Having the proper paperwork is an essential part of all hazardous waste disposal guidelines, and two important documents include the hazardous waste manifest and the bill of lading. What exactly are these documents, though, and are there special considerations that colleges need to take into account before shipping hazardous waste?

Hazardous Waste Shipping Manifest and Bill of Lading: What Colleges Need to Know

Shipping Manifest versus Bill of Lading

The first crucial piece of information for all colleges to realize is that the shipping manifest and the bill of lading are two different documents, and they are meant to be used in different shipping situations. The first is used when transporting hazardous material. The second is used when dealing with non-hazardous waste disposal.

Nonhazardous waste can encompass a wide variety of waste streams, including the following:

Are These Documents Different for Colleges?

Simple answer: no. All the information you're required to fill out on either document will apply whether you're a doctors' office, manufacturer, college, or anywhere else. All companies, businesses, and institutions use the same information to properly complete this paperwork.

Because hazardous waste manifests are universal, you don't have to worry about any special information or circumstances specific to colleges when completing them. If you're considering working with any number of hazardous waste management companies, as long as your selection is familiar and experienced with shipping manifests in general, they don't need special expertise to fill them out for educational institutions.

The bill of lading, unlike the manifest, is not universal. Every company will create its own. While proper protocol and caution are, of course, necessary, the materials being transported with this document are simply less dangerous than hazardous materials. That means the local, state, and federal regulations are less stringent than with anything hazardous.

Remember, the requested information can vary from state to state, so ensure any company you're hiring out this work to knows and abides by all levels of regulations and rules.

Why Are These Documents Important to Colleges?

When shipping out your waste, these documents are vitally important to your school for several key reasons:

  • Safety

This paperwork ensures that everyone who comes in contact with your waste knows exactly what they're dealing with. If there's an accident, first responders know how best to approach cleanup. During packing, people know what items can and cannot go together. The paperwork even ensures the waste is properly treated at the end facility, so hazardous materials won't get into the ground or water.

  • Cost

Fines for noncompliance with waste disposal protocol are extremely costly. (In fact, they've recently been increased.) If your school is audited and found to be doing anything wrong in the disposal of your waste—including filling out your paperwork incorrectly—it could quickly become a huge financial burden. To avoid these fines, make sure anyone dealing with your waste is entirely educated on the subject, or work collaboratively with a waste management company that has a proven track record of knowledge, professionalism, and success.

For more information about how to legally and safely transport all the waste your college generates, please feel free to contact a representative of MCF Environmental Services, a waste management Atlanta company.