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May/17/2014 - 09:44:59 am

How To Treat Hazardous Waste

Waste is classified as hazardous when it possesses properties that might make it harmful to human health or to the environment, which in law look here means it is on the list of Waste (England) Regulations 2005 or is exceptionally classified as hazardous by the Secretary of State. It is also the case that there is a legal duty of care on producers of hazardous waste to ensure that their waste does not cause harm to human health or the environment. This duty includes ensuring that only authorised persons handle the waste; the waste only goes to a registered or exempt site that can accept the type of waste; a consignment note accompanies the waste; and the different categories of Hazardous waste are separated where technically feasible. In addition, the new Hazardous Waste Regulation obliges producers of more than 200kg of hazardous waste within England or Wales to register their premises with the Environment agency; and requires producers of hazardous waste to classify the hazardous waste accordingly and to dispose of it correctly.

Problems with hazardous waste arise when a waste disposal contractor deals with the waste in an illegal manner, either by taking it to an unregistered disposal site or by fly-tipping. In such cases responsibility remains with the waste producer and they may be liable for prosecution. For example, the Environment Agency recently charged a company for such an offence. The company had been trading for almost 10 years and operated a skip hire company and waste transfer station opposite a closed landfill site (but did not usually deal with asbestos). In 2007 six skips containing hazardous asbestos and foundry waste were found on the closed landfill site after being illegally and deliberately deposited by the company. On prosecution, the company was fined 15,000 for depositing hazardous waste and ordered to pay cost of 1,415.38. It is thus a legal requirement that hazardous waste must be disposed of at a landfill site that is authorised to accept it.

A landfill site authorised to accept hazardous waste may not be able to receive all types of hazardous waste, whilst a landfill site classified as non-hazardous may be able to receive certain stable non-reactive hazardous wastes if they have the appropriate facilities. In some cases, the local council may be able to collect the hazardous waste for a charge; and alternatively you may be able to deliver it to a household recycling or civic amenity site free of charge.

The current regulations for hazardous waste do not place obligations on those producing hazardous waste at domestic dwellings, but those produced at more institutional premises are subject to the requirements of the regulations. It is important to take note when disposing of hazardous waste that Hazardous waste should not be disposed of in the mixed municipal waste collection such as household and garden waste, because the mixing of hazardous waste with any other non-hazardous waste or any other category of hazardous waste or any material or substance is banned. With the exception of where the hazardous waste is produced as mixed waste or where the mixing is part of a disposal or recovery operation authorised and conducted in accordance with the requirements of an environmental permit or a registered exemption.

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By: Adekunle Osibogun

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Adekunle Osibogun - Environmental Law for Polymer Users

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