Methods of Hazardous Waste Disposal for Businesses

Hazardous Waste Disposal for Business

Methods of Hazardous Waste Disposal

Hazardous materials need to be treated at approved Government disposal facilities. They are toxic to the environment and a danger to human health.

Hazardous waste disposal is a complex and regulated process. All hazardous materials are subject to stringent hazardous waste programs from Government regulations designed to protect public health and the environment. Chemical wastes, in particular, must be managed carefully to avoid contamination of soil, water, or air.

There are several methods of hazardous waste disposal, each with its benefits and drawbacks. Businesses must choose the way that best suits their needs and comply with all applicable Government regulations. When I sat down with Blane Mitchell, owner of Pro Skip Bins based in Brisbane he stated “we have strict Government guidelines in Australia and heavy penalties apply for noncompliance”, especially for large quantity generators. In this article, we will discuss common treatment and disposal methods.

About hazardous waste

Hazardous waste is a term used to describe material that threatens human health or the environment. This includes materials that are toxic, corrosive, flammable, or explosive. Therefore, it’s essential to adhere to hazardous waste regulations, as it can harm people and the environment.

Waste Types

1. Toxic

Toxic wastes can come from various sources, including manufacturing plants, power plants, and hospitals. Poisonous wastes include mercury, asbestos, PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls), and dioxins. Improper disposal of these materials can contaminate air, water, and soil, leading to serious health problems for humans and animals.

2. Chemical

It can come in many forms, including liquids, solids, gases, and radiation. Some common types of chemical waste include paints, solvents, pesticides, pharmaceuticals, and heavy metals.

3. Flammable

Flammable waste is potentially explosive or capable of igniting. Some examples of ordinary flammable wastes include solvents, oils, paints, thinners, and adhesives.

4. Corrosive

Corrosive waste can be any liquid, solid, or gas that can cause damage to metals, rubber, and plastics. Some common examples include motor oils, aerosols,  battery acid, bleach, and ammonia. Also included are universal waste like e-waste, electronic devices, and fluorescent light bulbs.

5. Infectious

Infectious waste is any waste that contains pathogens, which are organisms or agents that cause infection. Pathogens can be diseases, viruses, bacteria, parasites, or fungi. Some common examples of infectious waste include: – Medical waste, Laboratory waste, Animal carcasses, and Sewage sludge.

6. Radioactive

Radioactive material is commonly classified into three categories: low-level, intermediate-level, and high-level radioactive waste. Examples of radioactive materials include used reactor fuel rods, reactor core components, and laboratory wastes that contain radioisotopes.


Methods of Hazardous Treatment

Treatment Methods

Chemical treatment

There are several ways to treat hazardous waste chemically. Neutralization is perhaps the most common and involves adding a neutralizing agent to the waste to make it less acidic or alkaline. Precipitation can also be used, adding chemicals that cause the hazardous particles to bind together and fall out of the solution. Ion exchange and oxidation are other methods that can be employed, depending on the specific nature of the waste.

Thermal treatment

Thermal treatment methods, such as incineration, offer a reliable way of destroying hazardous waste. These incinerators can achieve high temperatures that will break down the most dangerous materials.

Biological treatment

Biological or “biotreatment” of waste uses living organisms to break down matter. These include bacteria, fungi, or other microorganisms. The “landfarming” process transform’s the waste into less toxic or non-toxic substances. It is suitable for oil spills, sewage, and industrial waste. One advantage of biological treatment is that it is much less expensive than other methods.

Physical treatment

Physical treatment methods, such as vibration, centrifugation, and filtration, remove solids from liquids. Solidification is a physical treatment method that converts liquid hazardous waste into solid waste. The two most common ways of solidifying hazardous wastes are using a fixative or a stabilizer. Firstly, a fixative is a material added to liquid waste to make it difficult to evaporate. Secondly, a stabilizer is added to liquid waste to prevent the formation of vapors.

Flotation uses gas bubbles generated by an air compressor to lift organic materials (hydrocarbons) off the water’s surface. Other methods include sedimentation, filtration, and evaporation.

Disposal Methods

  1. Underground

This entails burying the waste in an approved landfill or storage facility designed for this purpose. One of the benefits of underground disposal is that it helps to protect from environmental risks such as contamination. Burying toxic waste deep below the surface helps avoid leaching. It also helps reduce the risk of accidents and spills, which has a harmful effect on people and animals.

  1. Hazardous Waste Landfills

Improper disposal in hazardous waste landfills can lead to groundwater contamination, toxic gases, and pollution from air emissions.

  1. Ocean Dumping

While it is not always an environmentally preferable option, it is often cheaper and faster than other methods. However, one primary concern with ocean dumping is adverse environmental impacts. Manu hazardous wastes can contaminate marine ecosystems and disrupt sensitive marine habitats. Moreover, they can also harm fish, wildlife, and humans who come into contact with them.

  1. Hazardous Waste Recycling

Not all waste is recyclable, so you will need to discuss the waste type with your nearest recycling center or hazardous waste transporter.

  1. Remedial Action

Remedial works refer to the process of cleaning a contaminated area. This can involve removing the waste itself, cleansing the soil and water, and taking steps to prevent further contamination. Following containment, a hazardous waste management system is followed using manifest documentation to record all activity.


Businesses need to understand the types of hazardous waste they produce before finding a disposal method. The three primary treatment options are chemical, thermal, and biological. Physical methods such as underground landfill or recycling should be the last resort. Above all, businesses can contact their local municipality to find disposal centers in their area. Always use a systematic approach and have a Waste Management plan to follow.

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