What Is a Lab Pack?

What Is a Lab Pack?

If you manage or work in a hospital, university, laboratory, or any manufacturing industry that uses small containers of chemicals and other potentially hazardous materials (thinners, solvents, paints, inks, etc.), it’s extremely important that you store, package, ship, and dispose of all that waste material properly. As such, a lab pack is something you and your employees should be familiar with—whether you undertake the process yourself or hire out the service to a qualified, proper waste management company.

Important Detailed Information About Lab Packs

What Is a Lab Pack, and What Items Go into It?

This kind of pack involves the proper packaging of expired, damaged, or out-of-date chemicals. These chemicals are in smaller amounts and smaller containers, and then they are placed in larger containers for proper shipping and disposal.

Lab pack waste are particularly common for universities or other institutions with working laboratories.

Properly Identify Chemicals That Are Going into the Pack

Before anything can even start to be packaged and containerized, the very first step is for a qualified individual to create an inventory of every expired, damaged, or out-of-date chemical to be disposed of. This inventory should thoroughly and accurately detail everything that’s going into the pack in order to properly dispose of chemicals that aren’t needed anymore by the lab.

Pack by Type of Waste

In this kind of a pack, small vials and containers (anywhere from one-quarter ounce to gallon jugs) are packed together into larger containers. After the inventory is complete, everything within a large container must be packed according to the “type” of waste.

For example, flammable items should be packed with other flammable items. Corrosive waste should be packed with similar corrosive waste. This is preferential to mixing the flammable, corrosive, and reactive materials within one large container.

The size of that final large container varies according to the specifics of what needs to be disposed of. It can be as a small as a five-gallon jug or as large as a cubic yard box (or even multiple cubic yard boxes). It just depends on what the laboratory needs to process and clear out for that particular pickup.

Why Is Segregation of Waste Important?

Segregating the waste into categories such as flammable and corrosive is perhaps the most essential part of the entire process. Chemicals can react in very dangerous ways when combined with other chemicals, and if they are packed together and the vials happen to break within the large container, those reactions could obviously pose serious problems.

That’s why it’s imperative the packer is extremely well qualified and knows exactly how those chemicals are going to react if mixed. Should anything break during packing or transport, all waste material placed in a large drum together must be innocuous if in contact. (As an added precaution in case of breaks, an absorbent material is placed within the large drum along with all the small vials. This ensures you properly transport chemicals in the safest way.)

If you don’t have the high level of expertise necessary to safely pack these chemicals, you can work with a waste management company that has the contacts and resources of qualified chemical engineers to go through this process.

What Is Turnkey Service and Why Is It the Best Option?

In this particular context, turnkey service means the waste management company will go in and handle every aspect of properly disposing of your waste from the beginning step all the way through to the end. The waste management company will identify what you have, list it out, properly pack it, properly ship it, and correctly fill out all relevant paperwork. In a turnkey service, the company will also supply all necessary containers as well as label them properly for transport.

The alternative is a pack on paper where a third-party chemist will analyze your list of every chemical and tell you how to safely package everything. In this system, you’re actually doing the packing yourself, though.

If possible, your company should give preference to the turnkey service. The consequences for improperly doing a pack are potentially dire, and you want to leave something that potentially dangerous to highly trained professionals.

For more information about how laboratories can safely dispose of their expired chemicals, please contact a representative of MCF Environmental Services a full service medical and environmental waste management company.

Hazardous Waste Disposal and Manufacturers: What You Need to Know

Hazardous Waste Disposal and Manufacturers: What You Need to Know

Proper hazardous waste disposal is incredibly important to any manufacturer. Especially as the laws regarding correct hazardous waste treatment become even stricter and more stringently enforced, failure to comply with these legal requirements will carry increasingly severe consequences. If you’re at all uncertain about the correct way to go about disposing of your hazardous waste, reach out to a reputable hazardous waste disposal company to get yourself educated and informed—and hopefully avoid those penalties.

