Understanding the Four Characteristics of Hazardous Waste

Just because you’ve generated a waste doesn’t mean you’ve generated a hazardous waste. If you know you have a waste, but you’re not completely sure whether your waste is, in fact, hazardous, the first step in making that determination is to check whether it is on one of the EPA’s four hazardous waste lists: F, K, P and U.

Different types of wastes were added to these lists because they are toxic, reactive, ignitable or corrosive (the four hazardous waste “characteristics”). If your waste is listed, it is assumed to have one or more of these hazardous characteristics and, therefore, must be managed as “hazardous waste”; no testing or analysis is required.

F-list (40 CFR 261.31)

Found at many different types of businesses, F-list waste comes from a nonspecific source. Examples of F-list wastes include “spent” halogenated or non-halogenated solvents, spent cyanide plating bath solutions and residues, and petroleum refinery oil/water separation sludge.

Inclusion on the F-list is based on the process and the chemical used to create the waste. For instance, methylene chloride, a chemical that can be used in different ways, is commonly used as a degreaser. Methylene chloride-based degreaser solutions would carry the F001 code. However, if you have methylene chloride that was used for purposes other than for degreasing, it would not carry the F001 code for halogenated solvents used for degreasing. In fact, it might not carry an F-code at all, if you used it as a reagent in a chemical reaction, for example. (Note: Even if your methylene chloride–containing waste is not a listed waste, if must still be evaluated for hazardous waste characteristics, including toxicity.)

F-list (40 CFR 261.32)

K-list waste comes from any of 13 very specific industries or various processes. Examples include wastes from wood preservation (K001), inorganic pigment manufacturing, explosives manufacturing and veterinary pharmaceuticals manufacturing.

P-list (40 CFR 261.33) & U-list (40 CFR 261.33)

Both P- and U-list wastes are off-spec or unused commercial chemical products (CCP). U-list is hazardous waste, and P-list is acutely hazardous waste. These lists contain discarded commercial chemical products, where the listed material is the sole active component. As an example, unused/off-spec epinephrine is a P-listed waste (P042), however epinephrine salts (as found in many medical epinephrine injectors) would not carry the P-042 code. Federal P and U codes do not apply to mixtures with other components, but they do apply to soil or debris contaminated with U- or P-listed materials.

Also, some states, including California, have state-specific lists of “extremely hazardous substances,” in addition to the EPA list. An example of a P-list waste is unused/off-spec epinephrine (P042).

The amount of P-coded waste you produce can have an effect on your generator status. We’ll discuss generator status — large-quantity generator, small-quantity generator or very-small-quantity generator — in a later post, but generating as little as 1 kilogram of P-list waste in one month is enough to move you from a small-quantity generator to a large-quantity generator.

The mixture rule for listed wastes

Mixtures of listed wastes and non-hazardous solid wastes carry a presumption of “hazardousness,” which means they are considered hazardous wastes regardless of concentration. In other words, even if a small amount of listed waste is mixed with a large amount of non-hazardous waste, the whole mixture will carry the waste codes from the listed waste. This very conservative rule was adopted by the EPA to ensure unscrupulous generators did not “dilute” their hazardous wastes with other materials.

There are limited exceptions to the mixture rule for wastes that were listed due to ignitability, corrosivity or reactivity. In those cases, if the mixture is no longer ignitable, corrosive or reactive (as defined in hazardous waste regulations), then the waste is no longer considered hazardous. For example, if a spent solvent carrying EPA waste code F003 (listed due to potential ignitability) is mixed with non-flammable materials, so that the flash point is greater than 140 degrees F, it would no longer be considered “ignitable.” Since F003 is listed only due to potential ignitability, that code would no longer apply, though the waste may still exhibit other hazardous waste characteristics.

This may seem like a loophole, but unless it is an inherent part of the process that generates the waste, then mixing hazardous waste with other materials to remove or change hazardous characteristics is considered “treatment” and requires a permit from hazardous waste regulators. This exception does not apply to wastes listed due to toxicity, as there is really no way to “mix” out or dilute toxicity. Waste listed due to toxicity that are mixed with non-toxic materials will still be considered toxic and carry a toxicity code.

Remember: Even if your waste is not listed, you’re not off the hook. The next step is to check if it has any of the four EPA characteristics of hazardous waste.

ACTenviro has experts available to help you with your waste at each step along the way, from determining what you have to proper disposal. Please reach out to us at [email protected], and let us know how we can help.

James Kapin is Principal Advisor for safety, health and environmental compliance for ACTenviro.  Jim is a Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH) and a Certified Safety Professional (CSP) with over 25 years of workplace safety and environmental protection experience.   Do you have any hazardous waste questions for Jim?  Or any other workplace safety or environmental compliance questions?  Let us know at [email protected]

How to Use the Four Lists for Hazardous Waste

Just because you’ve generated a waste doesn’t mean you’ve generated a hazardous waste. If you know you have a waste, but you’re not completely sure whether your waste is, in fact, hazardous, the first step in making that determination is to check whether it is on one of the EPA’s four hazardous waste lists: F, K, P and U.

Different types of wastes were added to these lists because they are toxic, reactive, ignitable or corrosive (the four hazardous waste “characteristics”). If your waste is listed, it is assumed to have one or more of these hazardous characteristics and, therefore, must be managed as “hazardous waste”; no testing or analysis is required.

F-list (40 CFR 261.31)

Found at many different types of businesses, F-list waste comes from a nonspecific source. Examples of F-list wastes include “spent” halogenated or non-halogenated solvents, spent cyanide plating bath solutions and residues, and petroleum refinery oil/water separation sludge.

Inclusion on the F-list is based on the process and the chemical used to create the waste. For instance, methylene chloride, a chemical that can be used in different ways, is commonly used as a degreaser. Methylene chloride-based degreaser solutions would carry the F001 code. However, if you have methylene chloride that was used for purposes other than for degreasing, it would not carry the F001 code for halogenated solvents used for degreasing. In fact, it might not carry an F-code at all, if you used it as a reagent in a chemical reaction, for example. (Note: Even if your methylene chloride–containing waste is not a listed waste, if must still be evaluated for hazardous waste characteristics, including toxicity.)

F-list (40 CFR 261.32)

K-list waste comes from any of 13 very specific industries or various processes. Examples include wastes from wood preservation (K001), inorganic pigment manufacturing, explosives manufacturing and veterinary pharmaceuticals manufacturing.

P-list (40 CFR 261.33) & U-list (40 CFR 261.33)

Both P- and U-list wastes are off-spec or unused commercial chemical products (CCP). U-list is hazardous waste, and P-list is acutely hazardous waste. These lists contain discarded commercial chemical products, where the listed material is the sole active component. As an example, unused/off-spec epinephrine is a P-listed waste (P042), however epinephrine salts (as found in many medical epinephrine injectors) would not carry the P-042 code. Federal P and U codes do not apply to mixtures with other components, but they do apply to soil or debris contaminated with U- or P-listed materials.

Also, some states, including California, have state-specific lists of “extremely hazardous substances,” in addition to the EPA list. An example of a P-list waste is unused/off-spec epinephrine (P042).

The amount of P-coded waste you produce can have an effect on your generator status. We’ll discuss generator status — large-quantity generator, small-quantity generator or very-small-quantity generator — in a later post, but generating as little as 1 kilogram of P-list waste in one month is enough to move you from a small-quantity generator to a large-quantity generator.

The mixture rule for listed wastes

Mixtures of listed wastes and non-hazardous solid wastes carry a presumption of “hazardousness,” which means they are considered hazardous wastes regardless of concentration. In other words, even if a small amount of listed waste is mixed with a large amount of non-hazardous waste, the whole mixture will carry the waste codes from the listed waste. This very conservative rule was adopted by the EPA to ensure unscrupulous generators did not “dilute” their hazardous wastes with other materials.

There are limited exceptions to the mixture rule for wastes that were listed due to ignitability, corrosivity or reactivity. In those cases, if the mixture is no longer ignitable, corrosive or reactive (as defined in hazardous waste regulations), then the waste is no longer considered hazardous. For example, if a spent solvent carrying EPA waste code F003 (listed due to potential ignitability) is mixed with non-flammable materials, so that the flash point is greater than 140 degrees F, it would no longer be considered “ignitable.” Since F003 is listed only due to potential ignitability, that code would no longer apply, though the waste may still exhibit other hazardous waste characteristics.

This may seem like a loophole, but unless it is an inherent part of the process that generates the waste, then mixing hazardous waste with other materials to remove or change hazardous characteristics is considered “treatment” and requires a permit from hazardous waste regulators. This exception does not apply to wastes listed due to toxicity, as there is really no way to “mix” out or dilute toxicity. Waste listed due to toxicity that are mixed with non-toxic materials will still be considered toxic and carry a toxicity code.

Remember: Even if your waste is not listed, you’re not off the hook. The next step is to check if it has any of the four EPA characteristics of hazardous waste.

ACTenviro has experts available to help you with your waste at each step along the way, from determining what you have to proper disposal. Please reach out to us at [email protected], and let us know how we can help.

