What is Hazardous Waste Disposal?
Hazardous waste is a growing problem in the world, both in the amount of hazardous waste products that are produced and the increasing problem of where to store it and how to resolve it. An entire industry has grown up around the issue, and they are regulated by the EPA. The Environmental Protection Agency seeks to protect both the environment and human health through regulating business practices. Waste disposal and management companies are the arm of the waste industry that deal with the collection and remediation of waste.
Hazardous waste can be anything from certain chemicals to waste products that cannot biodegrade to medical waste and radioactive waste too. It can also include waste that when it does breakdown causes a toxic byproduct. Hazardous waste disposal is the process in which waste is collected, removed and then remediated. To remediate waste means to either transform it into a safe waste product through treatment, isolation or recycling. The end of the process requires that the hazardous waste be effectively neutralized and kept from being able to degrade and enter the environment.
Products such as oils, paints, batteries require special care when you dispose of them as they may be toxic, flammable/combustible, explosive, reactive or corrosive. These hazardous wastes can be liquids, solids or gases and can pollute the environment and pose a threat to human health. They should not be dumped in the landfills with other waste products. Improper disposal of such products can result in pouring them down the drain, or on the ground, or in river, or in the landfills. They need to disposed off carefully to prevent hazards to human and environmental health.
13 Best US Companies That Do Hazardous Waste Disposal
The hazardous waste industry is one of the fastest growing sectors in the business world. These companies represent a heavy investment in processes and training to allow for effective removal and remediation of hazardous waste. The best 13 US companies that do hazardous waste disposal are listed below.
1. Stericycle Inc. – Stericycle is very unusual in that one of its greatest services it offers with hazardous waste is in the management of product recalls with medical and pharmaceutical products. As a part of this service, they also help to manage and reduce risks associated with recalls to protect the overall brand image as well. Stericycle also focuses on the general removal and destruction of hazardous medical waste too.
2. Clean Harbors – Clean Harbors is a continental region company with offices and response teams in place across North America. On the average they handle over 3,000 environmental emergencies a year – from oil spills to wild fires. They focus on environmental, energy industry and industrial waste remediation.
3. Republic Services Inc. – Republic has been making the news lately with the success of their use of landfills to produce solar energy. They use a proprietary capture system that allows solar panels to combine the power of the sun with the heat produced by landfills to generate energy resources. Their first plant, located at a landfill in Texas, produces enough power each year to meet the needs of over 5,000 homes.
4. Waste Management Inc. – the largest US company i.e. Waste Management is the best known. They provide services across all sectors of industry, and residential waste management too. They work with communities to design management programs, and to promote education about the waste cycle. They are noted for taking steps to reduce their own waste by using vehicles with reduced carbon-emissions too.
5. Rumpke Consolidated Companies Inc. – Rumpke Waste is a company that is based out of Ohio and has been in the removal and remediation business since 1932. They are a regional company and only serve the immediate surrounding states. The area that they serve is densely populated with industries that create hazardous waste, which is why they are included on this list.
6. Recology Inc. – Founded in 1996, Recology has a focus on the removal and remediation of food waste. While many people don’t think of food waste as hazardous, the potential for health risks through spoiling and contamination are great. This West Coast company has been in business for several decades and is making a name for itself through promoting food waste management to reduce waste production in the industry.
7. Advanced Disposal Services LLC – Advanced Disposal is one of the largest and best known of the hazardous waste disposal companies. They provide services nationwide to residential, commercial and government entities. Their educational program on waste management, recycling and the waste remediation has made them one of the leaders in education to change the nature of how the country views waste production.
8. Covanta Energy Corporation – Covanta is a specialty waste company. They almost exclusively deal with EfW, this is energy from waste. This can take the form of everything from capturing and converting methane gas from sewage for power, to using waste disposal as a means to generate alternative energy resources too. They work primarily with local and federal agencies, and communities too to create better waste remediation processes.
9. Waste Connections Inc. – Waste Connections focuses exclusively on serving rural and secondary markets that have different needs in waste management and remediation compared to the urban markets. Their process of streamlining the life cycle of waste has won them much recognition, and they have also developed a waste management process that is done entirely on site.
10. Progressive Waste Solutions Ltd. – Progressive keeps its focus more on urban waste management with a heavy residential and commercial service department. They use dumpsters and collections for remediation gathering. They are also one of the prime LEED waste management companies around. This means that their teams are found on almost all major construction and health facility sites to help meet LEED requirements for the management of hazardous waste.
11. OC Waste & Recycling – OC Waste & Recycling is the department that serves the County’s solid waste disposal needs by providing waste management services, protecting the environment, and promoting recycling in order to ensure a safe and healthy community for current and future generations. It manages one of the nation’s premiere solid waste disposal systems serving residents and businesses.
12. Hazardous Waste Experts – Hazardous Waste Experts is a subsidiary of Pegasus Sustainability Solutions, Inc. It provides services to commercial and industrial customers. Hazardous Waste Experts is the choice for fast, compliant, low-cost and sustainable solutions to your hazardous waste removal challenges. They are experts in hazardous materials (Hazmat) and toxic waste as well.
13. Veolia – Veolia’s mission is to resource the world, by providing innovative environmental solutions in energy, water and waste. Veolia embraces this future by developing access to, preserving and replenishing the world’s resources. Its mission is to resource the world, helping their customers address their environmental and sustainability challenges in energy, water and waste
What are Hazardous Waste Products
1. Fluorescent tubes and CFL’s
2. Fertilizers, herbicides, insecticides and pesticides
3. Batteries and Electronics (TV, laptop, inverter, cell phones, desktop computer, fax machines, printers, MP3 player, cartridges, toner)
4. Paint products (water bases, solvent based)
5. Automotive products (gasoline, motor oil, polish, wax)
6. Universal materials (thermometers and thermostats)
7. Needles and lancets
10. Spot removers
11. Gas cylinders
13. Adhesives and glues
14. Ammunition and ammonia
15. Rat and mouse poison
These are just few hazardous waste products. For complete list, have a look at a list of hazardous wastes products available on EPA website
Most hazardous waste cannot be reclaimed or re-purposed. It is often neutralized through processing or treatment, and then stored through burial, or isolated in containers so that as it degrades the hazardous material will not enter the environment at a later stage. There is a growing focus on the beginning of the hazardous waste cycle and creating alternatives to the hazardous material so that less is used and introduced to the environment as a waste product.