How to Dispose of Hazardous Waste

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How to Dispose of Hazardous Waste

Tons of garbage are taken out of American households every year; much of which go to landfills, recycling centers, and incinerators all across the country. Some waste products, though, pose a threat to the environment, health, and the community. Here are some ways that you can dispose of hazardous waste.

What Makes Waste Hazardous?

One of the reasons why people throw away things is that they can pose serious risks to safety and well-being when they’re left lying around:

  • Environmental hazards. Waste products from factories, hospitals, and power plants pose a very dangerous threat to wildlife, and should never be disposed of like regular waste products.
  • Health hazards. Many waste products, like non-recyclable and biodegradable wastes, are significant threats to health. Some of these include radioactive substances, chemicals, and large amounts of biodegradable waste products.
  • Community hazards. All waste should be considered hazardous if they harm the health and well-being of community members, and the value of their properties.

Handling Hazardous Wastes

There are two keys to handling hazardous waste: safety and segregation. Not all hazardous wastes can be placed in a garbage bag or a trash can, so you have to be really careful when handling hazardous waste for disposal:

Safety

waste disposalHigh-risk waste products like excrement, radioactive substances, and chemical waste need to be handled with proper care to avoid contaminating the surrounding environment. Protective clothing like gloves and face masks (or in the case of radioactive and chemical waste, full body protection) are used when transporting hazardous waste to prevent contact or exposure to harmful chemical byproducts. The waste should also be carried and transported in special containers.

Segregation

All waste is potentially dangerous, so you should always take the time to separate and segregate waste products in your home. Segregation also helps save the environment, because waste disposal will put less strain on the ecosystem. You should segregate waste materials into the following:

  • Biodegradable: Vegetable and fruit peelings, bones, kitchen waste
  • Non-biodegradable: Plastic bags, foam packaging
  • Recyclable: Paper, cardboard, plastic bottles, cans

Safe Disposal

Here are some ways to dispose of hazardous waste safely:

  • Burial. In some places, a hole large enough to accommodate waste is lined with thick layers of concrete, filled with waste, and sealed. The wall acts as a barrier to prevent the liquid products from leaching into the soil. The same method is used for septic tanks.
  • Incineration. Some hazardous waste products are safe to burn under controlled conditions. Incinerators also provide a considerable amount of power to communities because of the electrical energy produced by the furnaces.
  • Isolation. Nuclear and chemical wastes that cannot be buried or incinerated are first sealed in suitable containers. They are then transported to a safe location, and sealed in a chamber. Some nuclear waste may be used for energy, and some chemical wastes can be re-processed to make other useful products.
All waste has the potential to be hazardous, but some waste products can be more dangerous and hazardous than others. With these tips, you can safely dispose of hazardous wastes without harming yourself, the community, or the environment.

 

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