Why You Should Never Store Poly Drums in the Sun: a First-Hand Experience

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Throughout my 18 years in the hazardous waste industry, I have always warned my customers about the dangers of storing poly containers outside. Here is why:

About 10 years ago, I was doing a lab pack inventory and a customer had 20-30 five-gallon containers (poly) that were being stored outside; the containers had weathered the elements there for 1-2 years. While I read a label on one of the containers, I put my hand on another container for support…only to have it explode on me! Liquid waste spilled out of the container, drenching my arm. Although I was wearing a smock, long sleeve shirt, safety glasses and latex gloves, they would not have lasted long as protection against the corrosive waste. Thankfully, there was a water hose within 3 feet. Had water not been so close by, or had it been a larger drum or container, this could have resulted in the dispatch of an emergency response team.

Since then, I have always advised my customers to keep poly containers inside – or at least out of direct sunlight – as the sun deteriorates the plastic and causes it to become brittle.

To make sure your hazardous waste is being stored safely and according to regulation, or for other environmental service needs, please contact your local ACTenviro branch.

– Mike Przewoznik, Account Manager