Four Common Myths About Hazardous Waste Management

Posted on: 30 March 2015

Hazardous waste needs to be handled with care for the health of both community residents and the environment. Avoiding misconceptions regarding hazardous waste removal helps to keep everyone safe and prevent environmental damage. 

The following are four common and potentially dangerous misconceptions about the handling and disposal of hazardous wastes:

Any product labeled non-hazardous can be disposed of with normal trash.

Even if a product is labeled as non-hazardous, it should be evaluated before being disposed of to determine if it will create any hazards. Many municipalities have rules in place that classify business waste as industrial waste. 

Companies disposing of even non-hazardous products should check with a local environmental regulator if there are any uncertainties regarding the safety of disposal. 

DOT training isn't necessary for employees who sign hazardous waste manifests.

Any employee who will be involved with hazardous waste shipping has to receive DOT hazardous materials transportation training. This training involves an initial course and refresher courses at least once every three years thereafter.

Even employees who are merely signing a hazardous waste manifest as part of their job functions need to undergo this training so that they develop an understanding of safe shipping procedures. DOT training covers subjects such as loading, packaging, labeling, handling, and paperwork preparation practices involved with hazardous waste shipments. 

An individual or company disposing of hazardous waste isn't responsible for it once it reaches a disposal facility.

Provisions laid out by both the Resource Observation and Recovery Act of 1976 and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 place liability for hazardous waste on those who produce it.

Both of these acts stipulate that the company that produced hazardous waste could be responsible for cleaning up a polluted site if the waste begins to create environmental hazards  

The liabilities laid out in these two acts make it highly important for those who produce hazardous waste to find a reputable and trustworthy disposal service. If hazardous waste is properly handled by a disposal service, companies can avoid having to carry out cumbersome and costly cleanup projects on polluted sites.

Old paint can be applied to a surface, left to dry out, and thrown away.

Hazardous wastes like paint cannot be disposed of as regular waste even if they are left to dry out. Paints that are oil based and flammable are especially hazardous and need to be disposed of with care to limit a company's liabilities regarding potential disposal hazards. 

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