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Why is Hazardous Waste Management So Important?

Roughly 7.8 billion people reside on our planet earth, involved in various activities for survival and fun. The tremendous amount of resources required to feed, clothe, and shelter this huge population has many side effects. One such aspect is waste generation.

Waste generation, in principle, is the unwanted by-products of processes and supply chains that humans do not need or cannot make use of. Such materials have to be either processed or burnt away to make room for more resources.

hazardous waste disposal site

What is Hazardous Waste?

According to the Environmental Protection Agency of the US, hazardous waste can be classified as any waste that contains a substantial threat to the environment or the public at large. Hazardous waste can be classified into four categories depending on the type of harm they are responsible for.

One such measure is the waste to energy initiative, which has caught pace in the past decade. More than half a dozen projects are already underway in the UK to manage waste by incinerating it to generate electricity. A typical waste-to-energy plant can process around 5000 tons of waste each day.

Projects in the UK

Some waste to energy projects that also help manage construction waste are as follows:

  • Waste that can easily catch fire or flammable debris is termed ignitable waste.
    Some waste is highly reactive, such as acids and bases. They quickly react to produce by-products that may harm the environment.
  • Another group of hazardous waste is classified according to its corrosivity. Corrosive waste is responsible for reacting chemically with other materials to alter that product or damage it.
  • Toxicity refers to the ability of a substance to cause harm to the health of an individual. These substances can damage the inner organs of humans, animals, and even trees. Sometimes they can affect the skin as well and often constitute poisonous substances.

Hazardous waste, in short, can have a deteriorating effect on the health of an individual, the environment, or our built environment.

Why Hazardous Waste Management?

Waste management itself is becoming a critical process to keep our world habitable for centuries to come. Before hazardous waste regulations, waste management companies dumped hazardous waste at regular waste landfills. It led to the seepage of such dangerous waste to the groundwater supplies, causing illnesses and toxicity.

One of the primary reasons to classify waste as hazardous is to avoid such incidents from happening. Hazardous waste classification leads to controlled monitoring, removal, transportation, and disposal of hazardous waste from the system.

The biggest threat of hazardous waste is two-fold. One is to human health, and the other is the health of the environment. Environmental degradation is taking place at a rapid pace. Hazardous waste accelerates this degradation by adding toxic, corrosive, and often inflammable substances to our environment.
Human health also suffers due to the toxins and chemicals present in hazardous waste. Harmful materials like asbestos, pesticides, car battery residue, solvents, oils, and others affect our organs and can even cause deaths.

Monetary and Regulatory Advantages

Apart from the obvious threat to the environment and consequently to public health, hazardous waste can account for serious monetary damages for individuals and businesses. The UK environment agency sets heavy penalties to organizations or companies that fail to process their hazardous waste.

The UK Environment Agency sets the ‘duty of care’ responsibilities for people and businesses involved in handling, storing, and carrying such hazardous waste. Hazardous waste management thus saves you from legal penalties and financial damage in terms of hefty fines. Click here, for more information from the UK Government.

A Growing Sector

Whilst it’s everyone’s responsibility to limit waste, the upside to its safe treatment and processing is new jobs. This is confirmed by a study entitled Opportunities to tackle UK Labour Market Challenges conducted by the Green Alliance and Waste Action Programme (WRAP) who have predicted over 200,000 jobs could be created across the waste management sector. If you are seeking a career change, or are in the industry already and looking for a new job in hazardous waste, Red Kite Waste can help.

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