Waste management regulations are rules and laws enforced by governments in order to protect the environment from harmful waste products. Commonly, this type of waste management is divided by the industry where the dangerous material originates. From dry cleaning waste to medical waste and rubber tires, there are different specifications for handling each material. Every country has its own set of rules, which often differ greatly, pertaining to handling waste.
Dry cleaning is a process that utilizes various chemicals to gently remove stains from fabric. This process leaves many chemicals behind after they are used, which has led to several waste management regulations. Governmental regulations, like the North Carolina Dry-Cleaning Solvent Cleanup Act, clearly state the ways these various chemicals can be disposed. Some can be simply thrown in the trash or taken to a dump, while other more serious chemicals must be turned over to a professional waste management company.
The medical industry rarely deals with disposing hazardous chemicals, but must handle many naturally harmful elements. Waste management regulations for blood dictate that the fluid must be stored in specific containers and either incinerated or, in certain cases, introduced to sewage. Infectious agents and microorganisms are considered microbiological waste and regulations state they must be disposed of by incineration, steam sterilization or microwave sterilization. Pathological wastes, like body parts and organs, must be incinerated in order to avoid contamination.
Many different types of hazardous waste are stored in underground tanks in order to avoid environmental pollution. These systems are subject to a variety of waste management regulations as well. The rules and regulations differ depending on the type of waste being stored. Certain types of waste can only be left in containers constructed of specific materials, like plastics and rubbers. In addition, the depth at which wastes are stored and proximity to things like housing developments and waterways are also regulated.
Rubber tires are also subject to waste management regulations. These items do not decompose very quickly and often leak toxic elements into the soil, so disposal is closely watched. Regulations can vary, requiring tires either to be placed in a safe landfill site or even to be burned in certain situations. Burning tires is an uncommon method for eliminating this problem because of the toxic chemicals released. A more recent regulation in some countries requires processing tires, which means chopping and melting the tires in order to recycle them into items like mulch and new tires.