Many hazardous materials can be recycled. For example:

  • Solvents can be distilled and reused
  • Oils can be re-refined or used as fuel
  • Batteries contain valuable metals that can be recovered
  • Electronic waste contains precious metals and other valuable materials

2. Find a Specialist Recycler

Look for companies that specialise in recycling hazardous waste. They should be licensed and have the necessary equipment and expertise to handle your specific type of waste.

3. Prepare for Collection

Ensure the waste is properly contained and labelled. Different types of hazardous waste may need to be kept separate to facilitate recycling.


Best Practices to Reduce Your Hazardous Waste

Reducing hazardous waste at the source is not only environmentally responsible, but can also lead to significant cost savings for your business. By implementing the following strategies, you can minimise the amount of hazardous waste your company generates:

1. Adjust Processes

Change production processes to generate less waste. This might involve using different raw materials or adopting more efficient technologies.

2. Substitute Products

Use less hazardous materials in your products. For instance, you could prioritise water-based paints over solvent-based ones.

3. Follow Good Operating Practices

Train staff in proper handling and disposal methods. Implement procedures to minimise waste generation and spills.

4. Recycle and Reuse

Implement recycling and repurposing programmes where possible. This might include on-site recycling of solvents or returning used oil to suppliers for re-refining.


Best Practices for Handling Your Hazardous Waste

Proper handling of hazardous waste is crucial for maintaining a safe work environment and complying with regulations. These best practices will help ensure that your hazardous waste is managed safely and efficiently throughout its lifecycle in your facility:

1. Train Employees

Ensure all staff understand the risks and proper handling guidelines. This should include regular refresher training and updates on any changes to regulations or procedures.

2. Use Appropriate PPE

Provide and use the right personal protective equipment (PPE). Depending on the type of hazardous waste being handled, this might include: 

  • Gloves
  • Goggles
  • Respirators
  • Protective clothing

3. Have an Emergency Plan

Prepare for potential spills or accidents. You should have procedures in place for containment, evacuation if necessary, and notification of appropriate authorities.

4. Keep Accurate Records

Maintain detailed logs of waste generation, storage, and disposal. This is a legal requirement and helps you track your waste management performance over time.

5. Conduct Regular Audits

Perform regular checks of your waste management practices. This can help identify areas for improvement. It will also ensure your ongoing compliance with hazardous waste regulations.


Choosing the Right Hazardous Waste Disposal Service

When selecting a service to deal with hazardous waste, consider the following:

  • Check licences: Ensure they’re licenced by the Environment Agency.
  • Ask about methods: Understand how they’ll dispose of your specific waste types. Make sure their methods align with best practices and regulatory requirements.
  • Consider cost: Get quotes from multiple providers. However, don’t compromise quality for price. The cheapest option may not always be the most compliant or environmentally responsible.
  • Look for expertise: Choose a company with experience in your industry. They’ll be familiar with the specific types of hazardous waste you generate and the best ways to handle them.


Best Hazardous Waste Disposal Practices Start With Packaging Reuse

For expert help with hazardous waste disposal, consider Packaging Reuse and Disposal Services. Our team of in-house chemists and hazardous waste professionals has 150-200 years of combined hazardous waste experience. We also have specialist commercial knowledge of the UK and European markets. 

We offer comprehensive, safe, and efficient hazardous waste treatment and disposal services. With our unique hazardous waste permit for hazardous packaging like IBCs (intermediate bulk containers), we can handle a wide range of hazardous waste types, including oils and chemical waste. 

Get in touch with our expert team today. We’re happy to help you navigate the complexities of hazardous waste management. You’ll gain peace of mind knowing your business is compliant and environmentally responsible.