James Kapin is Principal Advisor for safety, health and environmental compliance for ACTenviro.  Jim is a Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH) and a Certified Safety Professional (CSP) with over 25 years of workplace safety and environmental protection experience.   Do you have any hazardous waste questions for Jim?  Or any other workplace safety or environmental compliance questions?  Let us know at [email protected]

Three Steps to Identifying Hazardous Waste — And What to Do About It

Hazardous waste regulations in the U.S. are based on the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). Under RCRA, in order to be a “hazardous waste,” something must first be a “waste” (as that term is defined by the regulations), then it must be “hazardous,” based on a specific set of criteria. Some materials are obviously waste and are clearly hazardous — but things are not always that simple. If a material doesn’t satisfy both elements — if it isn’t a waste and if it isn’t hazardous per regulatory definitions — it may be “hazardous,” and it may be a “waste,” but it isn’t regulated as “hazardous waste.”

Here are three steps to help determine whether you are, in fact, dealing with a hazardous waste:

1. Determine if your waste actually is a waste.

Manufacturing, construction, academic, transportation, medical and other enterprises use a wide variety of hazardous materials as part of their business activities. These entities may need to address personal safety, worker health, flammability, corrosivity or other hazards. They also may have to comply with OSHA, DOT or regulatory requirements associated with the use of these materials. However, EPA (and state) hazardous waste requirements won’t apply until the material actually becomes a waste. Something is a waste when it is no longer needed or wanted, and when it’s not suitable for its intended purpose, including materials that are abandoned or are “inherently waste-like.” Materials that are recycled are also considered wastes.

Most of the time, determining whether something is a waste is pretty straightforward, but we’ll talk about some situations where it is not so straightforward in a later post. For now, let’s assume you have a waste, and move on to the next step.

2. See whether your waste is a listed hazardous waste.

Once you have determined that your waste is really a waste (as defined by hazardous waste regulations), the next step is to see if it is a “listed” waste, according to EPA lists. Waste from non-specific sources are included in List F (40 CFR 261.21), wastes from certain specific sources are included in List K (40 CF 261.32), and wastes from certain discarded commercial chemical products are included on the U and P lists (for acutely hazardous materials; found in 40 CFR 261.33). If you find your waste on one of those lists, it is a hazardous waste. 

3. Evaluate whether your waste has federal and/or state characteristics.

Even if your waste is not listed, it may still exhibit hazardous waste “characteristics.” According to the EPA, “A hazardous waste characteristic is a property which, when present in a waste, indicates that the waste poses a sufficient threat to merit regulation as hazardous.” There are four federal hazardous waste characteristics: ignitability, corrosivity, reactivity and toxicity. If your waste exhibits any of these characteristics (based on specific technical definitions), then the waste is a hazardous waste subject to federal regulation. Note that some states have added extra characteristics that are more stringent. For example, California and Washington each have additional toxicity criteria. Wastes that are “hazardous” with respect to a state definition (but not RCRA definitions) are referred to as “non-RCRA” hazardous wastes and must be managed as hazardous within that state. Wastes that are listed or that exhibit characteristics must be managed as hazardous waste.

Once you have determined you have a hazardous waste, based on steps 1–3, you need to manage it appropriately on-site, as required by applicable federal and state hazardous waste management requirements. This includes labeling waste, complying with specific waste accumulation limits, managing waste containers and disposing of the waste properly. All hazardous waste must be transported for disposal by a licensed hazardous waste transportation and disposal partner, who will take it to a permitted hazardous waste treatment, storage or disposal facility (TSDF). Disposal of hazardous waste must be documented on a Uniform Hazardous Waste Manifest.

James Kapin is Principal Advisor for safety, health and environmental compliance for ACTenviro.  Jim is a Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH) and a Certified Safety Professional (CSP) with over 25 years of workplace safety and environmental protection experience.   Do you have any hazardous waste questions for Jim?  Or any other workplace safety or environmental compliance questions?  Let us know at [email protected]

Shocking Waste Generation and Recycling Statistics Revealed: US in the Top 10 Highest Risk Countries

Introduction

Did you know that each year the United States recycles about one-third of all waste created? This is among the key recycling statistics that provide a snapshot of other issues like plastic bag recycling statistics, landfill pollution statistics, and the global waste problem.

Various recycling statistics show it’s boosted its recycling/waste ratio in 1960, 1980, 2000, and 2010s. In fact, the nation’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been tracking the USA’s creation and disposal of waste and showing stats for 30+ years.

When compared to other developed countries, the US produces a significantly higher amount of waste, and recycles a smaller percent. For example, the USA makes up 4% of the planet’s population yet produces a sky-high 12% of its city/town waste.

A Global Snapshot of Waste Issues 2021

In recent decades the international waste issue has worsened exponentially and affected figures like textile waste statistics. This has been due to various factors like:

The situation has resulted in waste generation becoming a major concern in terms of the conservation of natural resources and public health.

It’s also likely that such risks can be linked to worldwide companies. That’s due to the business activities being connected to solid waste creation, whether it’s directly or through indirect factors.

The global waste production is projected to increase by 70% by 2050, according to stats provided by the World Bank. This result can be prevented if people, organizations, and nations take urgent action. Humans now produce an average of 2 BILLION tons of waste every year.

The issue of global waste management is closely linked to overpopulation. It’s projected that by 2030 the world population will reach 8.5 billion. This highlights the need to reduce, reuse, and recycle. Such an approach can help to minimize the effects of human-produced waste on public health and Earth’s environment. Even in small efforts such as using compost to grow plants in your garden or setting aside certain household wastes for recycling.

Several factors such as pollution are creating a devastating impact on the planet’s ecosystem. This includes the general effects of air, water, and soil pollution. For example, chemical compounds in waste break down over several years.

The majority of this pollution is produced through motor vehicles and industrial exhaust. Today’s lifestyle generates such bi-products. Toxic waste is produced from various sources, including plastic, heavy metals, and nitrates.

The final destination of many plastics that each human being disposes of is the ocean. People often never observe those plastics since strong winds blow the pollution out to sea.

The current global situation involving waste and recycling poses some critical questions related to issues like recycling contamination statistics. That’s because the current year is shaping the industry outlook in terms of issues related to:

Some major questions that will be answered this year include:

The answers to such big questions are closely linked to various Waste Generation and Recycling Indices. They’re often combined with charts, graphs and datasets with dozens of indices that track key risks linked to factors like environment, climate change, and natural hazards.

Such datasets are part of a bigger collection of global risk indices. This includes various issues including environmental and economic risks.

A Waste Generation Index (WGI) offers a quantitative evaluation of a nation’s waste production. It factors in several critical waste types, including:

Who’s Generating All the Junk?

Population spikes are part of the problem in terms of the world’s waste production. However, other factors including mass human consumption by a small number of developing nations, and bad waste mismanagement causing the environmental impact to become exponentially worse.

In 2014 the average person in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) generated 1.4kg of waste per day, according to OECD stats. Not only do wealthier people consume more total goods, but they also consume a higher amount of packaging.

Based on global waste statistics 2021, the majority of waste in middle/high-income nations includes paper, plastic, and other inorganic materials.

Meanwhile, developing countries produce over half of the Earth’s total solid waste. This includes nations like Costa Rica and Thailand where tourism is a major source of revenue.

Global statistics show that the USA tops nations that fuel the worsening waste crisis. This is due to the nation’s surging consumption without an equal increase in recycling. The largest global economy shows a new index revealing the USA tops the world’s waste production, and ranks as one of the world’s lowest industrial countries in terms of recycling trash.

Who’s Generating All the Junk?

Today’s world waste statistics by country show the United States now tops all nations in terms of waste generation. This was based on two indices created recently by Verisk Maplecroft that included 194 nations.

The research examined how effectively countries are conducting waste management. This is happening in an era when the Earth is dealing with a crisis in which plastics are the major factor.

It’s worth noting that highly-developed North American and European nations all produce a relatively high amount of waste. The highest-risk nations in terms of waste generation include:

The world creates enough waste every year to fill 800,000 Olympic swimming pools. While the US produces more waste than all other countries, it also lags behind several other nations since it only recycles slightly over one-third of solid waste.

US Creates 3x the Global Average of Waste

This UK study found that the US generates 3x more waste than the global average. The USA produces an average 773kg/1704 lbs. per person of food, plastic, and hazardous waste. This includes 12% of Earth’s MSW, or about 939 million tons.

The amount of US-produced waste is staggering. For example, the figure is 7x higher than Ethiopia, which produces the world’s least amount of waste. Another key fact is the US is the only developed country that lacks the capacity to recycle produced waste.

Several studies show that US infrastructure doesn’t make recycling a viable option for households and companies, which affects recycling costs statistics. Due to bans on exported waste, much of US-produced waste is now burned.

US Generates 4x More Waste than India

China and India combine to make up more than 36% of the world’s population. However, they create 27% of the world’s municipal waste. Interestingly, Americans create more than 3x more waste as China’s citizens.

