Click to ExpandWhat is Considered Hazardous Waste?

Exposure to hazardous waste is a major safety concern in any area people might traverse or occupy. Left untreated, it poses serious environmental risks to soil and groundwater.

Homeowners and businesses can benefit from comprehensive hazardous waste services, including full HAZMAT certification and proper permitting procedures required for certain materials.

What is Hazardous Waste?

Hazardous waste includes any material that poses biological and/or chemical hazards to surrounding life. Hazardous waste presents harmful traits such as:

  • Corrosivity. Capable of dissolving metal and other materials
  • Toxicity. Poses a threat to the environment and human health (especially when inhaled, ingested, or absorbed through the skin)
  • Reactivity. Holds the potential for sudden, violent reactions
  • Ignitability. High flammability and/or explosion risk

What is Considered Hazardous Waste?

Many commercial and household products contain hazardous waste, including:

  • Batteries
  • Paint, primers, and paint thinners
  • Herbicides and pesticides
  • Cleaning solvents
  • Items containing mercury (such as thermostats and thermometers)
  • Old electronics (e.g., computers, televisions)

Industrial solvents and materials can be particularly hazardous due to the presence of:

  • Chemicals. Manufacturing facilities, tank cleaning, and pharmaceutical operations use a wide range of solvents, cleaning agents, and base or acidic compounds in daily operations. Fertilizers and pesticides used in agriculture are also common sources of hazardous waste chemicals.
  • Heavy Metals. Mercury, lead, arsenic, cadmium, and chromium are just several examples of toxic heavy metals that persist in the environment for long periods. Many electronic devices, batteries, paints, and other industrial chemicals also contain heavy metals.
  • Solvents. Degreasers, paint thinners, dry-cleaning fluids, and other organic solvents can be very toxic, sometimes even posing combustion and flammability risks.
  • Asbestos. Because asbestos fibers are incredibly damaging to the lungs, asbestos contamination requires highly specialized asbestos removal services, which U.S. Waste also provides. Old construction materials containing asbestos are one of the most common sources of exposure, and demolition or renovation projects require painstaking care to avoid creating friable (airborne) asbestos dust.
  • Biological Waste. Hospitals and laboratory settings can produce hazardous medical waste products, including needles and other items contaminated with biological agents that pose infection and other health risks.
  • Radioactive Materials. Nuclear power plants, medical facilities, and certain industrial processes use radioactive substances that must be carefully disposed of.
  • Oils and Petroleum Products. The oil and gas sector uses a variety of hazardous petroleum products and byproducts, generating large amounts of fuel and waste oils that could contaminate water and soil.
  • Electronics and E-Waste. Electronic devices containing heavy metals, flame retardants, and other hazardous materials require specialized e-waste disposal methods.
  • Batteries. Batteries also contain certain heavy metals and hazardous chemicals. Lead-acid and lithium-ion batteries are just a few examples of batteries requiring safe handling and disposal methods.

How Hazardous Waste is Classified

Title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) breaks hazardous waste into four categories by letter:

F List

  • Spent solvents
  • Electroplating and other metal finishing solutions
  • Dioxin-bearing waste products
  • Chlorinated aliphatic hydrocarbons and byproducts
  • Wood preservation solvents
  • Petroleum refinery chemicals
  • Wastewater treatment sludge
  • Multisource leachate

K List

  • Wood preservation solvents
  • Organic chemicals for manufacturing
  • Pesticides
  • Petroleum products
  • Pharmaceutical waste products
  • Inorganic pigments and chemicals
  • Explosives
  • Iron and steel manufacturing byproducts
  • Primary aluminum products
  • Secondary lead processing
  • Coking (via coal processing)
  • Ink formulation

P List

This list regulates various unused commercial products containing one of the chemicals on the P or U list.

U List

The U List regulates discarded commercial chemical waste, including off-spec products and manufacturing chemical intermediates containing hazardous material. This includes soil or debris that has been contaminated by products found on the U list.

Learn More About Hazardous Waste from U.S. Waste

Hazardous waste poses various health and environmental risks and requires strict handling and removal processes. It’s essential to accurately detect, identify, and dispose of hazardous waste in any setting, especially homes and businesses.

U.S. Waste specializes in a wide range of industrial hazardous waste management and disposal methods for various corrosive, toxic, reactive, or ignitable substances.

To learn more about our hazardous waste disposal, non-hazardous waste disposal, HAZMAT, and remediation services, contact us or request a quote today.

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