Hazardous Waste Disposal: What you need to Know
Whether stripping down a building for reclamation or clearing away after a DIY project, ensuring that you dispose of all waste correctly is of vital importance. While most masonry and other debris can be placed in a skip, and household and garden waste is accounted for by local councils, there are a number of materials that require special attention.
Probably the most infamous harmful material of these in the construction and building works industry is asbestos. Having been used widely from the end of the 19th century until fairly recently for its sound proofing, insulating and fire resistant qualities, in more recent years evidence of the major health risks it posed led to the European Union banning its manufacturing and processing.
Linked with lung cancer and other respiratory diseases, the microscopic fibres found in asbestos are highly damaging if inhaled over long periods of time, and when being stripped from buildings in which it has been used, precautions must be taken.
Danger only really occurs if asbestos is broken up when removed, and its disposal should always be carried out by trained professionals. Regulations stipulate that asbestos materials must be transported to landfill via pre-determined routes and by specially designed vehicles only.
Believe it or not, asbestos is actually recyclable, albeit through a slightly complex process of transformation into silicate glass – which again must be carried out by highly skilled experts.
Asbestos may exist in a number of different places around the home, including ceiling and wall linings, gutters and roof lining, floor tiles and bath panels, so it’s important to check before performing any destructive work.
Waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) is another major disposal hazard, and refers to unused or unwanted devices such as home computers, mobile phones, TVs and more which may contain contaminants such as fluorescents, lead-acid batteries, cadmium, beryllium and polychlorinated biphenyl.
Much of this equipment is unsafe for landfill because of their hazardous component parts, although that doesn’t stop 3.3 tonnes per UK individual per lifetime ending up there. In an effort to improve safe disposal of electrical devices, the European Community introduced the WEEE Directive in 2003 to set recycling targets for electronic equipment, as well as imposing stricter regulations on the chemical makeup of new products entering the market.
As an example of steps taken under the WEEE Directive, many supermarkets now contain collection points for used batteries, while a number of organisations have materialised offering safe disposal options for old mobile phones and computers – in many cases with a cash incentive attached.
As part of our comprehensive waste management services, here at Woodford Recycling we offer hazardous waste collection to all domestic and commercial customers, picking up your dangerous materials and disposing of them in a safe and efficient manner in line with all Hazardous Waste Regulations.
Our expert team specialise in the removal of asbestos from buildings, as well as liquid waste disposal such as drain and septic tank cleaning, and we aim to recycle over 85% of all the non-toxic waste we collect, with our sister company Woodford Waste Management operating a non-hazardous landfill site fit for our purposes.