Knowing what you need to pay for safe and compliant hazardous waste disposal can seem confusing, but hazardous waste disposal costs don't need to be a mystery. With a little bit of research and the right approach, you can learn and master everything you need to know about transportation fees and anything else associated with hazardous waste management pricing.

01   /  Hazardous Waste Disposal Costs- What to Consider 

In addition to transportation costs related to hazardous waste management, hazardous waste generators also need to be aware of additional costs or fees related to the disposal process. A few things to consider when it comes to fees:


Disposal fees – Some authorized hazardous waste disposal handlers must pay disposal fees directly to the disposal facility.


Generation and handling fees – This fee can be imposed on sites that generate more than the state or federally allotted volume or weight of hazardous waste in a calendar year.


Facility fees – Such fees generally apply to owners/operators of any site that is permitted by a state to treat, store, or dispose of hazardous waste.


Environmental fees – These fees can be imposed on an organization or business based on industry in which hazardous materials are used in the production of their products.

Maintain compliance in all aspects of hazardous waste disposal by first reviewing the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Regulations can be found in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) –Title 40 – Protection of the Environment – in Parts 260 through 273. Also be aware of the rules and guidelines for collection, storage, transport, and ultimate disposal of hazardous waste in your state by accessing your state’s government website.

For example:


Part 260 – Hazardous Waste Management System - General


Part 262 – Standards Applicable to Generators of Hazardous Waste


Part 263 – Standards Applicable to Transporters of Hazardous Waste

Next, do your homework regarding transportation fees.

02   /   Transportation Fees Vary

Costs related to hazardous waste disposal costs and how it relates to your RCRA hazardous waste management processes will vary from company to company. Your expectations regarding transportation costs will depend largely on the type of waste you're hauling. For example, non-hazardous waste and dry freight can range about half the cost of transporting hazardous waste.

Hazardous waste transportation costs are higher because of the special requirements, training, and expertise of transport companies hauling that waste away. A large part of this has to do with potential liability involved should there be an accident during transport. The potential cleanup and damage from a non-hazardous shipment is drastically less than with hazardous materials. This factors in largely to the difference in costs between non-hazardous and hazardous waste transport.

Hazardous (HazMat) waste transport companies must adhere to strict regulations regarding the training of handlers and drivers. For example, these drivers and handlers must go through Department of Transportation (DOT) HazMat training and, if required, Dangerous Goods training as well. Training frequencies will also vary. The average cost of training for one employee ranges roughly $2,000 to $3,250 before they are certified to haul hazardous material.

Because of these extra training requirements and the increasing restrictions, some of the transport cost you assume is due to the ongoing training requirements for these highly regulated drivers.

03   /   Cost of Waste Management Transport- Industry Standards 

Prices will vary according to geographic region. Using Atlanta as an example, an average waste management price for the transport of hazardous waste would be in the ballpark of $45 to $65 per drum. On top of that, a company can expect to pay $50 for a stop charge. Twenty-two percent for fuel is considered industry standard.

In California, disposal fees from 2021 averaged $310 per ton for restricted hazardous waste and extremely hazardous waste.[1]

Waste hauler transportation fees in Illinois can range as high as $800 to $1,000 for reactive hazardous waste.[2]

However, hazardous waste transportation fees can cost between $65 to $200, again depending on company, type and weight/volume of hazardous waste, and frequency of pick-ups.

Obtaining costs on a per drum basis (rather than a lump sum) is the most common method for determining overall costs per month.

A "fuel surcharge" can also include fuel insurance as well as an energy fee. This is likely when diesel prices were extremely high. Hazardous waste disposal companies may implement this fee to reduce the risk of going out of business. While the fee itself is variable, it is up to the specific company to determine the exact fuel surcharge. Typically, companies stay within an acceptable range of the industry standard.

04   /   Hazardous Waste Removal Companies- with or without Outside Transporters 

One way to help minimize some of these transportation fees and general waste management costs is to work with a hazardous waste disposal company that owns and operates their own trucks. By avoiding a company that works with an outside transporter, you reduce the number of companies that take a fee at every stage of the transportation process.

In a similar vein, be aware that if you ever need an immediate emergency pickup (perhaps due to an audit or some other special circumstance), a company might need to use an outside transporter in that situation. This could increase the waste management price for that particular shipment.

For more information about waste management costs and what's considered industry standard in that regard, contact a representative of MCF Environmental Services today. We are a waste management Atlanta-based hazardous and industrial waste business with over three decades of experience that customizes services based on need.

[1] https://dtsc.ca.gov/disposal-fee/

[2] https://www.hazardouswastehaulers.com/illinois/hazardous-waste-disposal-in-west-chicago-il/

Robert Losurdo

President, COO