In terms of the total waste that China and India create the figure is actually higher than the USA’s. However, the two Asian countries also have a combined population of over 2.7 billion, which is over 8x the USA’s population. Thus, the amount of waste Chinese and Indian people produce is a little over 2x the amount of garbage that Americans produce.

The Recycling Index

Verisk Maplecroft created the recycling index as a way to manage recycling performance among 190+ nations. It helps to provide an overview of how different countries are managing waste.

The Recycling Index evaluates how well a nation is willing and able to maintain solid waste that boosts the “3 Rs” through circular material flows. The index is used to determine to what extent a nation’s recovery and recycling of solid waste will affect commercial risks.

The risks are measured by factoring in the ratio of a nation’s solid waste that gets:

Another factor that’s measured is the amount of governmental commitment, which is determined through adhering to world waste-focused treaties.

Several recyclable materials are evaluated when creating a recycling index. For example, in recent years scientists conducted a study to determine the amount of plastic that was

One key issue is that plastic takes over four centuries to decompose.

The study published in Science Advances projects that by 2050 the world’s oceans will have more plastic than fish (pound for pound), according to National Geographic, It’s also estimated that just 20% of the world’s plastic was recycled in 2015.

Top Countries in Recycling Performance

Several European Union (EU) nations top Recycling Indexes. In global waste statistics 2018, the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) teamed up with an environmental consultancy firm to provide data on the nations with the top recycling rates:

#1 GERMANY (56.1%)

Germany has maintained the world’s highest recycling rate since 2016. In 1990 the country completed a packaging audit to prevent a possible spike in landfall issues.

#2 AUSTRIA (53.8%)

Germany’s neighbor has a total ban on particular waste types, which lowers landfill pollution statistics. That includes products with a carbon emission rate (organic) over 5%.

#3 SOUTH KOREA (53.7)

This Asian country uses a system in which private companies collect waste for profit. This ranking in recycling statistics 2018 will likely change. That’s because in April 2018, China banned imported plastic waste.

#4 WALES (52.2%)

This is the smallest nation on this list. Local administrations operate Wales’ recycling, and most individuals and businesses follow similar rules about what they can recycle.

#5 SWITZERLAND (49.7%)

One key to the nation’s recycling system is the “polluter pays” regulation. This requires households/businesses to pay for all non-recycled waste.

The US Lags Behind Other Developed Countries

Verisk Maplecroft’s research discovered that the USA recycled much less than the world’s other developed countries. There are various causes of this scenario, including non-recycled plastics and developing countries like China refusing to accept US waste.

The research showed that the US only recycles about one-third of municipal waste. Meanwhile, the most efficient recycling country was Germany at over two-thirds of waste recycled.

The UK consulting firm reported the USA’s low recycling rate was due to various factors. They included a lack of recycling infrastructure and limited legislation.

Various nations and organizations have accused the US of blocking international steps to reduce plastic waste. That includes banning plastic bags and (single-use) water bottles.

María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés (UN general assembly president) reported that non-governmental groups could still help to boost plastic recycling trends. That includes the USA’s private sector, for example.

World’s Waste Destinations

Foreign Plastic Waste Ban

In nations throughout the world, companies have been pressured to start dealing with plastic waste in particular. For example, several nations have passed legislation to reduce single-use plastic materials, including the items in plastic bag recycling statistics. Today 120+ nations now regulate plastic bags, according to a UN/WRI study.

The anti-plastic bag legislation varies. They include ones like bans, phase-out programs, and pro-reusable bag incentives. Still, each year 8 million metric tons of plastic pollution end up in oceans. It’s estimated companies make about 5 TRILLION plastic bags yearly.

UK and EU Announce End of Single Use Plastics

The EU parliament has voted to ban all single-use plastic by 2021 including:

Meanwhile, by 2029 EU states will have to meet a collection target of 90% for plastic bottles. In addition, by 2025 plastic bottles will also be required to contain one-quarter recycled content.

The EU legislation also states that labels will be required to state the negative effects on Earth’s environment of throwing certain items onto the street. That includes products like plastic cups.

China’s Waste Import Ban Effects

In the past, China imposed a waste import ban during late 2017, which affected recycling statistics 2017. The goal was to prevent foreign waste products, including plastic, from entering the country.

This step by the Asian country has resulted in waste exporters, including the US, EU, and Australia, from being unable to manage a large amount of generated plastic waste. This requires such countries to find new destinations for domestic waste and has resulted in much solid waste being imported to other developing countries.

Source of Waste Imported to China

Prior to its imported waste ban, China had bought the world’s most recycled waste for a quarter-century. This included nations like the US, UK, and Australia. This required them to find new buyers in regions like South-East Asia including Indonesia, Vietnam, and Thailand.

This scenario resulted from China’s policy known as “National Sword”, the 2018 law that later affected plastic pollution statistics 2019 banned the import of various recyclable materials like plastic. Since then, the country’s plastic imports have dropped by 99%, according to Yale.

German Waste Exports

Germany has strict rules about sending waste to other countries. For example, recycling statistics 2021 show plastics can only be shipped abroad for recycling.

Following China’s 2018 ban on imported plastic, this resulted in countries like Germany finding new countries to export plastics. In fact, past data shows that in 2018 Germany’s garbage exports to Malaysia spiked 125%. The country exports to other South/South-East Asian countries. This includes sky-rocketing amounts to Malaysia, Indonesia, and India.

US Waste Exports

Studies show that the USA produces more waste than all other countries. In 2018 u.s. plastic waste statistics show it exported over 1 billion kilograms of waste, according to Greenpeace. This included this waste fact: nearly 80% ended up in countries including:

The result of global waste statistics 2019 showed that the US export of plastic waste to many nations spiked after China’s ban on imported waste.

Latin America and Eastern Europe as New Waste Destinations?

Responsible waste exporting can include nations that produce little waste but also conduct good waste management. Several Eastern European and Latin American countries score a medium or higher risk for disposing of waste adequately.

However, investors might also have to deal with possible risks if they decide to fund the construction of new waste infrastructure in such countries. Nations in those regions with medium risk include:

Conclusion

Various studies show that the USA is the world’s biggest waste generator, while only about one-third gets recycled. This paints a bleak picture versus many EU countries with world-topping recycling/waste ratios.

Meanwhile, it’s possible for the situation to improve, including landfill facts, through methods like national and state legislation, improved recycling infrastructure, and private sector advocacy. These factors and others could decrease in the amount of waste produced by the world’s largest economy.

Some promising recycling statistics show the potential for improving the situation. For example, a 2017 study showed that 85% of Americans recycle plastic. The 2-pronged approach of reducing waste and increasing recycling would be the best recipe for success.

Waste and Recycle Resources

San Jose, California Hazardous Waste Disposal

Introduction

Fun Fact: San Jose (Saint Joseph) is the most affluent city in the state of California. The city is well-known for its Mediterranean climate, and as Silicon Valley’s financial and cultural hub.

Because of its size and population, waste management is one of the city’s number one concerns, and chances are – if you’re from San Jose, then you might have the need to search for “waste disposal near me.” We’re here to answer that question and give you all the information you need.

The city’s hazardous waste is produced through business waste as the “capital of Silicon Valley.” However, the Golden State’s third largest city also produces a large amount of household hazardous waste (HHW). So it’s important to know where to dispose of old laptop computers, fluorescent light bulbs, and used motor oil.

Why Properly Dispose of Hazardous Waste and Electronics?

If you’ve never done online research to learn about “household hazardous waste disposal near me” then this section can provide all need-to-know info for this common query. This info can help San Jose residents know precisely when, where, and how to drop off your household hazardous waste and electronics waste (e-waste).

What Exactly Is “Hazardous Waste”?

This is defined by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in various ways. Some examples include materials/products that catch fire, react, or explode in particular conditions. 

There is a cornucopia of many different other ways to define HHW. When hazardous waste is corrosive or toxic this is also considered as HHW. It’s critical to make sure your household is disposing of certain substances correctly including batteries, cleaners, pesticides/herbicides, paints, etc. 

Product labels can help you figure out if the materials are classified as hazardous waste. Some features to look for include:

Environmental Effects

SOIL CONTAMINATION

HHW disposal often causes this type of pollution. Landfill waste can seep into soil and emit toxic chemicals. That includes plastic bottles that emit DEHA. This is a cancer-causing substance that can result in liver problems and weight loss.

AIR CONTAMINATION

It’s important to dispose of hazardous chemicals like bleach and acids properly. This includes correctly-labeled official containers. 

Meanwhile, when particular materials like plastics are burned in landfills it results in the emitting of various chemicals/gases. This can damage the planet’s ozone layer.

LAND/MARINE ANIMALS

If solid waste like HHW isn’t disposed of correctly this can have a negative effect on land animals like birds, and marine life like fishes. The contamination can affect animals living in San Jose’s regions like the Henry Cowell River Trail. 

The most direct problem involves the natural habitat of these creatures including grass, trees, rivers/lakes/seas, and so on. An indirect effect is when marine animals consume stuff like Styrofoam cups, which can kill them.

Missed Recycling

In 2018 California recycled about three-quarters of all beverage containers, according to a report by the California government. When HHW gets disposed of properly it boosts how much waste can get recycled/reused. This can provide various benefits like job creation in the recycling industry.

