Think about the byproducts of your industry. Are your waste products hazardous, or non-hazardous? Most industries generate unwanted materials in varying quantities. These materials may range from spent gasoline, oils, paint, spent process chemicals, unwanted or unused product, universal waste and more. Dumping waste is illegal, and most licensed disposal facilities can only accept certain types of waste. You need to know the difference between waste products you may generate, and to find hazardous and non-hazardous solutions to safely and legally dispose of it.
Improper waste disposal can get you the wrong kind of attention: the EPA is very strict about classifying and disposing waste properly. Let’s start with an overview: what is the difference between hazardous and non-hazardous waste?
Non-Hazardous waste does not imply that this material is not environmentally sensitive and doesn’t need special treatment, it simply means it is not regulated by the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) or TSCA (Toxic Substance Control Act). There are many waste streams that are deemed non-hazardous that still need to be handled property. These waste streams include certain oils, antifreeze, glycol, petroleum impacted soils and debris, latex paints, magnesium, copper, aluminum, etc. and they must be handled by a licensed disposal facility that is permitted to accept each type of material.
Many other items can be recycled but still must be done properly by a licensed facility. These items may include general items such as aluminum, steel, paper, glass, plastic, etc. In addition, other materials classified as UNIVERSAL WASTE can be recycled under certain conditions. A Universal waste is a waste that would normally carry a RCRA waste code but the code is removed if it is used for beneficial reuse by means of recycling. Examples of Universal Wastes would be batteries, fluorescent light tubes and ballasts, etc.
As the name suggests, hazardous waste is any waste that poses an immediate or cumulative threat to human and environmental health. Hazardous waste regulation falls under the RCRA and Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA) as governed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Hazardous waste requires special packaging, handling, and transportation by professionals who are specially trained in awareness and proper disposal methods. The EPA explains that hazardous waste products can be found on a list, or it exhibits characteristics of hazardous wastes.
The RCRA waste characteristics are:
Ignitability: Flammable waste that includes liquids with a flashpoint below 140°, compressed gasses, fuels including oil, gasoline, and diesel. Some solid waste products have ignition potential under specific conditions and are added to this classification as well.
Corrosiveness: The waste can cause rust or decomposition, especially to metals such as steel. Acids with a pH of 2.0 or lower and bases with a pH of higher than 12.5 will fall under this classification.
Reactivity: Waste under this classification includes something that is unstable under normal conditions. They can cause explosions, toxic fumes, gases, or vapors when heated, compressed or mixed with water.
Toxicity: These hazardous waste substances are poisonous when ingested, inhaled, or touched.
Hazardous waste can be classified in any of these four categories, and sometimes in more than one. These wastes are frequently produced as byproducts of manufacturing.
TSCA waste are waste that are regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). These chemicals will be designated as High-Priority Substances or Low-Priority Substances. RCRA then decides if a waste code needs to be assigned. If a waste code is assigned, then the substance is designated as hazardous waste. If a waste code is not assigned, the waste may not contain a waste code but can still be extremely environmentally sensitive. In other words, a chemical substance can be a High-Priority Substance through TSCA but not carry a RCRA waste code. An example of this would be Poly Chlorinated Biphenyls (PCB’s). The EPA oversees both RCRA and TSCA and violations carry the same penalties so a generator of a waste needs to ensure all waste is classified and handled correctly.
Finally, there is biohazardous waste that includes liquids such as blood or urine, biological samples and cultures, and other biologically contaminated materials that must be handled by licensed professionals as well.
Why Hazardous and Non-Hazardous Solutions Require Specialists
Environmentally conscious corporations understand that proper hazardous and non-hazardous waste disposal is a boost for their image. They also understand that the EPA takes waste disposal seriously, levying huge fines against companies who do not adhere to their standards.
We are the professionals for all your hazardous and non-hazardous waste solutions, including identification, transportation, and proper disposal. We provide:
- Removal of non-bulk & bulk non-hazardous waste
- Transport and disposal of non-bulk & bulk hazardous waste
- Identification of unknown waste products
- Waste characterization, profiling, labeling, and manifesting waste
- Consolidation of on-site waste streams
- Lab pack services
ACE’s highly specialized and permitted trucks and trained chemist and technicians will handle any size of waste removal in a compliant, safe, and efficient way. Our entire fleet is maintained and holds the permits to meet all regulations governing hazardous and non-hazardous waste solutions.