In 2013, failure to make a hazardous waste determination cost Wal-Mart $110 million in penalities. If you create hazardous waste and you’re unfamiliar with the different types, then it’s possible that your company, business or organization may be in serious trouble.
Knowing the different categories can help keep your company as safe and environmentally-conscious as possible. If you fail to dispose and handle dangerous wastes properly, you will be held accountable and it can oftentimes be very costly.
In order for a company, business or organization to manage and dispose of waste properly, they need to know the major classifying types.
In this post, we’ll go over what exactly hazardous waste is, the four main types, how they are classified, examples of each and why it’s necessary to enlist the services of a certified laboratory.
What is Hazardous Waste?
Hazardous waste is defined as any substance or material that can have harmful effects on the health of people and the environment.
Typically produced by manufacturers and other industrial organizations, hazardous waste has been identified by the EPA as containing elements and properties that can produce potentially detrimental effects.
With that being said, there are very specific protocols to undertake when a waste is identified as hazardous. In determining how to properly treat the waste that has been produced, it’s important to be able to identify what classifications that hazardous waste falls into.
The Four Classifications of Hazardous Waste
Hazardous wastes often vary from one another. The EPA has identified four main categories in which hazardous wastes can be classified. With each categorization comes different risks and disposal methods. When left inappropriately treated or managed, these wastes can have very harmful effects on the environment. That is why it is necessary to understand the main classification categories of each. The four identifiable classifications are listed wastes, characteristic wastes, universal wastes and mixed wastes.
Read more: What Are the 4 Types of Hazardous Waste?