HAZARDOUS WASTE: classification, examples and handling

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One of the types of waste that is most important to manage properly are known as hazardous waste. This type of waste can be recyclable or not. However, what characterizes this type of garbage is that it is waste that presents a very high risk both for the environment and for the health of people and animals. Due to this, it is waste that must be managed in a special way. That is, in a specific way that differentiates them from the rest of the usual waste.

In this sense, each type of hazardous waste has an associated management protocol to ensure its correct management and that it does not become a danger to health or the environment. If you want to know more about hazardous waste, know its classification, some examples and its management, keep reading Green Ecologist.

Classification of hazardous waste (RP)

The classification of hazardous waste is not unitary. Therefore, depending on the regulations taken as a reference, one type of classification or another can be found. However, in most cases, they will be equivalent classifications to each other, since the residues remain the same regardless of where they are found. In this way, we can consider the following classification as a general classification of the most common hazardous waste:

  • Corrosive hazardous waste: it is hazardous waste that poses a risk of corroding any surface with which it comes into contact. In general, it is waste composed mainly of acids.
  • Hazardous waste due to chemical reactivity: in this case, it is hazardous waste because it can corrode the surface with which it comes into contact, or even become explosive. However, these are wastes that, by themselves, are not extremely dangerous, but that could become so if they react with other substances, for example oxygen.
  • Hazardous explosive waste: it is waste that, as its name suggests, can explode if not managed correctly.
  • Flammable hazardous waste: This is especially heat sensitive waste, so it could easily burn.
  • Toxic hazardous waste: they are residues whose danger derives from toxicity to health, they can be organic or inorganic.
  • Radioactive hazardous waste: in this case, it is waste whose danger is derived from emitting radiation.

Examples of hazardous waste

Once we have seen the main classifications of these wastes, we are going to mention some examples in each of their corresponding categories. These are just some of the examples of hazardous waste, but these are very wide and varied:

  • Corrosive hazardous waste: these wastes are characterized by being corrosive when in contact with a surface. Many examples can be found, especially in relation to acids, such as sulfuric acid.
  • Hazardous waste due to chemical reactivity: these wastes are dangerous when they come into contact with other substances that make them react chemically. Substances used in the laboratory can be mentioned, as well as many heavy metals among which mercury, cadmium or lead, among others, should be highlighted.
  • Hazardous explosive waste: is waste that can explode when in contact with heat sources. The clearest case would be dynamite or gunpowder.
  • Flammable hazardous waste: in this case, these are substances that can burn easily, even becoming explosive in some specific situations. Here it is worth mentioning substances such as those derived from oil or natural gas among others.
  • Toxic hazardous waste: it is waste that is hazardous to health. In the case of inorganic wastes, substances such as arsenic or mercury, which are considered heavy metals. While in the case of organic products, the clearest example is found in waste from health centers such as hospitals or laboratories.
  • Radioactive hazardous waste: is waste that emits radiation, such as waste from uranium or plutonium. Mainly, it is worth mentioning the waste produced in nuclear power plants.

Hazardous waste management

At the time of handle hazardous waste Several factors must be taken into account. In the first place, that only those people who have the proper training for it. This is the best way to avoid that they can be managed irresponsibly, since the people who handle hazardous waste have received the specific and necessary training to do so in the mandatory security conditions.

Secondly, it should also be mentioned that the necessary hazardous waste management must always be done with the necessary material and tools. In this sense, it is mainly clothing or equipment that foresees that the hazardous waste may pose a threat to the person who handles it and their environment.

Finally, it must also be taken into account that each hazardous waste has a specific way of being handled, which is stipulated by the management protocols corresponding to each case. As you can understand, it will not be the same to handle radioactive waste than to do it with toxic organic waste. In each case, the protocol and the necessary security measures will be different and specific, so the handling of said waste will have to be adapted to the protocols established in each case. Likewise, this will happen with each type of hazardous waste in particular.

If you want to read more articles similar to Hazardous waste: classification, examples and management, we recommend that you enter our Recycling and waste management category.

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