Health Risks

Improper HHW disposal can trigger various problems linked to public health and San Jose’s environment. The California city is ranked #20 among the Healthiest/Unhealthiest USA cities, according to WalletHub (2018). 

When hazardous waste is improperly disposed of it can negatively affect people living in polluted areas and nearby San Jose landfills. In the city, “zero waste” refers to recycling 90% or waste landfilling under 10% of it.

Proper Disposal

When San Jose/Santa Clara employees dispose of hazardous waste they do it using professional methods and technologies. 

The entire process involves various factors that are affected by the knowledge, experience, and care the workers use. This can include various methods that change the waste’s properties, which result in safer hazardous waste disposal. These include ones like physical, chemical, biological, and thermal properties.

Hazardous Waste & Electronics Collection Center Location & Hours

Santa Clara County HHW Program

You can contact the program to set a drop-off appointment. This is a free service so there’s no need to pay any fees. The county offers take-back locations for different items including:

San Jose Environmental Innovation Center (EIC)

San Jose residents can drop off their HHW products at the city’s EIC. You can visit the green enterprise facility. This facility offers services for San Jose households that promotes clean tech. 

If you have household hazardous waste like tablet batteries, oil-based paint, and light bulbs (fluorescent) you can drop them off at the hazardous waste drop-off facility.

Location

1608 Las Plumas Ave, San Jose, CA 95133

Hours

The EIC’s hours are:
Monday through Friday: 10 AM to 6 PM
Saturday: 9 AM to 5 PM
Sunday: Closed

Holidays

Official holidays in San Jose include:

Electronics Waste

In California it’s illegal to dispose of electronics waste (e-waste) in regular garbage and recycling containers. Some examples include:

Santa Clara County offers various drop-off locations for e-waste. Such locations include official electronics recyclers/collectors. It’s required that you transfer e-waste to official disposal companies. This provides a safe and effective way to dispose of recyclable electronics. 

San Jose’s Junk Pickup Program accepts some e-waste. This involves direct collection at your residence. Make sure to review which “junk” the city considers as acceptable.

Operating Procedures for the Household Hazardous Waste & Electronics Drop-off Center

Helpful Safety Tips for Hazardous Waste Transport

HWW Drop-off Facility Procedures

It’s critical to find the nearest household hazardous waste collection site to your home. You should also be aware of the general protocols of the centers:

This might include different matters. You should learn whether the HHW center’s staff is able to help you unload household waste products from your vehicle. 

Another critical issue is what kinds of proof of residency the HHW collection site accepts. This could include a water/electric/Internet bill or photo ID, for example. These are required since local taxes fund the hazardous waste collections.  

One example is a small business HHW disposal. Some companies might qualify to participate in Santa Clara County’s Conditionally Exempt conditionally-exempt program for Small Quantity Generator.

HWW Drop-Off Location Safety Guidelines

Every drop-off center usually has its own guidelines and safety rules. However, here are some of the ones to watch out for:

Staying in car/truck

It’s common for customers to be forbidden to walk their HHW materials to the San Jose disposal site. This requires them to stay in their vehicle. You’ll probably be mandated to show your proof of residency, whether it’s a photo ID or recent utility bill, for example.

Adding waste disposal into carts

When dropping off HHW this is a common procedure that residents must follow. This involves exiting the vehicle then depositing the household hazardous waste into the designated carts. 

Typically there are various objects at the HHW collection center that boosts traffic flow efficiency. It’s important to know this info after using your favorite web browser to search “household hazardous waste disposal near me.” This includes various items like:

CDC Safety Guidelines

Residents of the City of San Jose should consider The Centers for disease control & Prevention (CDC) guidelines to help prevent the transfer of contagions at locations such as HHW collection sites. Masks and other face coverings can be helpful for preventing the inhalation of hazardous waste’s toxic fumes. 

The San Jose/San Francisco/Oakland region ranks #8 for high ozone days among 229 metropolitan areas, according to the American Lung Association. So it’s highly recommended to wear masks or other face coverings to protect yourself when exposing your lungs to hazardous waste.

Household Hazardous Waste Collection Events

Overview

San Jose residents can sometimes drop off different household hazardous waste (HHW). These events happen from time to time on particular days and at particular times. You can learn more by visiting the website of Santa Clara County’s Household Hazardous Waste Program. Make sure to call (408)-299-7300 to schedule a drop-off appointment.

Accepted/Unaccepted Household Waste

When HHW drop-off events take place the organizers provide a complete list of items that the event allows.  Some examples of items accepted by the county’s HHW program include:

It’s important for these materials to get separate disposal. This can help to prevent damage to public health and the Earth’s environment. 

As an alternative you can also visit one of San Jose’s HHW take-back locations. They allow you to drop off various items after doing online research about “waste disposal near me.”

Service Charges

When participating in city/county-sponsored collection events you typically won’t be charged a fee. The same policy tends to exist for HHW collection depots. The main reason is public taxes help to fund garbage collection and disposal, which includes hazardous waste. It’s also an investment in San Joes itself.

Deposit Limits

It’s quite common for municipalities like San Jose City and Santa Clara County to enforce HHW/e-waste deposit limits. This limit is set per household per collection event. Some examples include maximum quantities of solid waste or liquid waste that are accepted.

Business Participation

If you own or operate a small business your company might qualify for Santa Clara’s “Small Quantity Generator” program. This allows you to transfer dangerous waste to drop-off centers or collection events. You can call 800-207-8222 to set a drop-off appointment for your business.

Acceptable and Unacceptable Hazardous Waste & Electronic Items

The types of hazardous waste and e-waste that a particular drop-off site, collection event, or HHW program accepts differs based on various factors. For example, a collection event in San Jose might have different criteria versus a Santa Clara program. 

There are various reasons why a center/program accepts or rejects certain HHW/electronic waste. For example, it might be extremely difficult to process or very hazardous. The key issue is to research which items are and aren’t permitted when you Google “hazardous waste collection near me.”

Acceptable Hazardous Waste

Make sure to review a particular city, county, or program’s list of accepted items. For example, Santa Clara County accepts these types of hazardous waste through collections:

It’s important to contact a HHW collection group to find out whether or not they’ll accept certain gray-area items like latex paint. This type of paint generally isn’t considered as hazardous waste.

Unacceptable Hazardous Waste

These items aren’t accepted by Santa Clara County’s HHW collection program:

Acceptable E-waste

Conclusion

Hazardous waste makes up 15% of planet Earth’s total waste, according to the UN’s World Health Organization (WHO). A large percent of this dangerous waste includes household hazardous waste (HHW) including computer displays, smartphone batteries, and oil-based paint. 

Residents of San Jose, California can improve the situation by disposing of hazardous waste properly. This process can include drop-off centers, collection events, and “Wastemobile” pickups. This can help to keep Silicon Valley’s unofficial capital as clean, safe, and “green” as possible. 

As always it’s important to handle the storage, transport, and disposal of HHW in the safest manner possible. This includes taking steps like storing hazardous waste in sealed containers, following specific guidelines when dropping off items at HHW centers, and even following the reduce, reuse and recycle guidelines after you search for “hazardous waste collection near me.”

San Diego, California Hazardous Waste Disposal

The City of San Diego is the 8th largest city in the United States and the 2nd largest city in the state of California. With an estimated population of 1.4 million from a July 2019 survey, the city naturally takes hazardous waste disposal very seriously. Violators of laws and regulations related to hazardous waste disposal carry corresponding sanctions, fines and other serious legal consequences.

In fact, random inspections of the city’s commercial and residential refuse are conducted by the City of San Diego’s Hazardous Substances Enforcement Team. They are responsible for ensuring that unacceptable hazardous waste types are not disposed of in the city’s Miramar Landfill. Thanks to these inspections, 16 tons of unacceptable hazardous waste was diverted successfully during the fiscal year of 2019.

If you are managing a business that generates hazardous waste or if you are simply looking to see where and how you can dispose of household hazardous waste then this article will be helpful for you. This article provides a brief yet comprehensive guide on hazardous waste disposal in the City of San Diego.

Hazardous Waste Disposal & Collection

If you’ve ever asked or searched online “hazardous waste disposal near me”, then this section answers this common query. This information is critical to make sure you know exactly when and where you can drop off your household hazardous waste and electronics.

What Does The City of San Diego Consider “Hazardous Waste”?

Hazardous Waste Definition

Waste that has properties that are potentially harmful to both human health and the environment is considered as hazardous waste. 

Because the definition of hazardous waste is broad and diverse, here are some important points to remember:

You can view specific hazardous waste regulations and statutes, at the DTSC Laws page. You can also visit the California Hazardous Waste Codes for a complete list of codes.

Where & How Should I Dispose of Hazardous Waste in San Diego?

Business-Generated Hazardous Waste

This type of hazardous waste is generated by businesses that generate, produce or utilize materials and substances that are considered hazardous waste. Common examples are:

Proper Disposal of Business-Generated Hazardous Waste

The State of California does not permit the City of San Diego’s Household Hazardous Materials Program to accept any type of business-generated hazardous waste. However, the City does offer disposal services to Conditionally Exempt Small Quantity Generators or (CESQGs).

