A business that uses any of these common materials probably creates (generates) hazardous waste:
The owner of a business must first decide if something is a waste, and if so, whether it is hazardous. A material is "waste" if:
In Washington, a waste is "hazardous" if it's listed (discarded products and sources), meets characteristics (ignitability, corrosivity, reactivity, or toxicity) or criteria (environmental persistence or toxicity) described in the regulations.
Hazardous wastes can't be put in the dumpster, poured down the drain or evaporated into the air. They can't be taken to the transfer station or municipal landfill. The amount of waste the business produces or stores determines "generator status" and which regulations apply.
Use the Waste Directory "Yellow Book" to find vendors who can properly manage your waste.
A Small Quantity Generator, or SQG, is a business that
|You must have less than 2.2 pounds of highly toxic or reactive chemicals like these to be a small quantity generator.|
Laboratories, medical facilities, pest control operators and other businesses that use highly toxic or reactive chemicals (called "acutely hazardous wastes") may produce wastes with a monthly SQG limit of 2.2 pounds. Call the business waste line (206-263-8899) for help or check the "P" list of discarded chemical products. (external link)
Follow our suggestions for reducing, recycling, treating or properly disposing of hazardous waste. SQGs need less paperwork for managing hazardous waste and can access our program services, such as no-charge disposal.
Businesses that produce larger amounts of hazardous waste must comply with extensive regulations compared to SQGs. The requirements for regulated generators are spelled out in the Washington dangerous waste regulations (Chapter 173-303 WAC (external link)). These regulations address how hazardous waste must be stored, handled, transported and disposed. Contact the Department of Ecology (external link) for help at 206-649-7000.
"Waste designation" is the process of deciding if a certain waste is hazardous and selecting the applicable dangerous waste codes. Designation often involves identifying the chemical ingredients or contaminants in the waste. It helps ensure that the waste is properly labeled and handled.
Washington's Department of Ecology has guidance for designating waste (external link) according to the dangerous waste regulations, WACs 173-303-070 through 173-303-100 (external links). Dangerous waste numbers are listed in WACs 173-303-090, 173-303-104, and 173-303-9903 - 9904 (external links). The dangerous waste numbers are codes that correspond to the hazardous properties in the waste. For example, D008 means the waste contains lead; WT02 means the waste is toxic; D002 means the waste is corrosive.
Before the products become waste, information about the hazardous chemicals they contain is listed on the Materials Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) or Safety Data Sheet (SDS in the Globally Harmonized System). Contact suppliers or the product manufacturer for MSDS or SDS copies or find more ideas at Ecology’s website Identify Waste by Knowledge and Research.
A "waste profile" describes the chemical ingredients and the dangerous waste numbers assigned to the waste. Firms that transport, broker, reclaim or dispose of hazardous waste need a waste profile so that they can manage the waste safely and legally. Most private companies and solid waste landfills require a profile or other identification before accepting potentially hazardous wastes.
You may want to test your waste to see if your waste is hazardous. For example, used oil is often field-tested to detect chlorinated solvents. Many wastes, such as aerosol cans, are typically designated as hazardous without testing. Most waste handlers will profile a waste and can arrange to have it tested, if necessary. Doing a little research ahead of time may save money on testing. Here are some tips:
It's important to remember that after the waste profile is completed, the business (generator) signs it, not the waste handler. Because the business is ultimately responsible for the proper disposal of the waste it produces, an accurate profile is important.
A shop mixes concentrated cleaner with water and uses the solution to clean oily, corroded auto parts. The shop's waste management firm suggests testing the solution for solvents and heavy metals. In the preceding year the shop had eliminated all solvents from its cleaning process. The shop shows the material safety data sheets to the waste management firm and explains its "no solvent" policy. The firm agrees that solvent testing is unnecessary. Because parts are corroded before cleaning, it is a good idea to test for heavy metals.