Waste receptacles are used to collect trash. However, the same receptacle cannot be used to collect every kind of trash. Based on the unique requirement of every kind of facility (schools, hospitals, apartments), waste receptacles that are used must be effective. The kind used for hazardous material is of utmost importance, and educated decisions must be taken by the facility that has to dispose these off.
Although the dangers of disposing hazardous waste improperly by pouring it down the drain into the sewers or releasing it into the ocean is not immediately obvious, they have the potential of contaminating septic tanks, water treatment plants, and can also cause water-based creatures and fish to die.
- Biological Waste: This kind of waste includes all sharp, contaminated objects like needles, scalpels syringes, and expired medicines. Raw meat is also considered as biological waste. These are seen mainly in hospitals, clinics, restaurants, poultry farms, and slaughter houses.
- Chemical Waste: These wastes include ignitable, corrosive, reactive, and toxic wastes. They are seen in chemical labs, biomedical research labs, and hospitals.
- Radioactive Wastes: This kind of waste includes all radioactive material, and the metal lead. They are seen in chemical labs and biomedical research labs.
Hazardous Waste Receptacle
As a general rule, all hazardous receptacles should be designed in a way that the user will never have to touch its lid. The two options therefore available are that it should either be open, or should have a pedal that opens and closes the lid when pressed with the foot. Open receptacles can be used in case of broken glass material, but care should be taken that these receptacles are emptied at regular intervals, and are placed such that they do not topple over. Closed receptacles are recommended for biodegradable and chemical wastes, especially radioactive wastes. Medical waste receptacles should be emptied on a regular basis to ensure that the medicines do not fall into the wrong hands.
Further, it is recommended that for all biological hazardous waste, the receptacle be lined with a waste bag that will help in safe disposal. The disposable bag should have a 3 mil polyethylene construction, and should also meet the dart impact resistance test of 165 g.
Some of the standard features that all hazardous waste receptacles should have are:
- Heavy gauge metal should be used on the outer and inner sides of the receptacles to provide protection against burning, smoke and fumes.
- The receptacles should be sturdy and rust proof.
- The receptacles should have a vapor barrier that will prevent mildew and will also help in protecting the floors.
Hazardous material which threaten living things are used almost daily by many households and businesses. The wastes produced by these material are equally harmful, are known as hazardous waste, and must be handled in special ways to prevent any harm to human health, wildlife, and the environment.
Hazardous waste management programs are deployed by each state in the United States, that help businesses and households identify and dispose hazardous waste. Further, they also help with the treatment of the waste. These wastes are treated to minimize their volume, and make disposal easier or to make the waste less toxic, else to enhance the recovery and reusability of the waste components in a solution of waste material.
The different modes of treatment used are physical, chemical, biological or thermal, and depends on the kind of waste. Physical treatment is used to separate solid matter from the liquids, by using mechanical devices. Chemical treatments are used to neutralize, precipitate, oxidize or reduce the quantity of the chemical component with the help of acids and bases. Biological treatment comprises biodegrading diluted organic waste, while thermal treatments are used to bring about vaporization, oxidation, and other similar effects of solid and liquid components.
A number of new technologies are currently being tested and evaluated for managing, treating, and finally destroying hazardous waste. Some of these technologies are low temperature oxidation (also known as critical water), chlorine removal, vitrification, extraction, and concentration and biodegradation.
Hazardous waste are so named as they can cause the death of living organisms. We have a moral obligation as humans to ensure that if we are involved in a profession that produces hazardous waste, then we must make every effort to reduce the volume of the waste produced, store it effectively, and finally use efficient methods to dispose it off in a safe manner.