Hazardous waste is more difficult to dispose of because you have a duty of care to ensure that it doesn’t cause any damage to the environment either now or in the future. This often means that hazardous waste ends up in secured landfill because this is the most obvious way to remove the waste without causing any potential damage.
However, hazardous landfill isn’t the only option for your hazardous waste. Many waste materials can be refurbished, treated or used in energy reclamation facilities, avoiding landfill sites altogether. Looking alternative disposal routes is always a good idea as you may find a cheaper, greener method for disposal.
Landfill should always be treated as a last resort for any waste type. Searching for the greenest route is a part of your Waste Duty of Care so even if your search doesn’t come up with a better option, you still need to be sure that you are putting the right waste in the right place.
Here are three options you should consider.
Refurbishing hazardous waste usually means cleaning a waste product to remove any hazardous material. Paint cans are a good household example of this. Though the paint is hazardous, once it has been washed off the tin, the tin can be safely recycled.
In the industrial sector, aggregate is a common hazardous waste type that can be refurbished and reused. Many water treatment plants use aggregate as a filtration media to remove hazardous substances. Over time, the aggregate becomes a hazardous waste itself. However, aggregate can be cleaned and, as WasteSURE have shown in our case study, refurbishing aggregate for reuse is a lot cheaper, more efficient and more environmentally friendly than removing and buying new. And, all this can be achieved on site too.
Refurbishing hazardous waste is a good way to reduce costs and reuse materials safely. Essentially, if you can wash away the hazardous elements safely, you should.
Treating hazardous waste is slightly different to washing it as treatments can include chemical, thermal, biological and physical methods. These methods usually split any hazardous components first and then work to turn any hazardous materials into non-hazardous materials by changing the molecular form. Sometimes this works for the entire content of the waste, but sometimes, hazardous materials remain that still need to go to hazardous landfill.
Choosing the correct treatment process will always depend on the type of waste you need to deal with. This means that you will need to do some thorough research to find out what the options are for your waste. But, if you have any problems, our team at WasteSURE will be more than happy to help.
Waste Energy Reclamation
Where a hazardous waste cannot be refurbished or treated, or where hazardous elements remain after treatment, waste energy reclamation can be a solution. Energy reclamation is often used to dispose of municipal waste that cannot be recycled. The process is very simple: all the waste is burnt in a secure kiln to produce energy which is added to the grid and is often used for streetlights and other amenities.
Waste energy reclamation isn’t suitable for all hazardous waste types. Explosives would certainly not be safe in a kiln! However, plenty of other hazardous wastes can be treated like this at specialist facilities, making it a viable option for lots of hazardous waste producers.
As always, landfill should be treated as a last resort for hazardous waste. For problematic waste streams, such as radioactive waste, secured landfill is the only viable option as the waste needs to be kept safe, and in particular regulated conditions. In fact, some nuclear waste is still waiting for a more permanent home as scientists work out how best to keep it contained for the future.
The more you can reduce the amount of waste you send to landfill, the better for your pocket as well as your environment. As with other kinds of waste, reducing the amount of waste you produce in the first place is always the best option. This might mean switching to a different material or technology or there could be other ways to make your business more efficient.
If you have any concerns about your hazardous waste, you aren’t sure what your hazardous waste is composed of or you simply want some advice on the best treatment processes, give us a call on 0333 301 0705.