Waste Management Safe Handling and Storage Of Waste

Waste Management: Safe Handling and Storage Of Waste

Waste Management

Waste management is the process of handling and disposing of waste materials. It includes everything from sorting and recycling to disposal. Waste management is a critical part of any business or municipality, as it helps to keep the environment clean and safe.

Many different types of waste need to be managed, including:

  • Food waste
  • Yard waste
  • Hazardous waste
  • Electronic waste

Each type of waste has its own set of management challenges. For example, food waste must be disposed of to prevent it from attracting pests or contaminating other food. Hazardous waste must be handled carefully to avoid exposure to people or the environment.

The best way to manage waste is to prevent it from being generated in the first place. This can be done through source reduction, which is the process of reducing the amount of waste that is produced. Source reduction can be achieved through various methods, such as using less packaging, recycling, and composting.

Waste Management Types

There are many ways to manage waste, and the type of waste management system you choose will depend on the type and amount of waste you produce. Here are some common waste management types:

1. Recycling

Recycling is one of the most popular methods of waste management. It involves sorting your waste into different materials, such as paper, plastic, metal, and glass, and then sending them to be recycled into new products.

2. Composting

Composting is a great way to reduce your food waste. It involves breaking down organic matter, such as food scraps and yard waste, into nutrient-rich compost that can be used to fertilize your garden.

3. Incineration

Incineration is a waste management method that involves burning waste to produce energy. This is a popular method for managing medical and hazardous waste.

4. Landfills

Landfills are the oldest and most common method of waste disposal. They involve burying waste in the ground to keep it out of sight and away from people.

5. Waste-to-energy

Waste-to-energy plants use waste to generate electricity. This is a clean and efficient way to dispose of waste while also producing energy that can be used to power homes and businesses.

6. Waste reduction

Waste reduction is the best way to manage waste. It involves reducing the amount of waste you produce in the first place. This can be done by recycling, composting, and avoiding single-use items.

Each method of disposal has its own advantages and disadvantages. Landfills are the most common method of waste disposal, but they can be costly and cause environmental problems. Incineration destroys waste, but it can release harmful pollutants into the air. Recycling and composting are environmentally friendly alternatives to landfills, but they may not be available in all areas.

Waste Management Types

Waste Management Hierarchy

The waste management hierarchy is a framework that classifies types of waste from most to least environmentally damaging. It is used by businesses and organizations to help guide decisions about how to handle different types of waste.

The waste management hierarchy has four levels:

  1. Reduce
  2. Reuse
  3. Recycle
  4. Dispose

The highest level of the hierarchy is “reduce.” This means taking steps to reduce the amount of waste that is generated in the first place. For example, a business might switch to more efficient packaging materials that use fewer resources and generate less waste.

The next level of the hierarchy is “reuse.” This means finding ways to reuse waste materials instead of throwing them away. For example, a business might donate unused office supplies to a local school.

The next level is “recycle.” This means recycling waste materials to be used to make new products. For example, a business might recycle paper products so that they can be turned into new paper products.

The last level of the hierarchy is “dispose of.” This means disposing of waste in a safe way for the environment. For example, a business might incinerate hazardous waste materials, so they are not released into the air or water.

The waste management hierarchy is a useful tool for businesses and organizations to use when deciding how to handle the waste. By following the hierarchy, businesses and organizations can reduce the environmental impact of their waste.

Some form of training may be required to ensure that employees segregate hazardous and non-hazardous wastes on-site and fully understand the risks and necessary safety precautions which must be taken. Personal protective equipment must be provided and used, including overalls, gloves, and eye protection. The storage site should be protected against trespassers, fire, and adverse weather conditions. If flammable or combustible wastes are stored, adequate fire protection systems must be in place. Finally, in the case of liquid wastes, any drains must be protected, and bunds are used to restrict the spreading of the substance resulting from spills. 

The Environment Agency has recommended a hierarchy for the management of waste streams. 

