Are you moving houses or business premises? Any move involves a lot of planning so that the logistics of the move can happen smoothly with minimum hassle. Along with packing and sorting it is your responsibility to ensure that any hazardous items you are not taking with you are disposed of correctly. There are rules and regulations to follow when you dispose of hazardous waste, and it is important that these are strictly complied with.
Importance of proper disposal of hazardous items during a move
The very name of this type of waste emphasises its potential danger and why disposing of these items correctly it is so important. The simple definition of hazardous waste is that it includes properties that can make it ‘dangerous or capable of having harmful effect on human health or the environment’. Environmental pollution and contamination are very real problems when hazardous materials are not disposed of in the correct way whether it is household waste or business waste. Ineffective disposals cause contamination of our air, water and soil as well as adding to open and unsanitary landfills that further spread contamination.
What are ‘hazardous items’?
Hazardous items can take the form of liquids, solids, contained gases and sludges and can be further categorised as household hazardous waste and commercial waste materials. Such waste generally includes combustible and flammable maters such as chemicals, materials that are toxic or reactive or corrosive. They could also include ignitable, infectious or radioactive elements. Hazardous waste is classified based on its physical, chemical and biological properties and can cause grievous damage if not stored, treated or disposed off properly or during transportation especially during a move.
Hazardous items in households
There are a number of hazardous household items, some of which are obvious but others you may not have even realised were hazardous. Listed below are a few items that are common household items but come under hazardous waste:
- Household cleaners
- Motor oil
- Vehicle batteries
- Drain cleaners
- Paints and solvents
- Compressed gas tanks
Hazardous items in offices and commercial buildings
In the UK the laws and regulations regarding the disposal of commercial hazardous waste are strict with businesses given a ‘duty of care’ responsibility to appropriate waste management, storage, transport and disposal of their hazardous waste appropriately. All hazardous waste must be separated from non-hazardous waste and not allowed to mix at any point.
Some of the common commercial waste items include:
- Fluorescent tubes
- Electronic waste – WEEE
- Cleaning solvents, lab chemicals, spent acids and bases
- Clinical waste
- Chemical based products such as brake fluid and printer toner
- Equipment with ozone depleting substances
- Discarded materials such as asbestos
How to dispose of hazardous items
Though the dangers might not be immediately noticeable improper disposing of hazardous materials poses a very real threat to the environment, animals and human health. Hazardous material not removed properly can contaminate waterway systems or septic tanks if simply poured down drains or toilets or thrown into landfills, toxins can seep into the soil. That is why there are stringent laws and regulations regarding moving hazardous materials and disposing of them. Failure to do so can lead to heavy fines and even arrest. There are a few clear steps you can follow to ensure that you or your business dispose or transport such items correctly during a move.
Making a checklist of hazardous items in your possession
This is important because it gives everyone involved in the move a precise idea of the items that require special attention. This way everyone will also know that these items have to be handled carefully for either transportation or disposal. It also helps avoid the risk of mix products storage.
Following local regulations and guidelines
Each local council in the UK has stringent regulations and guidelines regarding the disposal of hazardous waste and it is important that you or your team are extremely familiar and up to date with the guidelines so as to avoid any potential mishaps.
Researching the different methods of disposing of hazardous items
Delegate someone in your family, friends or team to thoroughly research the different ways in which hazardous items should be disposed. For example there are specific guidelines and rules when disposing of WEEE waste and different guidelines when removing materials such as asbestos. Being knowledgeable on rules regarding waste removal, will help avoid future problems or possible heavy fines when your transport hazardous items during your move.
Luckily some hazardous materials can be recycled ensuring they have less adverse impact on the environment. There are many recycling centres that accept certain hazardous waste or find a drop off location or you could use the mail in recycling kit for further convenience. People are always encouraged to opt for recycling or reusing whenever possible to reduce the amount of generated waste. Some of the items that are suitable for recycling include televisions, fridges, freezers, computer monitors and appliances such as washing machines. Energy saving bulbs and fluorescent tubes can be recycles as well though they need to be broken down and separated before being recycled.
Handling hazardous items during the disposal process
Purchase the proper protective equipment needed for safe handling such as gloves and goggles. Before actually handling the item or items learn about the material you are about to handle and their specific characteristics and risks and never take shortcuts when you handle the materials. Hazardous items should be stored and transported according to approved procedures and avoid any dangerous mishaps. Always carry hazardous materials separately and never mix or combine them as it could cause lethal results.
Proper labelling and packaging systems
It is always best to keep the original packaging of hazardous items so that they can be re-packed securely during a move. Also it provides the opportunity to read the labels carefully so you can understand the best way to package the items if there are any flammable or corrosive substances in the item. Materials in their original packaging can be safer for transportation as well.
Hiring a professional team
The safest way to transport or dispose of hazardous items or waste is to hire a professional moving company because they will have the experience, expertise, tools and equipment and the needed man power to ensure a safe and smooth move of hazardous items. It takes away all the stress of trying to organise such a move on your own. Best of all professional movers will schedule a home or business premises visit so that you have nothing to worry about except ensuring that the waste or items are kept securely and separately. Professional movers will also know the rules and regulations and ensure that your move or disposal is done correctly.
Use the tips and suggestions given in this article to organise your domestic or commercial hazardous items move or disposal and enjoy a smooth experience, that is done within the stipulated rules and regulations with minimum trouble.