Hazardous Waste Removal and Your Manufacturing Business: Important Waste Management Tips

The Rules of Hazardous Waste Management Are Complex

The first important thing to realize as the owner of a manufacturing business is that hazardous waste disposal is not as straightforward as other kinds of trash removal. There is a laundry list of things you need to do to be fully in compliance when it comes to identifying, segregating, containerizing, shipping, and disposing of hazardous waste your business produces.

Not being aware of all those nuances and laws is also never an excuse. If you are found to be in noncompliance (with federal or state laws), you are subject to fines and other punitive actions.

Especially if you’re new to this industry, all those regulations can feel overwhelming. That’s why it’s so important to educate yourself early on to ensure you’re not inadvertently in violation. Reach out to your local hazardous waste disposal companies. They are a wealth of information and experts in this particular industry.

Start at the Beginning: What Is Hazardous Waste and What Is Not?

 As you start this process of proper removal, one of the first crucial steps is merely understanding what you produce that is considered hazardous. This identification stage is arguably the most important. If you don’t realize something is hazardous, and you throw it away as normal trash, you are introducing dangerous hazardous waste materials into the environment without proper treatment. This is obviously bad for humans, animals, and ecology, but it also puts you at risk for fines or other consequences.

Work with hazardous waste removal companies to go through this important identification stage.

Know the Shipping Requirements for Your Hazardous Waste

If you’re a big manufacturing industry, it’s likely you have an environmental manager on-site who handles all the logistics of your hazardous material. However, if you’re a small or midrange company, it’s less likely you have somebody in this role.

If you don’t have a person designated for that purpose, an experienced waste management company can walk you through how to dispose of hazardous waste safely, efficiently, and legally.

That company can offer important advice and waste disposal tips regarding this process, including:

  • How to properly store and label all waste.
  • How often you need to ship and who to ship it to.
  • What paperwork you need to legally ship.
  • What proper treatment involves, including hazardous waste incineration.

Why Are Hazardous Waste Management Companies More Important Than Ever?

It’s a particularly challenging time for manufacturing industries to handle their hazardous materials. In the recent economic hit, people were often moved around manufacturing businesses. They either took on new jobs or added new responsibilities to their existing jobs. This meant a lot of people who had no previous knowledge or experience with hazardous waste were suddenly in charge of managing those waste streams.

To make matters more difficult, this occurred just as laws were becoming more consistently and strictly enforced regarding hazardous materials.

With an industry as complex and dynamic as this—where the consequences are potentially so high—it’s essential to find a reputable hazardous waste management company.

When selecting that company, keep the following in mind:

  • The company should put a high premium on customer service. If you need flexible pickups or a question answered right away, you want a company that can accommodate that.
  • The company should be knowledgeable and up to date on all information regarding hazardous waste. Remember, as the generator, you assume cradle to grave liability, and even if your waste management company leads you astray with poor waste management advice, you could still be responsible for any accidents or damages your waste causes.
  • Ensure the company is Department of Transportation (DOT) approved and drivers are DOT certified. Also check the company’s hazmat insurance is adequate in case of an accident.

For more information about the hazardous waste removal process, please feel free to reach out to a representative of MCF Environmental Services, a waste management Atlanta business.

Pick a Hazardous Waste Management Company—8 Tips for GA Manufacturers

Pick a Hazardous Waste Management Company—8 Tips for GA Manufacturers

When selecting a hazardous waste management company, your Georgia-based manufacturer needs to keep many things in mind. With such an important decision, though, it’s no surprise that many factors must go in to the decision process. To make things a bit easier, here are eight waste management tips to guide your Georgia manufacturer in this crucial decision.

8 Things Every Georgia Manufacturer Should Check before Selecting a Hazardous Waste Management Company

  1. Check the waste management company has proper insurance.

As the generator, you are ultimately responsible for any accident involving your waste, and that includes during transport. Make sure the company you choose to work with has adequate insurance to cover any accident.

The type of waste being handled should dictate the type and amount of insurance. For example, hazardous materials are going to require a substantial amount of insurance, while non-hazardous waste is going to require less.