  1. Prevention – by changing the process so the waste is not produced (e.g., substituting a particular material).
  2. Reduction – by improving the efficiency of the process (e.g., better machine maintenance). 3
  3. Reuse – recycling the waste into the process (e.g., using reground waste plastic products as a feed for new products).
  4. Recovery – by releasing energy through the combustion, recycling, or composting of waste (e.g., the incineration of combustible waste to heat a building).
  5. Responsible disposal – by disposal by regulatory requirements.

Safe Handling and Storage Of Waste

Work-related deaths in the waste management industry are ten times the national average. Accident rates in the industry are four times the national average. The statutory duty of care for waste management derives from Part 2 of the Environmental Protection Act (EPA). The principal requirements are as follows:

  • To handle waste to prevent any unauthorized escape into the environment;
  • To pass waste only to an authorized person as defined by the EPA;
  • To ensure that a written description accompanies all waste. The Environmental Protection (Duty of Care) Regulations 1991 requires holders or producers of waste to complete a ‘Transfer Note’ giving full details of the type and quantity of waste for collection and disposal. Copies of the note should be kept for at least 2 years;
  • To ensure that no person commits an offense under the Act.

The EPA is concerned with controlled waste. Controlled waste comprises household, industrial or commercial waste. It is a criminal offense to deposit controlled waste without an environmental permit and/ or in a manner likely to cause environmental pollution or harm to human health.

The EPA also covers hazardous waste and spillage. Hazardous waste can only be disposed of using special arrangements. There are two categories of hazardous waste: absolute hazardous waste, such as hydrochloric acid, fuel, oil, or diesel; or mirror hazardous waste, such as sawdust, shavings, cuttings, and wood particle board, and veneer containing dangerous substances. If waste falls into these categories, it must be handled, stored, transported, and disposed of appropriately. The EPA imposes a legal duty of care to ensure that waste is not illegally disposed of or dealt with without an Environmental Permit or Registered Exemption.

The waste must be stored securely and safely in sealed waterproof containers with clear labeling and written instructions for storage and disposal to protect the environment. It must be regularly checked for leaks, deteriorating containers, or other potential risks. It is essential to carry out a risk assessment to identify the risks associated with handling and storing hazardous waste. 

These substances are sometimes life-threatening (toxic, corrosive, or carcinogenic) or highly flammable. Clinical waste falls within this category. A consignment note system accompanies this waste at all stages to its final destination. Before the hazardous waste is removed from the originating premises, a contract should be in place with a licensed carrier. 

The Hazardous Waste Regulations, with the exclusion of Scotland, replace the Special Waste Regulations and cover many more substances, for example, computer monitors, fluorescent tubes, end-of-life vehicles, and television sets. Hazardous waste is waste that can cause damage to the environment or human health. The hazardous properties of waste covered by these Regulations and producers of such waste may need to notify the Environment Agency. The Regulations seek to ensure that hazardous waste is safely managed and its movement is documented. The following points are important for construction sites:

  • Sites that produce more than 200 kg of hazardous waste each year for removal, treatment, or disposal must register with the Environment Agency.
  • Different types of hazardous waste must not be mixed.
  • Producers must maintain registers of their hazardous wastes.
Waste Management Process

Why is waste management important?

Waste management is important for several reasons. First, waste management helps to protect the environment. The proper disposal of waste prevents pollution and conserves resources. Second, waste management helps to conserve resources. Recycling and reusing materials reduce the need to extract new resources from the earth. Third, waste management helps to reduce pollution. Improper disposal of waste can pollute the air, water, and land. Finally, waste management helps to create jobs. The waste management industry employs millions of people around the world.

Waste Disposal 

Waste collection and removal from a workplace are normally accomplished using a skip. Every year, activities involving the movement of skips and containers cause death and serious injury. The hazards include:

  • Being struck by vehicles;
  • Falling and slipping;
  • Failures of lifting equipment;
  • Striking overhead cables/obstructions;
  • Vehicle overturns;
  • Runaway vehicles.

The skip should be located on firm, level ground away from the main construction work, particularly excavation. This will allow clear access to the skip for filling and removal from the site. On arrival at the site, the integrity of the skip should be checked. It should be filled either by chute or mechanical unless items can be placed by hand. Skips should not be overfilled and be netted or sheeted over when they are full. Any hazardous waste should be segregated from controlled waste. 