Is your business or facility a small or large quantity hazardous waste generator? This depends on the amount of hazardous waste produced per month.

Find out which Waste Generator Class your business or facility belongs to. See Hazardous Waste Generator Classes here.

If you require information, it is recommended for you to contact the County of San Diego, Department of Environmental Health, Hazardous Materials Management Division, Duty Specialist, at (858) 505-6880.

Household Hazardous Waste

Common household hazardous waste include used, discarded or expired paints, household cleaners, paints, lighter fluid, pool chemicals, antifreeze, diesel fuel, gasoline and kerosene. 

Products labeled “danger, warning, poison, caution, flammable and corrosive,” are considered household hazardous waste. In addition, it was declared on Feb. 9, 2006, that universal wastes including fluorescent light bulbs, household batteries and items that contain mercury are not allowed to be disposed of in the trash, as well.

Where & How Should I Dispose Of Household Hazardous Waste in San Diego?

According to the City of San Diego’s waste management regulations, it is illegal to dispose of any household hazardous waste in a trash bin or at the landfill. 

For correct disposal of household hazardous wastes and universal wastes, the City of San Diego’s residents are required to contact San Diego’s Household Hazardous Waste Transfer Facility. 

The facility is located by the entrance of the Miramar Landfill and is operated by the San Diego Environmental Services Department. Residents are required to make an appointment with the facility by contacting (858) 694-7000 (Monday through Friday, 6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.). They are open on Saturdays to those with appointments only.

Other than making an appointment, you also need to know what type of waste the San Diego Household Hazardous Waste Transfer Facility accepts or doesn’t accept. Here is the information you need:

Acceptable Household Hazardous Wastes

All products used in the routine maintenance of your home, yard, or vehicle are considered household hazardous waste when discarded. You can easily identify these products because these would be usually labeled: “Danger”, “Warning”, “Caution”, “Poison”, “Flammable”, or “Corrosive”.

Unacceptable Household Hazardous Wastes

If you require assistance with any unacceptable wastes, the proper instructions are to enter your information on the “HHW Transfer Facility Appointment screen and an Inspector will contact you within three (3) business days.”

How Much HHW Can I Dispose Of?

For safety purposes, a maximum of 15 gallons of HHW (125 lbs.) is allowable for transport to the San Diego Household Hazardous Waste Transfer Facility. This weight requirement refers to the contents of the container and not the size of the container itself.

Where Can I Drop Off Electronics Waste & Appliances?

It’s illegal in the state of California to dispose of any electronic devices in regular garbage/recycling containers. This includes items like:

Various e-waste recycling locations throughout the city accept e-waste. In addition, San Diego also hosts various clean-up events throughout the year.

Acceptable Electronic Waste

The City of San Diego doesn’t accept e-waste. It recommends electronic waste recycling for the following items:

Acceptable Appliances

These are typically permitted at HHW centers, however, it’s always prudent to contact the facility before dropping them off.

These items contain either HCFC or CFC refrigerants based on when they were manufactured. The EPA website provides information about CFC dangers. 

To find an e-waste recycling facility close to you, the City of San Diego recommends for you to use this locator from CalRecycle.

Hazardous Wastes That Require Pre Approval

If you are a resident of the City of San Diego or if you own a business, and you generate the following wastes, you need pre approval before disposal:

You are required to complete a Special Waste Disposal Request and attach required supporting documents. It takes about 24 hours to process before your load can be scheduled for disposal. Manifest and handling fees apply. 

For information on the disposal of business generated hazardous wastes, contact the San Diego County Department of Environmental Health, Hazardous Materials Division at 858-505-6880 and for chemical emergencies call 911.

Questions?

If you have unacceptable waste that needs to be disposed of or if you need to dispose of waste that is more than the allowable amount, you can contact the San Diego Household Hazardous Waste Transfer Facility at 858-694-7000.

You can also find all the information you need here.

You can also contact local HHW centers around San Diego. For accurate information, you can find the closest HHW Drop-Off Facilities from Earth911.com.

What Are Household Hazardous Waste Collection Events?

In some situations, San Diego residents are allowed to drop off various household hazardous waste. These hazardous waste collection events happen periodically on certain days and certain times. 

For example, the Environmental Services Department of San Diego offers one-day collection events during the year. This is supported through a California State’s grant from the Department of Resources, Recycling, and Recovery (CalRecycle). 

Here’s information about acceptable, unacceptable and deposit limits for the City of San Diego’s HHW collection events:

Acceptable/Unacceptable HHW

The drop-off event organizers will provide a complete list of items that are accepted during the waste disposal event. Take some time to review the list, so you’ll know what is and isn’t allowed by the event’s organizers. Some possible accepted items include:

Make sure to contact the event’s organizers. In some situations, another disposal option is necessary.

Deposit Limits

It’s quite common for a drop-off center to impose a limit on how much waste it will collect from individual households. This could include a maximum amount of liquid waste or solid waste accepted.

Service Charges

San Diego city doesn’t charge any fees for items dropped off at the HHW collection centers. The government perceives these events as an investment in public health and the local environment.

Business Participation

Businesses typically aren’t permitted to participate in these events. However, the events’ sponsors often provide low-cost options for the proper disposal of business waste.

The City of San Diego’s official website posts regular upcoming HHW collection events here: Upcoming One Day Collection Events.

Safety Tips For Transporting Hazardous Waste

Other than finding the closest hazardous waste collection near you, it’s also important to know general SOP’s:

Each drop-off center will likely have different safety rules/guidelines. Here are some of the most common ones:

Look out for items used to improve traffic flow. This includes different items like:

For tips, information and details about household hazardous waste in San Diego, you can visit their official Household Hazardous Waste webpage.

Why Should I Properly Dispose of Hazardous Waste and Electronics?

Health Risks

The dangers of improperly disposing of hazardous wastes might not be apparent at first. However, improper disposal of household wastes can cause issues related to public health and San Diego’s environment.

 Several possible health-related issues can result from improper disposal. The health of people living in areas nearby landfills or polluted areas can also be negatively affected. 

For example, the Miramar Landfill collects nearly 910,000 tons of garbage every year. Landfill workers cover the California city’s garbage daily while complying with city/state environmental and regulatory requirements.

 San Diego sanitation workers and landfill employees are at a higher risk. Possible health issues include blood infections, breathing problems, skin irritations, and growth issues.

Air Contamination

Household waste that contains hazardous chemicals like acids and bleach should be properly disposed of. The items should also be disposed of in official containers with proper labels.

 When certain plastics and papers are incinerated in landfills, this can give off gas/chemicals that can damage the Earth’s ozone layer.

 Dioxin-releasing wastes can also cause health risks when they’re emitted into the air. This can cause health considerations when they’re inhaled. Yet another possible issue is when decomposing wastes give off methane gases.

This situation is especially critical for San Diego. The region was recently ranked as the USA’s fifth-most polluted metropolitan area, according to a report by CBS8.

Soil Contamination

This is often caused by improper HHW disposal. Waste that ends up in landfills can leak into soil and give off toxic chemicals. This includes plastic bottles that give off a cancer-causing substance known as DEHA that can cause weight loss and liver problems.

Not only are plants themselves affected by soil contamination. California residents who consume plants can be negatively affected.

Negative Effects Animals & Marine Life

When garbage and waste are disposed of improperly, it causes negative effects on nearby animals and marine life, such as fishes.

 Land animals that eat grass near landfills or contaminated areas are at risk of suffering poisoning because of soil contamination. Meanwhile, studies show that household waste like Styrofoam peanuts can kill marine animals that consume them.

Advocacy group Heal the Bay ranked over a dozen San Diego beaches as among the top 33 most polluted beaches in the Golden State, according to the New York Times.

Conclusion

Modern homes produce a gargantuan amount of household hazardous waste (HHW). It’s critical to dispose of the big amounts of waste effectively since it can benefit several groups, including San Diego household members, sanitation workers, and local residents.

There are various ways to dispose of HHW such as drop-off centers, household waste disposal events, and Waste Mobiles. It’s important to know the rules and regulations about how to effectively store, transport, and deposit your household waste.

Furthermore, it’s also critical to know which items will be accepted or rejected when depositing HHW. Some items like fluorescent light bulbs, paint thinners, and cell phone batteries are often accepted. However, there are other items like radioactive wastes that typically are a no-go at drop-off centers like Miramar Landfill. Finding out the 5 W’s (who, what, where, when, and why) is as critical as learning about hazardous waste disposal.

Disposal of Treated Wood Waste (TWW) in California

Disposal of Treated Wood Waste (TWW) in California

What is Treated Wood Waste

Treated Wood Waste (TWW) is waste from wood products intended for outdoor use or for wet areas that has been treated with preservatives to prevent rot or decay.  Examples of these wood products include:

  • Utility poles, fence posts and rails
  • Lawn furniture and decks.
  • Playground equipment.
  • Garden/landscape timbers.
  • Log homes
  • Railroad Ties

Typical preservatives include:

  • chromated arsenicals (copper/chromium and/or arsenic);
  • pentachlorophenol (PCP);
  • creosote
  • as well other newer preservatives (ACQ, Borates, Copper Azole, Copper Naphthalene, etc.)