  1. Ensure the company is permitted for the type of waste you generate.

The necessary permits vary according to waste type. If you’re exclusively generating nonhazardous waste, the company only needs to be permitted for that subset of waste. However, if you generate any hazardous material that the company will need to transport or treat, they need to be specifically permitted for that.

  1. Verify all drivers have the proper DOT training.

All drivers should be properly trained to handle every aspect of that job, and that includes proper DOT training. Because these drivers are also handling paperwork, they should be specifically trained and prepared to handle a shipping manifest and a bill of lading. Drivers should also be knowledgeable, professional, and adept and experienced at handling hazardous materials specifically.

  1. Check for any fines or past violations.

If a company has had any breach in local, state, or federal regulations, there should be a record of that violation. Before committing to any given company, check online for such violations. Take into account when the violation occurred, how many violations are found, and the severity of any given breach.

  1. Ask about the company’s waste management price.

While price isn’t everything, it is (of course) important. Make sure the price you’re offered is competitive but not suspiciously low. As with any industry, a price that’s too good to be true probably is. A very low quote might mean poor customer service, an increased chance of violations and fines, or many hidden surcharges.

Remember, much of the cost structure has to do with transportation fees. Therefore, if you choose a company that has its own trucks, you should get a better price than with a company that has to contract out this work.

As a rule of thumb, shop around, get multiple quotes, consult testimonials, and ask lots of questions!

  1. Put a premium on customer service.

One quality that many manufacturers overlook in their waste management companies is customer service. However, having knowledgeable drivers and employees who will answer your questions quickly and accurately can be the difference between being slapped with a fine and complying with all Georgia and federal laws.

  1. Ask to see the company’s most recent audit.

A hazardous waste audit will give you important company-specific information (how long the company has been in business, the number of employees, their permits, their insurance, and so on), but it will also show all violations that came up during that audit. Especially with a full audit that takes several days, it’s extremely rare to get zero violations. However, you can ascertain the severity of those violations and if they properly corrected every found error.

  1. Get a clear quote with cost analysis.

A quote is just a number if you don’t know exactly what it means. A good quote will give you a cost analysis and break down, line item by line item, everything that goes into that number. This way, you aren’t surprised by hidden fees or surcharges when it comes time to pay the invoice.

Note, certain charges are common within the industry, including a stop charge (typically around $50), a 15 percent fuel charge, and an energy surcharge. Nearly every company charges these, so if they don’t show up on your quote, that’s a red flag that you’re not getting the full picture regarding what you’ll be expected to pay.

For more information and tips about how your Georgia-based manufacturer should choose a waste management company, feel free to contact a representative of MCF Environmental Services, an Atlanta waste management company.

Georgia Manufacturers’ Transport Fees—Hazardous Waste Disposal Costs

Georgia Manufacturers’ Transport Fees—Hazardous Waste Disposal Costs

As a Georgia manufacturer, you likely have need of safe, reliable, legal, and cost-effective hazardous waste disposal, and a big component of that has to do with transportation fees. With that in mind, what factors affect this transport fee, and what can Georgia-based manufacturers expect when it comes to shouldering this expense?

Waste Disposal Costs for Georgia Manufacturers: All about Transportation Fees

The Cost of Waste Disposal Isn’t Federally Mandated

If you’re a Georgia-based manufacturer, the first important fact to consider when shopping around for the right waste management company is that transportation fees are not set by any overarching federal body. That is, the price will fluctuate from private company to private company.

Therefore, you want to get multiple quotes in order to throw out any bids that are outliers—either too high or too low. This helps ensure you aren’t overpaying, but it also makes sure you’re working with a reputable company that can safely and legally deal with your RCRA hazardous waste.

Waste Disposal Cost: The Type of Waste Matters

When trying to determine what to expect in terms of pricing for transporting hazardous waste, Georgia manufacturers should be aware that this fee will fluctuate according to the kind of waste you need transported.

