As a striving business mogul working to establish your brand in a competitive industry, it’s understandable how one would focus on core responsibilities: strategizing for growth, making a profit, or sustainability. Unfortunately, with all the crucial tasks a business owner needs to juggle, it’s not surprising how the company’s hazardous waste management is overlooked.
The good news is that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) created a handbook that helps small businesses understand federal hazardous waste management regulations, along with how to stay compliant and keep their employees safe.
Defining Hazardous Waste: What is it?
The EPA defines hazardous waste as, “any solid or liquid waste material or combination of materials which, because of its quantity, concentration, or physical, chemical or infectious characteristics, may cause, or significantly contribute to, an increase in mortality or an increase in serious irreversible or incapacitating reversible illness, or pose a substantial present or potential hazard to human health or the environment when improperly treated, stored, transported or disposed of, or otherwise managed.”
Hazardous waste includes chemicals mixed with other materials that make it dangerous. The EPA further defines potentially hazardous waste as “any solid waste which contains a hazardous substance or is made up of two or more such substances in sufficient quantity to cause it to be classified as hazardous to health.”
What are the Requirements Small Businesses Need to Meet to Stay Compliant?
(1) Conditionally exempt small quantity generators (CESQGs), which generate less than 220 lbs. (100 kg) per month.
(2) Small quantity generators (SQGs), which generate between 220 lbs. (100 kg) and 2,200 lbs. (1,000 kg) per month.
(3) Large quantity generators (LQGs), which generate more than 2,200 lbs. (1,000 kg) per month.
With that in mind, small businesses must ensure they store less than 2,200 pounds of hazardous waste on-site. As for disposing of hazardous waste, small businesses are required to seek the services of licensed professionals to transport them to the accepted treatment locations.
What Your Small Business Can Do to Improve Your Standards of Hazardous Waste Management
Tip #1: Set Strict Regulations When Organizing Hazardous Waste
Besides minimizing the amount of hazardous waste your business generates, you can also maintain your hazardous waste by implementing waste segregation, where you organize certain materials from the rest of the trash.
Tip #2: Avoid Confusion by Labeling All Hazardous Materials
Labeling your hazardous material is increasingly crucial to ensure that your employees know how to handle and dispose of the material properly. Moreover, you can also invest in boxes to store these materials in a specific place.
Tip #3: Don’t Place Food, Drinks, and Other Items Near Hazardous Wastes
As much as possible, don’t place food, drinks, and other items near hazardous waste. This will help ensure that your employees are less likely to accidentally ingest these or have them come in contact with their skin.
Tip #4: Provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Wear personal protective equipment for your workers to be equipped with protective gear that will safeguard them from coming into contact with toxic materials that may potentially cause harm to their health.
Tip #5: Establish a Reporting System
To avoid confusion, establish a clear reporting system that your workers can use when there’s an emergency or when they need to report critical matters regarding hazardous wastes.
The Bottom Line: The Importance of Having a Hazardous Waste Management System in Place for Small Businesses
For your business’s success, a hazardous waste management system must be implemented to ensure that your business and employees are safe. Furthermore, the system in place should also help you reduce and minimize the amount of hazardous waste your business generates.
For more insight on how to keep your business and employees safe and navigate with ease through the hazardous waste management system, be sure to check out the EPA’s easy-to-follow guidelines on managing your business’s hazardous waste.
Are You Looking for Services Involving Hazardous Waste Disposal in Reno?
GrayMar Environmental Services, Inc. provides comprehensive hazardous waste transportation in the USA. We have the expertise to deal with any type of waste, and we offer cost-effective solutions to companies that need reliable and efficient waste disposal.