Under federal (RCRA) hazardous waste regulations, as long as levels of metals or pesticides do not exceed TCLP thresholds for metals or pesticides in 40 CFR 261.24, then disposal of TWW is not regulated.  California regulations are more stringent than federal standards and many treated wood products are considered hazardous waste under California regulations when disposed of.  Specifically, California defines “treated wood waste” (TWW) as:

  1. Waste wood products treated with a preservative regulated under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) with no other hazardous waste characteristics, and
  2. Not subject to regulation under the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).

Disposal of TWW in California (until 12/31/2021)

California regulations require TWW to be managed as non-RCRA hazardous waste, however California Helath and Safety Code  (CA HSC 25150.7)  established “alternative management standards” (AMS) for TWW found in Title 22 of the California Code of Regulations, Sections 67386.1 to 67386.12 (22 CCR 67386.1 – 673286.12).   Among other requirements, the “alternative” management allowed disposal in lined landfills that are not permitted for hazardous waste, as long as the landfill permit allows them to accept TWW.

Currently most TWW is sent to non-hazardous waste landfills under these “alternative” methods, however CA HSC 25150.7 (and associated regulations) expire on December 31, 2021.  After that date, TWW must be managed as non-RCRA hazardous waste.

Utility Exemption

There is an exemption for TWW generated by utilities.  As authorized in CA HSC 25143.3.5 TWW from utilities , including poles, crossarms, pilings, fence posts, lumber, support timbers, flume lumber, and cooling tower lumber can still be sent to landfills as long as the wood waste does not need to be managed as RCRA hazardous waste and the landfill meets certain requirements and is permitted to accept the TWW

Disposal of TWW in California (After 12/31/2021)

Beginning January 1, 2021, TWW must be managed as non-RCRA hazardous waste.

  • Since the definition of TWW includes all wood wastes treated with FIFRA-regulated preservatives (without any thresholds or other criteria), there is not even the option to conduct TTLC/STLC and/or aquatic toxicity to show this was does not exhibit characteristic toxicity

After the provisions “alternative management” of TWW expire on 12/31/2021, landfill disposal outside of hazardous waste landfills is no longer authorized and TWW must be accumulated, stored, managed, transported and disposed of as non-RCRA hazardous waste at a hazardous waste landfill permitted for this type of waste.

Do you have Treated Wood Waste to dispose of?  Do you have any other hazardous waste questions?  Let us know how we can help – [email protected]

Is Methanol Flammable or Combustible?

Methanol is a light and colorless liquid that has an alcoholic odor similar to that of ethanol. Over 200 million tons of methanol is produced globally each year. It is a base or an ingredient in many commodity chemicals such as acetic acid, gasoline additive, formaldehyde, and many more. 

So, quick answer:

Whether in liquid or gaseous form, methanol is highly flammable. Gaseous methanol molecules can travel quite a distance. This could potentially spread fires in other places. Methanol containers can explode if they’re not sufficiently insulated or protected. When in contact with a platinum-blank catalyst, methanol can also ignite. 

Now that you know this information, maybe you’d like to know more about.

What is Methanol and What are Its Unique Characteristics?

Methanol, commonly known as methyl alcohol or carbinol, is a chemical species belonging to a methyl group of substances linked to a hydroxyl group. It’s also known as wood alcohol in the past due to its extraction process through destructive wood distillation. At present, methanol is created by hydrogenation of carbon monoxide in industrial facilities.

Normal healthy humans produce small amounts of methanol, about 4.5 parts per million (ppm). It can be found in human tissues and bio-fluids such as blood, saliva, or cerebrospinal fluid. The methanol can be metabolized with the structural acid pectin, which is often found in citrus fruits and several types of vegetables. Anaerobic bacteria and phytoplankton also produce small amounts of methanol. 

On a much larger scale, regions in outer space that are known to form stars contain vast amounts of methanol. In fact, astronomers use them as markers for such regions. For example, in 2006, using an array of radio telescopes, astronomers discovered a colossal cloud of methanol in space. That cloud is around 288 billion miles in diameter.

Commercially available methanol is classified into various purity grades, typically classified as ASTM purity grades A and AA. Impurities include water, acetone, and ethanol. To detect these impurities, methods such as UV-vis spectroscopy and Kark-Fischer titration are used.

Hazards Associated with Using Methanol

Aside from being highly flammable, methanol has other properties that make it dangerous if not handled properly.

Toxic

Prolonged exposure to methanol vapor can cause eye irritation, headaches, drowsiness, and fatigue. A person who accidentally ingests as little as 10 milligrams of methanol can become permanently blind as the optic nerve is destroyed.

Ingesting 30 milligrams of methanol is probably fatal. Swallowing 50,000 ppm can cause death within 1 to 2 hours. The toxicity of ingested methanol is carried out by either of two mechanisms. One, methanol can cause death because it affects the central nervous system. Specifically, it acts as a central nervous system depressant. 

Also, methanol is metabolized into formaldehyde in a process catalyzed in the liver. Formaldehyde is used as an embalming agent and is incredibly damaging to the liver, causing hypoxia at a cellular level. 

Fortunately, the effects start a few hours after ingestion, so there is time to administer an antidote to prevent permanent physical damage.

Reactive

Methanol belongs to the “Alcohols and Polyols” reactive group. When mixed with acetyl bromide, methanol reacts violently. Mixing methanol with concentrated hydrogen peroxide, sulfuric acid, anhydrous lead perchlorate, or isocyanates can cause dangerous explosions. 

Methanol also reacts to hypochlorous acid in water solution, producing methyl hypochlorite. Methyl hypochlorite decomposes in low temperatures and can explode when exposed to sunlight or heat. The same reaction happens when methanol is mixed with chlorine.

Incompatibility

Methanol should be cautiously used with cellulose-based absorbents. There have been plenty of situations when untoward reactions happen when methanol is added to these absorbents.

Finally, according to the Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment (COT), exposure to methanol at levels found in fruits and vegetables does not cause adverse results.

Precautions

In case of contact, inhalation, exposure, and ingestion

Avoid direct exposure as much as possible when handling methanol. At the very least, ANSI-approved rubber gloves and safety goggles must be worn. However, in many facilities, more comprehensive protective equipment is often required such as those that cover the face, eyes, and body.

In case of spills and leaks

If methanol is accidentally spilled, immediately get in touch with the fire department. Get rid of potential sources of combustion such as lighters, matches, radiators, and embers. 

Isolate the spill or leaks for at least 150 meters in all directions. Do not contain, stop the spill, or reduce the discharge if you’re not properly trained for it. Avoid touching or walking on the spillage. If possible, provide barriers (dams) far ahead of the methanol spill to contain the liquid. Stay upwind to protect yourself from vapors and potential explosions. 

For small spills, add soil or sand on the spot—the material absorbs the ethanol. Later, have a specialist transfer the methanol-soaked material in the right containers.

Correct storage

Methanol must be placed in air-tight, leak-proof, and high-quality containers. Methanol containers should never be left open as the vapors are combustible and toxic. Sealed methanol containers should be sealed and labeled according to state, local, and on-site regulations. Facilities should also train personnel on how to handle and move methanol containers. 

Methanol is non-corrosive, thus they can be kept together with most metals. However, note that it can corrode metals such as platinum, magnesium, and lead.

Firefighting

Methanol has a very low flash point. This means very small amounts of ignition material can possibly cause fire. Also, because methanol is water soluble, using water to extinguish methanol-caused fires may not be enough.

To extinguish small or big fires, use dry chemicals, alcohol-resistant foam, or carbon dioxide. Check your fire extinguisher; it should have any of these chemicals. You can still use water, but as mentioned above, it might be inefficient. Adjust the nozzle so that the water flows in pressurized sprays.

If a tank containing methanol catches on fire, fight the fire from a maximum distance as indicated in the firefighting apparatus’s instructions. It is also important to cool down other containers by spraying them constantly with water. If you hear venting sounds, withdraw from the area immediately and evacuate all personnel from the facility.

Call the fire department right away in case a methanol-based fire breaks out.

Correct Disposal

Due to the hazardous nature of methanol, they need to be disposed of correctly. Licensed and professional waste disposal service providers like ACT Enviro have the right equipment and trained personnel to safely and properly handle such tasks. Calling such waste disposal services is the best and safest option for you in disposing methanol. 

Do not dispose of waste methanol or water that is contaminated with methanol directly into sewers or drains. Nor should it be poured into open bodies of water such as ponds or lakes.

Uses & Benefits

For all its hazards, methanol is a widely used chemical.

Food

Methanol is a naturally occurring substance in fruits and vegetables. In natural dietary amounts, methanol is essential in regulating human gene activity. Our digestive system also creates methanol to metabolize the food we eat.