For example, if you produce any nonhazardous waste and need that transported from your premises, this is going to be significantly cheaper than hazardous waste transport. In fact, non-hazardous waste or dry freight transport can be as little as half the cost of comparable transport for hazardous materials.

By and large, this comes down to a liability issue. If there’s an accident involving nonhazardous material during transport, that’s going to pose less of a financial and safety issue than an accident involving hazardous material.

Another significant factor is how much training and certification must go into becoming a driver who handles hazardous materials. As the generator, some of that associated pricing is folded into your overall waste disposal costs.

Industry Standard for Hazardous Waste Disposal in Georgia

Understanding that any transport fees are variable and based on many factors, Georgia-based manufacturers can expect to pay in the ballpark of $45 per drum for this transport fee.

Other factors to consider include the following:

  • Expect to pay a cost per container rather than a lump sum.
  • A stop charge typically runs about $50.
  • Industry standard for fuel is around 22 percent.

Every state must comply with all EPA regulations, and Georgia is no exception. Whatever the federal standard is, Georgia must follow that. (Note, in any given state, it is acceptable to be more stringent than federal regulations but not less stringent. Florida, for example, is one state that does impose stricter waste rules than the federal government actually requires.)

Still Have Questions about the Cost of Waste Disposal?

Whether you’re the environmental manager of a large manufacturing company or the operations manager, owner, or person who handles all hazardous and nonhazardous waste generated by your small to midsize manufacturer, you might still have questions surrounding this transportation fee for your waste.

If you want clarification or need more information about how to plan for this expense, feel free to reach out to a representative of MCF Environmental Services, an Atlanta waste management company.

Why Manufacturers Must Have a Hazardous Waste Contingency Plan

Why Manufacturers Must Have a Hazardous Waste Contingency Plan

If you’ve never heard of a hazardous waste contingency plan or you know your manufacturing facility’s version is woefully out of date, it’s extremely important to get informed and create this document as accurately and thoroughly as possible. It’s a matter of legality, but it’s also about ensuring your facility holds itself to the highest safety standards.

Why Your Manufacturing Facility Needs to Care about Hazardous Waste Contingency Plans

Hazardous Waste Safety

A hazardous waste contingency plan is a document that lists out the exact protocol should any unexpected accident (fire, spill, explosion, etc.) happen with your generated hazardous material.

An accident is just that—an accident. It’s not planned or expected, so your facility needs to be prepared at any minute for an event such as this. A contingency plan can help you accomplish just that.

Should something catastrophic happen and you’re not completely prepared with the steps you and the local authorities need to take, it can mean improper cleanup, slower response time, and an increased risk for everything and everyone involved. Hazardous waste safety is nothing to take lightly, and if you’re not prepared for the worst-case scenario, it can have real-life ramifications. This applies to those hazardous materials getting into the ground, streams, and surrounding environment, but it also can impact the safety of the first responders who arrive for cleanup.

Depending on your facility’s interactions with hazardous waste, you might even need a contingency plan for your facility as well as for hazardous waste transport. A spill or accident while transporting hazardous waste can pose a number of different issues than an on-site incident, and the contingency plans need to reflect those differences.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Violations

Safety is the most important reason you should implement a thorough, well-thought-out contingency plan. However, there are financial and logistical reasons to consider as well.

If you’re undergoing a hazardous waste audit and you are found to be noncompliant, agencies can point to items such as improperly completed contingency plans to strengthen the case against you as a hazardous waste violator. Lacking a contingency plan or having an incomplete plan is generally considered a smaller violation when compared to egregious noncompliance, such as dumping hazardous waste down the drain or falsifying paperwork (your hazardous waste manifest or bill of lading, for example).   

However, not having this contingency plan done—and done correctly—can make you more vulnerable to fines or other punitive actions for noncompliance.

Even today, this is one step that many companies simply overlook or choose to skip, but that’s dangerous for two big reasons: it puts people and the environment at risk in the event of an accident, and it opens up your company to regulatory fines (at the state and federal levels).

If You Generate Hazardous Waste, This Applies to You!

