As a business owner, operator or employee, you may be producing
materials that can harm people and the environment.
This booklet offers helpful tips on how to:
- Comply with federal and state hazardous waste regulations.
- Avoid penalties by properly managing hazardous wastes.
- Save money on disposal costs by reducing hazardous wastes.
Health and Environment
- Hazardous wastes spilled or dumped on the ground or disposed of in dumpsters may seep into the groundwater and contaminate drinking water supplies.
- Hazardous wastes may run off the nearest body of water where they may poison or kill fish and other wildlife.
- Hazardous wastes pose a health risk to you, your employees and your community.
- State and county inspectors may visit your business to ensure that hazardous wastes are being managed properly. State penalties may range from $100 to $50,000 per violation per day.
- Reducing hazardous wastes can reduce your production and disposal costs and reduce your liability risk.
- Your customers will appreciate your efforts to prevent pollution.
- Your community will recognize your business as a good neighbor.
A waste is hazardous if:
- It has any of the characteristics described below.
- It is listed as a hazardous waste in the Code of Federal Regulations, 40 CFR Part 261.
Ignitable wastes are easily combustible or flammable. If they have a flashpoint of less than 140 F or an alcohol content of 24% or more, they are hazardous wastes. Examples include some paints, paint solvents, other solvents and degreasers.
Corrosive wastes corrode metals or other materials or burn the skin. These liquids have a pH of 2 or lower or 12.5 or higher. Examples include rust removers, acid or alkaline fluids and battery acids.
Reactive wastes are unstable and react rapidly or violently with water or other materials. Examples include bleaches, oxidizers, cyanides and explosives, such as sodium azide and dynamite.
Wastes are toxic if they contain certain heavy metals, such as chromium, lead or cadmium, or toxic organic chemicals. Examples include some parts cleaners, chromium-bearing paints and spray booth filters.