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The Different Ways To Manage Hazardous Waste

2251 words - 9 pages

There are at least 1000 different chemical created each year, out of all existing chemicals, 60,000 alone were created in the United States and this dependency on chemicals by the industrial society creates many problems. According to U.S. Environment Protection Agency [U.S. EPA], 35,000 types of all existing chemicals are considered hazardous to human health and the environment (as cited in Shah, 2000). Hazardous wastes are materials that consist of chemical constituents which can easily harm the environment, exposing human and other living things to diseases or even death if it is incorrectly used or managed (U.S. EPA, 2011). Hazardous wastes, which contain dangerous compositions, can exist in many different forms such as liquids, solids, gaseous or slush. This hazardous waste can also be unwanted or leftover of business products like cleaning fluids or pesticides (Satarkar, 2008). In order to avoid disastrous impacts on the environment, it is necessary to manage and control them properly (EnviroServ Waste Management, n.d.). There are different ways of management, storage, treatment, disposal and control of hazardous waste.
To manage hazardous waste, one must first learn to identify the waste, know its categories and also the hierarchy of hazardous waste. A material is regarded as hazardous wastes when it has either been categorized as an admixture of hazardous waste and non-hazardous solid waste, or an admixture of characteristic hazardous waste and special nuclear material, or remainder of treatment, storage, disposal waste, or the U.S. EPA had stated the product as so (Shah, 2000). There are four categories of hazardous waste, which are, characteristic wastes, listed wastes, universal wastes and mixed wastes (U.S. EPA, 2011). Shah (2000) stated “characteristic wastes are those that exhibit measurable properties indicating that a waste poses enough threat to deserve regulation as a hazardous waste” (p. 395). The U.S. EPA has also set four characteristics of hazardous waste, which is ignitability, corrosivity, reactivity, and toxicity, which is further explained as follow (as cited in Shah, 2000). Ignitable wastes can lead to fire during the period of transfer, storage, or disposal because it is explosive and easily combustible. Unusable paint, certain degreasers, or other solvents are the examples of ignitable wastes. The following would be characteristic of corrosive waste. Corrosive materials contain either high level of alkaline or extremely acidic which is hazardous when mixed with other wastes. It can easily liquefy metal or other materials or even blaze the skin, example of materials include waste rust removers, waste acid, alkaline cleaning fluids, and waste battery acid. Next, unsteady wastes or wastes that experience a fast or aggressive chemical response with water or other materials are known as reactive wastes, for instance, cyanide plating wastes, waste bleaches, and other waste oxidizers. Last but not least,...

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