Best practices in hazardous waste management
Environmental regulations in.the u.s. place the burdenof properly managing and disposing of hazardouswaste on the companies that generate the, waste. These companies bear significant liability-whiChcan be mitigated,but never entirely eliminated. The consequencesof mismanaging hazardous waste include substantialfinancial penalties and severe damage to an organization'spublic image. Fortunately, the most common wastemanagementviolations can be avoided by implementiugbasic programs that reduce a generator's risk profile. Theseinclude rigorous hazardous-waste determination, vendormanagement, and document control.
Determining whether a waste is hazardous
In the United States , the rules and regulations for managingany discarded material, including nonhazardousmaterials, are outlined in the Resource Conservation andRecovery Act (RCRA). This regulation places the responsibilityof determining 'if the waste is hazardous squarely onthe persongeneratiugthe waste (40 CPR Section 262.11).
Although determining whether a material is hazardousmay seem like the simplest part of a hazardous-waste managementprogram. it is actually at the root of most hazardous-waste violations. RCRA (42 USC Section 6903)lists the specifications that defme hazardous waste. Theaccuracy of the identification and classification of h:!zardouswaste will have a direct impact on the generator'sability to cOfnply with mandated labeling, storage, segregationand disposal requirements for that waste.