What waste is considered hazardous?

Most of the time waste can simply be tossed in the bin and disposed of through regular collections. But there are times when extra steps need to be taken, including when the rubbish is considered hazardous, and it’s a particular concern for businesses.

But what is hazardous waste? Simply put, what makes waste ‘hazardous’ is any properties that could potentially make it dangerous or harmful to either human health or the environment. Liquids, solids, and gases can all fall under this category and there’s a diverse range of products and items that you must dispose of properly.

In the UK, businesses have a responsibility, or duty of care, to ensure hazardous waste that they produce or handle causes no harm or damage. Failing to handle the hazardous waste in the correct manner can result in hefty fines and legal action being taken against the firm and those responsible.

Among waste that is considered hazardous are:

  • Asbestos – When breathed in in high quantities, Asbestos has been linked to several diseases, including lung cancer. The naturally occurring mineral was widely used in construction before being banned and it must be disposed of in line with strict regulations.
  • Paints – Some paints can contain chemicals, such as solvents and metals, that can contaminate groundwater. For this reason, paints shouldn’t be sent to landfill sites where they may leak and harm the environment.
  • Chemicals – There are a range of chemicals that are considered hazardous that some businesses may need to dispose of frequently, such as print toner and brake fluid.
  • Batteries – Batteries contain corrosive materials and heavy metals and under certain conditions can cause damage. As a result, there are rules on how batteries should be disposed of.
  • Heat and smoke sensors – Some heat and smoke sensors can contain small amounts of radioactive materials. While safe when in use, these materials can become exposed to the environment if they are sent to landfill.
  • Fridges – Fridges contain CFC gas and must be thrown away in a responsible manner. CFC gas doesn’t only pose a threat to human health but plays a role in destroying the ozone layer too.
  • TVs and monitors – Electronic items, including TVs and monitors, can contain potentially toxic substances.

Unsure whether your business handles items or chemicals that could be hazardous? The government provides a technical guide on waste classification or you can contact KwikSweep for further information and to book your hazardous waste collection.

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