Waste management is a big problem for businesses today. Failing to properly store and dispose of hazardous materials can lead to big problems for businesses. Unfortunately, it leads to even bigger problems for communities and the planet. Many common occurrences people and businesses think very little about can have a huge impact on the planet and even local drinking water. That’s why, as a business owner who works with hazardous materials, it’s so important to properly dispose of potentially hazardous materials in proper ways.
What are Hazardous Materials?
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), hazardous materials are substances that can catch fire, that can react or explode when mixed with other substances, that are corrosive, or that are toxic. So how does your small business go about creating a safe method for dealing with hazardous materials?
Follow the Lead of Experts
The Water Pollution Control Federation has created a chart that details the best method for disposing of certain materials.
- Blue dots should be placed on items that can be disposed of by pouring down your drain with plenty of water. Be aware that businesses with septic tanks should not pour certain chemicals down the drain because of potential damage to the septic tanks – even if they are “blue dot” items.
- Yellow diamonds indicate chemicals you can’t pour down the drain but can be disposed of in landfills.
- Red boxes indicate that the hazardous waste must be disposed of by licensed hazardous waste contractors.
- Green packages are those that are recyclable materials which are good for your planet, your community, and your employees.
It’s easy to purchase stickers in these shapes to place on containers so that employees know what to do with any given materials when the time for disposal arrives.
Learn Federal, State, and Local Policies
It’s in the best interest of your business to follow the law when it comes to using and disposing of hazardous materials to the letter. It’s even better when you have the skills, knowledge, and equipment to go above and beyond the law. Most businesses, however, do not have the equipment, expertise, or funds to do so. Sticking with the law, though, means that your business isn’t at risk of getting into legal hot water that could easily become a public relations nightmare.
Adopt Business-Wide Policies that Promote Safety
Safety is a policy every business should seek to adopt. The safer your business is n handling and disposing of hazardous materials the lower your injury rates will be, which in turn leads to lower absenteeism, higher morale, and greater overall productivity for your business. Everybody wins, especially your business, when safety is a major part of your corporate culture.
No matter how diligent your company is in its efforts to practice proper safety when dealing with hazardous materials, accidents happen. You need to protect the interests of your business, at times like these, with proper liability insurance coverage against hazardous materials, chemical spills, and pollution.