What is Hazardous Solid Waste?

Amy Hunter
Amy Hunter

Hazardous solid waste is a type of waste that comes from manufacturing or other industrial processes, as opposed to houshold waste. In the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates hazardous solid waste. There are varieties of ways that the EPA determines if waste is hazardous or not. There are four different classifications of waste, including F-list, K-list, P-list, and U-list. Just because waste does not fit into any of these classifications does not mean that it is not hazardous.

When determining if waste is hazardous or not, realize that all hazardous waste, whether it is solid or liquid, such as run-off, is considered solid waste. Waste that does not fit into any of the listed classifications by the EPA may be considered hazardous if it meets one of these additional classifications; the waste is ignitable, corrosive, reactive, or toxic. Any waste that meets even one of these classifications is considered hazardous, and requires special treatment.

Most solid waste will fall into one of the four classifications provided by the EPA. F-listed waste is waste from manufacturing or industrial processes. The company is not required to label the specific waste products, and it includes waste such as solvents. K-list comes from specific industries, such as petroleum refining, or pesticide manufacturing. P and U-list materials consist of unused waste products of chemical processes.

Hazardous solid waste is potentially dangerous, and the EPA has a responsibility to regulate its disposal. The stated goals of the EPA in relationship to disposing of hazardous waste is to protect the citizens of the United States from the dangers of waste disposal, encourage and use recycling and recovery to conserve energy and natural resources, and to eliminate waste. The EPA is responsible for cleaning up waste, which may have been improperly disposed of, spilled, or leaked.

Occasionally, there are times when a private individual may need help in disposing of hazardous waste. Anyone involved in a remodeling or demolition project in an older building may find it necessary to dispose of asbestos containing building materials. These materials are not treated as regular household waste, but require special care as hazardous waste. Paint, Freon, gasoline, and other household chemicals may also require special treatment from the refuse company.

When disposing of anything considered hazardous solid waste, contact the local refuse removal company or the local field office of the EPA to clarify the correct and legal way to dispose of the materials. Often, as long as the homeowner packages the waste separately, and the refuse company has advanced notice, it is possible to dispose of it through the local waste removal company. The waste management company will handle the additional disposal regulations.

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