In 2009, the United States generated 32,285,300 tons of hazardous materials.
Some was burned for energy, some was stabilized for long-term containment, and some was buried or incinerated. Regardless of each ton’s fate, it all had to be labeled and transported according to strict governmental regulations.
What is Hazardous Waste?
There are many types, and classifications have changed over time. Several common groups include:
- Househole Waste such as paint and solvents
- Automotive Wastes such as oil and antifreeze
- Industry Wastes such as from petroleum
- Pesticides such as rinse material from containers and spray equipment, and leftovers
- Radioactive Wastes produced from nuclear power generation and technology
- Biomedical Waste generated in labs and hospitals
Containers Used to Transport Hazardous Waste
Containers must be made of, or lined with, materials that will not react with the hazardous waste to be stored.
- Metal and Plastic Drums
- Plastic Buckets such as for sharp scalpels and syringes
- Amber Bottles lab / hospital chemicals
- Intermediate Bulk Containers (IBC) aka totes or tanks used to store and transport fluids and other bulk materials
Manifests, Labels and Waste Profiles Explained
What is a manifest, and how is it used?
The Hazardous Waste Manifest is a tracking document that has multiple forms, material information, and instructions. It’s intended to serve as the main tracking document from where the waste is generated to where it’s finally treated, stored, or disposed of. The waste generator uses the manifest to verify that their waste has been transported and disposed of in accordance with regulations.
What is a waste profile?
A description of the material characteristics, chemical composition, applicable waste codes, the waste generation process, and DOT shipping information.
In some situations, a sample of the waste accompanies the waste profile, so that the receiving facility can confirm the characteristics and treatment method.
What Must Appear on Labels?
Prior to Transport, Labels must include:
- The date the container started to be filled with hazardous waste.
- The words “hazardous waste.”
- Waste generators name.
For Transportation, Labels must include:
- All department of transportation required information
- Manifest information fully completed
Tips for labeling containers:
- Use the same labeling method e.g. handwritten, prepared labels, and make sure all handlers know what the markings mean.
- Include information about contents e.g. toxic, reactive, incompatible
- Apply DOT labels to the container when waste is first placed in the container. This will help the handlers.
- Wash off or black out old labels before reusing containers.
How is Hazardous Waste Disposed?
- Hazardous and non-hazardous wastes are blended into fuel source in cement kilns, other manufacturers, or power plants.
- Performed properly, incineration destroys the toxic organic consituents and reduces the volume of the waste.
- The waste is mixed with cement to immobilize contaminants.
- Prepared sites where non-liquid hazardous waste are deposited for final disposal and then covered.
- The waste is mixed with encasing materials before solidification occurs.
- An encasing material is poured over and around a larger mass of waste, enclosing it in a solidified block. Sometimes this process is combined with micro-encapsulation.
Infographic by WasteXpress