If you produce any hazardous or non-hazardous materials in your business, you likely already know that you need to go through the proper channels to dispose of it safely and legally. But what businesses must comply with these laws? What constitutes hazardous rather than non-hazardous material? And why are all these regulations about hazardous and non-hazardous waste disposal important to your business?

The Importance of Non-Hazardous and Hazardous Waste Removal

What Companies Must Comply with Proper Waste Disposal?

First things first, who actually needs to observe these rules and waste disposal laws? Obviously, any business, company, or manufacturer that creates hazardous or non-hazardous waste must comply. Even if the amount of waste generated is very small, it still needs to be dealt with properly.

Some common companies include the following:

  • Auto body shops.
  • Paint shops.
  • Printers, or anywhere that uses or produces flammable ink.
  • Tattoo parlors.
  • Welding shops, or anywhere that performs etching.

Especially with institutions such as tattoo parlors (which also must comply with biohazardous waste regulations), enforcement still tends to be quite lax. That being said, the laws are only going to be more strictly enforced as times goes on, and fines for noncompliance are only going to increase.

What Qualifies as Nonhazardous Waste?

Do I have hazardous or nonhazardous waste? It can be difficult to answer this question. To be certain, you'll likely need analytical testing or thorough examination of relevant paperwork (SDS sheets, for example) by a qualified individual.

Some examples of common nonhazardous waste include the following:

  • Used oil.
  • Latex paint.
  • Nonhazardous ink.
  • Antifreeze.
  • Coolant.

If you know your business generates this waste type—no matter how small the quantity generated—then you need to follow the established protocol for disposal.

Why Should I Work with a Waste Management Company?

It's true that the disposal regulations and protocol for nonhazardous materials are less stringent than for hazardous materials. However, even non-hazardous waste can't simply go in the dumpster. It still needs to be disposed of properly through a reputable environmental company.

You also need to ensure you're accurately segregating and identifying your waste types. If you erroneously dispose of hazardous material as nonhazardous, and you're caught through an on-site hazardous waste audit, the fines could be crippling for a small company.

In this way, working with reputable, experienced waste management companies is akin to having an insurance policy. In the event of an audit, you'll be able to provide proof of your compliance through records and paperwork, such as all shipping manifests and bills of lading.

If you go it alone, there's no guarantee you'll know what paperwork is legally required or how to accurately fill out something like a hazardous waste manifest. This isn't just a financial issue, though. Repeated noncompliance could lead to your business being shut down or even more severe consequences. Improper disposal could also lead to health and safety issues—especially if hazardous materials are not properly treated prior to disposal.

For more information about all hazardous and nonhazardous waste disposal issues, please feel free to reach out to a representative of MCF Environmental Services, a waste management Atlanta company.