What is Hazardous Waste?

This is a form of waste poses a huge or potential threat to both the health of the general population and our environment. The characteristics of hazardous waste involve substances which are tested or known to show at least one of these 4 hazardous attributes: toxicity, ignitability, reactivity, or corrosivity. Wastes that are classed as limited hazardous wastes, refer to substances which regulatory bodies specifically list as being derived from certain chemical products from both specific and non-specific origin, as well as those that have been disposed of.

The UN’s Environmental Program has estimated that every year, in excess of 400,000,000 tons of hazardous waste is generated from around the world. There are a broad spectrum of businesses which produce hazardous waste. These include: photo processing companies, exterminators, hospitals and clinics, car repair shops, laser centres and dry cleaners. As well as big companies which have oil refineries, companies which produce electroplating, and chemical manufacturers which produce hazardous waste

The form of waste is not the same, and can involve various physical states including: gaseous, solids or liquids. All forms of hazardous waste are in a unique category as none of them can be disposed of in a normal way which is the case with everyday by-products. Solidification and treatments may well be required depending on the waste’s physical state.

In the past, certain types of hazardous waste was buried in standard landfills. Unfortunately, this caused very serious problems as a large quantity of hazardous material seeped into the earth, and ultimately got into natural hydrological systems. Due to this, most landfill areas have to take preventative measures in order to prevent any contamination of the ground water. A typical solution involves a barrier being placed along the landfill’s foundation. At the present time, it is common for hazardous waste to be solidified and stabilised prior to being placed on landfill site.

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