Fuel

Almost half the methanol the world produces is utilized for energy-related processes and applications. It can be used as a fuel for vehicle or marine vessels. Gasoline formulations that include methanol as an additive result in a more efficient fuel called methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE). MTBE is more environmentally friendly fuel than gasoline as it produces fewer emissions. Methanol can be added in biodiesel, which is a clean and renewable fuel based on plants or animal fats.

Race car teams often mix water and methanol. This is then injected into high-performance diesel or gasoline engines for a boost in power and a decrease in intake air pressure.

Solvent for commercial products

Methanol is also used as a solvent to create resins, adhesives, inks and dyes.

Pharmaceuticals

Despite its hazardous nature, methanol is also widely used in the pharmaceutical industry. Specifically, it is utilized as an important solvent in manufacturing pharmaceutical products such as vitamins, hormones, streptomycin, and more.

Antifreeze

One of the unique properties of methanol is that it increases the boiling point and lowers the freezing point of water-based liquids. As such, methanol is used as antifreeze in windshield washer fluids and pipelines. Methanol is also introduced in main natural gas pipelines to lower the freezing point of the gas.  

In countries that comprise the European Union, methanol was once used in washing windshield washing or defrosting. But as of May 2019, the EU banned this method due to the risk of human exposure.

Other Applications

In the past, methanol was used to produce “denatured alcohol” or “methylated spirit.” This was a prevalent practice to discourage people from buying and consuming illegally produced liquor.  

Some wastewater treatment plants use a small amount of methanol in the wastewater. The methanol provides a carbon food source for the enzymes and denitrifying bacteria. These bacteria convert nitrates in wastewater to harmless nitrogen gas.  

Methanol is also used in new, experimental types of fuel cells, specifically direct-methanol fuel cells. These fuel cells are characterized by low-temperature and atmospheric pressure operation. These features allow them to be effectively miniaturized. Combined with safe storage of methanol, this technology can open up the way for fuel cell-powered (rather than battery powered) mobile phones, laptops, tablets, and other consumer electronics. 

Mountaineers, hikers, and other outdoorsmen often use methanol as fuel for their camping stoves. Since methanol burns efficiently without the need of a pressurized burner, campers can bring very simple and compact alcohol stoves; some campers even make their own handy stoves from discarded cans. The simplicity and reliability of these alcohol stoves is an advantage in the wilderness. On the other hand, broken complex equipment in the outdoors can become a nightmare. Methanol can be processed into a gel, so outdoorsmen can carry them in their packs without the risk of spilling.

What Are the 8 RCRA Metals?

Overview

According to the Environmental Protection Agency or EPA, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act or RCRA is a federal law that provides a structure for the proper management of hazardous and non-hazardous solid wastes. Its purpose is to give the EPA the authority to handle these waste products – from generation to transportation to treatment to storage to, finally, disposal.

These hazardous and non-hazardous waste products that the EPA controls under the RCRA can also include certain metals. Also called the RCRA 8s, these metals are Arsenic (As), Barium (Ba), Cadmium (Cd), Chromium (Cr), Lead (Pb), Mercury (Hg), Selenium (Sg), and Silver (Ag)

Follow along as we discuss each RCRA metal and its proper disposal.

1. Arsenic (Waste code: D004)

Arsenic, is a type of material that is most known to be used as a poison, especially in the olden days. However, Arsenic is commonly found in our food, water, and dietary supplements, in small amounts, though. It is also known to be present in tobacco smoke, which research shows to have high concentrations of Arsenic. Yes, in small amounts Arsenic poses no harmful effects for the human body. If one consumes a certain amount of Arsenic, it can become quite toxic.

2. Barium (D005)

Barium is one of the more common elements, and is also one of the most reactive. It can be used in the coloring of fireworks, the production of fluorescent light bulbs and tiles. You can also find Barium in rat poison and in drill bits, which one can find in oil refineries. Humans can be unknowingly exposed to Barium through well water supplies and oil refineries as well.

3. Cadmium (D006)

According to a study, Cadmium is a natural metal, which you can find in the earth’s crust. It can be extracted when one produces metals, including Copper, Lead, and Zinc. Cadmium is a blue-grey soft metal, and it also has multiple uses. The soft metal can be used in the production of batteries, plastics, metal coatings, and pigments. Plus, you can also find this toxic metal among mushrooms, shellfish, mussels, cocoa powder, and dried seaweed. A human can also unknowingly ingest this through secondhand smoke.

4. Chromium (D007)

Chromium is a brittle metal element which one can find in chrome plated car parts. It is naturally found in the Chromite Ore, but it can also be found in soil, rocks, plants, and even some animals. This metal has only been used for the longest time; in fact, China’s Qin Dynasty used this metal to coat the weapons of the world famous Terracotta Army. As with other metals, it can become poisonous to humans when exposed to high amounts of Chromium.

5. Lead (D008)

Lead is a well-known metal that one can find ammunition, batteries, old paints, crafted metals (pipes and solder), and X-ray protection equipment. Its potential health risk is also a well-documented fact. It is produced through the burning of fossil fuels, mining, and manufacturing. When these processes are being done, lead is exposed to the air and can find its way into water systems. This can lead to what is known as “lead poisoning,” which is known to have disastrous effects on the brain as well as causing cancer.

6. Mercury (D009)

Mercury is a liquid metal which you can find in most glass thermostats, batteries, and dental fillings. It is produced through the burning of coal. It can also be generated by manufacturing plants and mining. Mercury, when people and the environment are exposed to large amounts, can already provide a health risk. However, it can also be hazardous to human health when it is mixed with other elements. A good example of this is mercury poisoning through ingesting methyl-mercury which can be found in a few fish species. When exposed to dangerous amounts of the liquid metal, it can cause tremors, impaired cognition, and disturbances in the circadian rhythm.

7. Selenium (D010)

Selenium is a type of metal that is typically found in soil. But, it can also be produced when there is the refinement of metal sulfide and metal ores. Although it can be poisonous to people when ingested in large amounts, Selenium provides health benefits in small doses. These include improvement in thyroid function and metabolism. Plus, it can also reduce the risk of heart disease, slow mental age decline, and help boost your immune system.

Selenium is used mostly in electronics, but it can also be used in glass, pigments, inks, rubber, enamels, and paints. In addition, one can also find Selenium in pharmaceuticals, anti-dandruff shampoos, poultry and livestock feed, pesticides, and fungicides. Too much ingestion of Selenium, though, can lead to what is known as selenosis or selenium poisoning.

8. Silver (D011)

Silver is one of the most common types of metal. You can find it in jewelry, dental fillings, silverware, and mirrors. Plus, its use can range from multiple industries. For instance, Silver can be used in the production of photos and in the brazement of alloys and solders. It can also be used in electronics, water (drinking and in swimming pools) disinfectants, lozenges, chewing gums, and as an antibacterial agent. It is produced from the extraction of copper, lead, zinc, and gold ores.

When there is inhalation or ingestion of Silver, it can lead to argyria. It is a disease that can cause the color of the skin to blue or grey color. It can also lead to other negative health effects, such as throat and lung irritation, stomach pain, and breathing problems.

EPA Limits for RCRA Metals

As stated earlier, all these metal elements can potentially be hazardous to people. However, this only applies when a person is exposed, whether through inhalation or ingestion, to large amounts of the metals mentioned above. That is why the EPA provides a limit to the volume of RCRA metals that can be present in a consumer’s household and that can also be disposed of in solid waste landfills. See below the limits that the EPA set for each RCRA metal. Note: These are measured in parts per million (mg/L).

Metal EPA Allowable Limits
Arsenic
5.0 ppm (mg/L)
Barium
100.0 ppm (mg/L)
Cadmium
1.0 ppm (mg/L)
Chromium
5.0 ppm (mg/L)
Lead
5.0 ppm (mg/L)
Mercury
0.2 ppm (mg/L)
Selenium
1.0 ppm (mg/L)
Silver
5.0 ppm (mg/L)

When an amount of RCRA metal waste exceeds the limit set by the EPA, it must be treated as a hazardous waste. However, as aforementioned, when the amount is less than the limit itself, it can be disposed of in ordinary landfills. This, in fact, is the more cost-effective disposal solution.

Although, for you to dispose of an RCRA metal at a standard landfill, it must first pass the Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure (TCLP) test. This test would stimulate the leaching process, which would happen normally in a standard landfill. Then, it would allow the proper employees to test the sample gathered from the leaching. Find out more about this process when you continue reading below.

Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure (TCLP)

The Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure (TCLP) is a type of test that can provide an answer whether or not a waste product contains large amounts of hazardous compounds. It is a method that is used to stimulate the leaching process of a waste landfill. This can analyze the volume of the hazardous elements that are within the waste products. 

It also includes four processes, which are the following:

With the TCLP test, you can better understand whether an RCRA metal or any other potentially hazardous waste product can be land-disposed or not. Additionally, there are also a few equipment that facilities use for the TCLP test.

Agitation Apparatus

For an agitation apparatus to be deemed viable, it must be capable of rotating the extraction vessel in an end-to-end fashion at 30 ± 2 rpm. There are also various devices that the EPA finds suitable for TCPL. These are the following (including a few companies that offer them and also their model numbers):

Analytical Testing and Consulting Services, Inc.

