How To Determine If Your Home Waste is Hazardous or Not

Variety of red white and black waste car tires piled in a big pile

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How To Determine If Your Home Waste is Hazardous or Not

It’s not easy to determine whether the waste our home or business produces is hazardous. This makes it hard to follow the guidelines that regulatory boards recommend as different factors can often affect the rules, whether the waste’s location or quantity. That said, it’s not impossible to learn how to tell the difference, and it’s important to understand more about waste disposal. 

To help you out, let’s examine the differences between hazardous and non-hazardous waste. Keep in mind that a professional disposal company is suggested, particularly for those who find that their waste is much more than they imagined. 

Hazardous Vs. Non-Hazardous Waste

As we mentioned, differentiating between the two isn’t as easy as it looks. Fortunately, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a guide on differentiating between hazardous and non-hazardous waste. Summarized, we can focus on four key points that distinguish hazardous wastes:

Toxicity

The toxicity of waste is measured by its deadliness when ingested or absorbed. This metric was included to factor in the effects of the waste on the groundwater and the surrounding area, as these can leak over time. Examples of toxic waste include lead, mercury, or PCBs. 

Corrosivity

The corrosivity of waste is measured by its ability to corrode metals, plastics, or even human skin. Different chemicals will corrode different materials, but as long as the waste is capable of corroding any of the above, it is most likely toxic. Corrosive materials are either alkaline or acidic, with corrosive wastes classified as those with Ph levels of either less than or equal to 2 or greater than or equal to 12.5

Reactivity

The reactivity of your waste describes how volatile the compounds present are. Reactive waste is the kind that often releases fumes and gasses (byproducts of chemical breakdown). The tricky part is determining whether a combination of different waste types thrown into the same container can react, creating a dangerous vapor or gas. Examples of this kind of waste are animal waste (produce methane) or discarded explosives. 

Ignitability

Ignitable waste is the kind that can easily catch fire or spontaneously combust in some cases. For the most part, waste of this sort is liquid, although non-liquid examples also exist. Common examples of ignitable waste are automotive liquids, common home cleaners, and other types of solvents. 

In the United States, the EPA has stated that most waste products are non-hazardous. In their definition, non-hazardous waste is, “waste generated from processes associated with the production of goods and products.”. That definition includes electric power generation and materials manufacturing such as pulp, paper, iron, steel, or glass. These types of waste are non-toxic and thus require no further treatment after disposal. 

Further examples of non-hazardous waste are: 

Industrial 

  • Ash
  • Sludge
  • Antifreeze
  • Grinder dust

Medical

  • Plastic packaging
  • Clean glass hardware
  • Paper, cardboard
  • Aerosol cans (depleted) 

Electronic Waste

  • Aluminum
  • Copper
  • Gold

Conclusion

Discussions about waste disposal are few and far between, and the classification of different wastes. As gross as it might be for some, waste disposal is as necessary as it gets for home and business owners—after all, even if you weren’t worried about your immediate surroundings, your local government might have something to say about how you dispose of your waste. 

GrayMar Environmental Services, Inc. is a professional in hazardous waste transportation in the U.S.A. With the expertise to deal with any kind of waste (as well as the capability to offer cost-effective solutions), any business can be sure to find the right setup for their waste.

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Due to overwhelming response and participation, all July and October appointments are now booked. We anticipate new vouchers to be distributed in 2022!

We thank the community’s participation in making this Household Hazardous Program a tremendous success!