Some manufacturers incorrectly believe they are exempt from this policy because they simply don’t create a lot of hazardous waste. However, that is not the case! Even if you’re not a large quantity generator, you must create this plan and distribute it to the proper authorities. A contingency plan is for any company that produces hazardous materials.

If you’ve never heard of this document before or you don’t know where to start in creating one, contact your local hazardous waste management companies. Reputable, experienced companies should be able to provide you with the resources, information, and guidance you need to get yourself fully compliant. Whether it’s offering templates to facilitate your plan creation or educational insight, waste management companies can tell you everything you need to know when it comes to proper safety protocol.

For more information about why a contingency plan matters to your manufacturing facility, please feel free to reach out to a representative of MCF Environmental Services, an Atlanta waste management company.

What Is a Hazardous Waste Contingency Plan?

What Is a Hazardous Waste Contingency Plan?

There are so many rules and potential violations when it comes to hazardous waste protocol, and one place that many companies fail to comply is with their hazardous waste contingency plans. If you’re not certain your contingency plan is up to standard or if you’re not even sure if your company has one, read on!

Hazardous Waste Contingency Plan: What It Is and What Yours Needs to Include

Hazardous Waste Contingency Plan Definition

This plan is both a program developed within your business and a written document detailing the specifics of that program. It essentially discusses everything that must occur in the event of an accident involving the hazardous materials you generate. That accident can range from fires and explosions to the unexpected release of a hazardous material during transport.

It gives you and your employees direction regarding what should and shouldn’t be done in this emergency situation. Its purpose is obviously the health and safety of everyone and everything at your facility and in the area directly affected by the hazardous waste–related emergency.

Who Needs to Develop a Contingency Plan?

Everyone who generates hazardous waste must have this program and written document in place. There are different requirements based on your generator status, but even small quantity generators still need a plan (albeit somewhat less exhaustive).

What Needs to Be in a Hazardous Waste Contingency Plan?

A contingency plan of this nature is going to vary slightly for every company. Depending on the type and amount of hazardous waste you produce, this will dictate the specifics of what exactly is included in your plan.

Whether you’re a small quantity generator or a large quantity generator, adhere to the following guidelines:

  • Assign one or more people to be the emergency coordinator. Include the contact information for this person (or people) within the plan.
  • Include the location of both emergency equipment and emergency telephones.
  • Ensure all employees know this plan exists and are familiar with the procedures. (Obviously, an emergency situation is never planned or expected and can arise at any moment. Therefore, all employees need to be prepared and equipped to respond quickly and accurately to minimize safety hazards.)

As a large quantity generator, you have some additional requirements that you must adhere to in order to be in compliance:

  • The contact information for your emergency coordinator must be more thorough and explicitly stated. This includes name, address, and phone number for the person (home and office).
  • The plan must be written onsite, and it must be reviewed and updated frequently.

Who Needs a Copy of This Plan?

No matter what size your company is or what generator status you fall under, if there’s the potential for a dangerous event with your hazardous material, you should submit a copy of your plan to the local authorities. This includes the nearest fire station, police station, hospital, and emergency responders. Copies, of course, must also be kept at your facility.

If your plan calls for you to provide your own responders, copies must still be sent to the proper authorities. If something happened off site during hazardous waste transport, the local authorities would need to know the proper protocol for cleanup and whom to contact first.

How Can Hazardous Waste Management Companies Help?

When dealing with a hazardous waste accident or other unexpected event, it can quite honestly be a matter of life and death. This plan, therefore, is a vital piece of ensuring you do everything in your power to keep your employees and the surrounding people and environment safe.

If you’re at all unsure of what needs to go in this plan, how to go about creating one, or if your current plan meets the regulatory requirements, reach out to your local waste management companies for guidance. An experienced waste management company should be able to provide templates or even just advice to get you on the right path.

For more information about contingency plans and what role they play in creating, storing, and transporting hazardous waste, please feel free to contact a representative of MCF Environmental Services, an Atlanta waste management company.