Waste skip selection should be made during the site planning process. The selected skip must be suitable for the particular job. The following points should be considered:

  • Sufficient strength to cope with its load;
  • Stability while being filled;
  • A reasonable uniform load distribution within the skip at all times;
  • The immediate removal of any damaged skip from service and the skip inspected after repair before it is used again;
  • Sufficient space around the skip to work safely at all times;
  • The skip should be resting on firm, level ground;
  • The skip should never be overloaded or overfilled;
  • There must be sufficient headroom to remove the skip when it is filled safely.

There are hazards present during the movement of a loaded skip from the ground to the back of a skip loader vehicle. Entanglement with the vehicle lifting mechanisms, such as the hydraulic arms and lifting chains, is a major hazard.

Other hazards include contact by the skip with overhead obstructions, movement of the skip contents, and skip overload leading to mechanical or structural failure. Slip hazards may be present due to spillages from the skip, and the skip contents could be contaminated with biological material, asbestos, or syringes. Passing traffic during the loading operation may also present a hazard.

The control measures for these hazards include using outriggers to increase the loader vehicle’s stability and providing steps for the driver to alight from the cab or the vehicle flatbed. The contents of the skip should be secured using netting or tarpaulin. Additional controls include adhering to the safe working loads of the skip and lifting equipment and using a banksman during the lifting process.

The area around the vehicle may need to be cordoned off to protect passing pedestrians and road traffic. All workers concerned with the operation should wear suitable PPE, such as high visibility jackets, gloves, and suitable footwear. Finally, all lifting equipment, including chains and shackles, must be subject to a periodic statutory examination.

Other Waste Issues

In 1998, land disposal accounted for approximately 58% of waste disposal, 26% was recycled, and the remainder was incinerated, with some of the energy recovered as heat. The Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations 1997 placed legal obligations on employers to reduce their packaging waste by either recycling or recovery as energy (normally as heat from an incinerator attached to a district heating system). A series of targets have been stipulated, which will progressively reduce the amount of waste over the years. These Regulations are enforced by the Environment Agency, which has powers of prosecution in the event of non-compliance. The UK recycled almost two-thirds of all packaging produced in 2008.

The Landfill (England and Wales) Regulations 2002 are part of the government’s drive to encourage recycling and reduce the amount of rubbish sent to landfill sites. This means that companies now have to either recycle or treat their waste before it is taken to landfills. The new rules have already come into force in Scotland.

The main changes are that liquid wastes are now banned from landfill, and other waste must be treated before it can be passed into landfill. Businesses must demonstrate that their waste has been treated in either physical, thermal, chemical, or biological processes.

One major environmental problem is that of contaminated land. Contaminated land is defined in the Environmental Protection Act and is produced by leakage, accidental spillage, and uncontrolled waste disposal. The contaminator of the land has the primary responsibility and liability for cleaning up the contamination. If the contaminator is unknown, the current owner of the land has the responsibility. The local authority becomes responsible for the remediation if no current owner can be found.

There is more information on the EPA, the Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC), and waste disposal in Chapter 15. The Environment Agency has similar powers following the introduction of the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive, the Restrictions of the use of certain Hazardous Substances in electrical and electronic equipment (RoHS), and the End of Life Vehicle (ELV) Directive.

The WEEE Directive aims to minimize the environmental impact of electrical and electronic equipment during their lifetime and when discarded. All electrical and electronic equipment must be returned to the retailer from its end-user and reused or reprocessed by the manufacturer. Manufacturers must register with the Environment Agency, which will advise on these obligations.

The WEEE Regulations have been amended so that producer-compliance schemes report their activities more precisely (by providing evidence of recycling in kilograms instead of tonnes). It is hoped that this will reduce the delays in recycling and lead to the recycling of smaller amounts at more frequent intervals.

The European Commission has recently proposed changes to both WEEE and RoHS. On WEEE, a major proposal is to increase the amounts of electrical and electronic waste that are separately collected and recycled. In contrast, the proposals on RoHS aim for a higher level of environmental protection by revising the scope of the restrictions and the applicable substances.

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