Warrington, PA (215) 343-4490

Associated Design and Manufacturing Company

Alexandria, VA (703) 549-5999

Environmental Machine and Design, Inc.

Lynchburg, VA (804) 845-6424

IRA Machine Shop and Laboratory

Santurce, PR (809) 752-4004

Lards Lande Manufacturing

Whitmore Lake, MI (313) 449-4116

Millipore Corp.

Bedford, MA (800) 225-3384

Extraction Vessels

There are two types of extraction vessels; one is the Zero-Headspace Extraction Vessel or ZHE, and the other is the Bottle Extraction Vessel. The difference is that ZHE is used when the waste is being tested for the mobility of analytes. A Bottle Extraction Vessel, on the other hand, is used when the waste that is being evaluated only requires a nonvolatile extraction.

Filtration Devices

The EPA highly recommends that all filtration processes should be performed in a hood. Aside from that, a ZHE can also be used for extraction when the waste being extracted is evaluated for volatiles. It also must be able to withstand the pressure of 50 psi. There is also a filter holder device that is used when the waste is evaluated for other reasons aside from volatile analytes.

Filters

When it comes to filters, the EPA sets strict specifications regarding the correct filters to use. According to the Agency, filters must be made with borosilicate glass fiber, they must not be made with any binder material, and their effective pore size must be 0.6 µm to 0.8 µm. Learn more about filter specifications accepted by the EPA here.

pH Meters

According to the EPA, pH meters must be accurate to the ± 0.05 unit, and the temperature should be at 25°C.

ZHE Extract Collection Devices

For ZHE extraction, the EPA recommends the use of TEDLAR bags or glass and  PTFE gas-tight stainless steel syringes can all be used to collect the liquid phase of the waste as well as the final extract when using a ZHE extracting device. Although, the Agency specifically states that one can use this device when they are met with the following conditions:

ZHE Extraction Fluid Transfer Devices

This is any device that can transfer the extraction fluid into a ZHE device without changing the nature of the extraction fluid. These devices are accepted by the EPA:  a gas tight syringe,  pressure filtration unit, or a peristaltic pump.

Laboratory Balance

The EPA recommends any laboratory balance that is accurate to the ± 0.01 gram can be used.

Beaker or Erlenmeyer Flask

It needs to be made of glass and should be 500 mL.

Watchglass

It needs to have the correct diameter which can cover the beaker or the erlenmeyer flask entirely.

Conclusion

If you are a hazardous waste generator, it’s vital to understand the intricacies that makes up hazardous waste. It can spell the difference between proper compliance or hefty fines. Does your organization produce waste with traces of the RCRA’s 8 Metals? If you require help in removal, disposal or transportation, it’s best to contact ACT. We’ll be happy to help.

EPA Hazardous Waste Codes Guide

The US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Hazardous Waste Codes are an important part of the proper management of hazardous waste in the country. But before we go into the codes themselves, it is important to know the foundation of those codes. In this case, we need to have a basic understanding of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), its aims, and the EPA’s role in implementing RCRA regulations.

In 1976, Congress enacted the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, which is an amendment of the Solid Waste Disposal Act of 1965. It’s the US primary federal law presiding over the disposal of solid and hazardous wastes.  The RCRA was made in response to the country’s growing volume of municipal and industrial waste. 

The Act is made to

The implementation of the RCRA program is shared between the federal government and the state, with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) providing the fundamental requirements. The state governments then adopt, adapt, modify, and enforce their own regulations based on these EPA requirements.

Types of RCRA Waste Codes

Before going to the actual types of EPA waste codes, we need to differentiate two common kinds of hazardous wastes: characteristic and listed wastes. Characteristic wastes are waste materials that are known, proven, tested, or show one or more of the following traits:

Listed wastes are common waste materials that are generated from common industrial or manufacturing processes. They could also include waste materials that are generated from specific industries, non-specific sources, or commercial products that have been thrown away. These specific waste materials are specifically pre-catalogued and pre-designated by the government as hazardous materials, thus the term “listed.” 

Waste materials that are both hazardous and radioactive are called mixed wastes. Regulations for mixed wastes are shared between the RCRA and the Atomic Energy Act (AEA).

Hazardous wastes are categorized as RCRA (subject to RCRA regulations) or non-RCRA (not subject to RCRA regulations. Non-RCRA wastes are, therefore, subject to the state’s regulations). To help determine if a waste material is RCRA or non-RCRA, check out this guide from the EPA.

The RCRA, through the EPA, pre-designates certain wastes as hazardous and are placed on a list. A hazardous waste material is designated by a letter and further classified by a 3-digit number. If your waste material has these combinations, then it is automatically considered as an RCRA hazardous waste.

Listed Waste Codes

F List Codes

Hazardous waste materials in the F list are often generated from common manufacturing and industrial processes. Since these waste-producing processes can happen in different sectors that take part in different sectors of such industries, F-list wastes are often referred to as waste materials from non-specific sources.

K List Codes

Wastes in the K list are produced from specific sources within specific industries. For a waste material to qualify as K-listed, its characteristics must coincide with one of the 13 main industries in the list. In addition, it should correspond with one of the K-list descriptions in 40 CFR Section 261.32.

P/U List Codes

Wastes belonging to the P and U lists are usually generated from commercial grade formulations. Note that they only become a listed waste when such formulations are disposed of or are subject for disposal. Waste materials assigned with a P-code are acutely hazardous. Those with a U code are noted for their chronic or persistent toxicity.

For a hazardous waste material to be listed in a P or U list, it should satisfy three criteria:

According to EPA’s definition for P/U list classification purposes, a commercial chemical product is either a 100% pure, a technical grade, or a sole active ingredient in a chemical formulation.

Characteristic Hazardous Waste Codes

D001 Codes

Hazardous wastes in this list exhibit the Ignitability characteristic. The flash point (the lowest temperature which causes the material to combust) for liquid waste material is below 60 degrees Celsius using the Pensky-Martens Closed-Cup Method. D001 wastes materials also include combustible solids, gases, and oxidizers.

D002 Codes

Hazardous wastes in the D002 list are noted for their Corrosivity. These wastes include aqueous liquids that have a ph of 2 or less (base) or a ph 12.5 or above (acid). It also includes substances—often liquids—that deteriorate steel at a rate of 6.35mm or more per year as per the National Association of Corrosion Engineers.

D003 Codes

Waste materials listed in the D003 list are dangerous because of their Reactivity. They combust, detonate, give off toxic gases, or negatively react when they come in contact with water or other substances. Some are inherently unstable even in normal circumstances.

D004 to D043 Codes

Waste materials belonging to the D004 to D043 list are noted for their Toxicity. They become harmful when absorbed by the body through skin permeation, ingestion, or inhalation. Untreated or improperly disposed toxic wastes cause a lot of concern because they might soak through the soil and penetrate groundwater. 

The contaminated groundwater may find its way to the municipal potable water supply. If it does, it can potentially create a public health issue.

The Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure (TCLP) (SW-846 Test Method 1311) determines the level of toxicity of a waste material in the D004 to D043 list.

Mixed Wastes

Mixed wastes materials contain both hazardous and radioactive materials. These wastes generated from nuclear power generators, medical equipment used in nuclear medicine, and the like.

The hazardous component of a mixed waste material is regulated by EPA under RCRA. The radioactive component is overseen by either the Department of Energy (DOE) or the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). As a general rule when it comes to division of authority, the NRC regulates waste from commercial facilities. DOE provides the policies of waste management in DOE-related facilities such as nuclear plants.

Information about EPA’s regulations on mixed waste can be found in the Final Rule.

Hazardous Waste Codes Differences

As you can see above, the hazardous waste codes differences are vast with the exception of the P/U list. Each kind of hazardous waste material is placed into these lists for proper identification and classification. 

With the waste materials being properly identified and classified, state governments as well as industrial, medical, and commercial facilities can determine the right protocols as per RCRA/EPA regulations in handling, treating, collecting, and disposing such waste material. 

The actual differences lie in the materials number part of the code. However, a comprehensive list of the kinds of materials and their codes are beyond the scope of this article. Instead, we will provide some examples of coded waste materials.

A complete list of EPA waste codes in each list can be found in 40 CFR section 261.

Examples of F-List Codes

For a complete list of F-List waste materials, click the link above and scroll down to 40 CFR section 261.31.

Examples of K-List Codes

For a complete list of K-List waste materials, click the link above and scroll down to 40 CFR section 261.32.

Examples of P-List Codes

For a complete list of P-List waste materials, click the link above and scroll down to 40 CFR section 261.33.

Examples of U-List Codes

For a complete list of U-List waste materials, click the link above and scroll down to 40 CFR section 261.33.

For characteristic waste, the EPA provides a table only for substances with toxic characteristics. The EPA Hazardous Waste number matches the contaminant that makes the waste material hazardous.

Examples of D004 to D043-List Codes

For a complete list of D004 to D043-List waste materials, click the link above and scroll down to 40 CFR section 261.24.