If your business generates waste that can harm the environment and human health, it’s important that proper hazardous waste disposal be a top priority.
In most cases, if your company generates hazardous waste, you’ll need pick-up services to transport that waste to the appropriate facility for treatment and disposal.
Below we’ll explore some of the most frequently asked questions about hazardous waste disposal pick up services so that you can choose the right partner that meets your company’s waste management needs.
Why Do I Need Pick Up Services?
It can be tempting to save a few bucks and dispose of hazardous waste yourself. As a business, every dollar counts, but that’s exactly why you should utilize hazardous waste disposal pick-up services.
A common practice many facility managers, EHS managers and the like make is that they store their waste in large quantities and then look to dispose of it in one pick up. They mistakenly believe that disposing of their waste this way will save them money over the year. This practice typically ends up costing a company more money to dispose of the waste. Getting on a weekly, monthly or quarterly pick up run usually will save the company more money annually.
In California, it is against the law for any person to transport hazardous waste unless they hold a valid registration. The Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) must issue this registration.
It doesn’t matter if your business only generates a small amount of hazardous waste. In California, large vs. small hazardous waste generator requirements don’t dictate that one requires a registered transporter and the other doesn’t. The quantity of hazardous waste that you generate can impact other requirements like storage, but not when it comes to transporting that trash.
Keep in mind, even if it was legal for you to hop in your company vehicle and haul your hazardous waste to a treatment, storage and disposal facility (TSDF), it’s often not practical. Each facility accepts different types of waste. While one may only accept electronic waste, another may focus its efforts on industrial waste like oils, solvents and toxic chemicals.
In addition to restricting the type of waste a facility accepts, it likely also limits how much of that waste.
Hazardous waste disposal companies not only legally transport your waste, they will transport it to the appropriate facilities that accept it, even if that means traveling out of state.
Should I Use A Hazardous Waste Broker?
No, you should never use a hazardous waste broker when you are setting up waste disposal for your company.
Hazardous waste brokers are “middlemen.” They are NOT the same as hazardous waste transporters. In fact, brokers typically don’t own a hazardous waste transportation business. Instead, they act as the liaison between the buyer (you) and the transportation company that takes your waste to a hazardous waste facility disposal site.
You may come across brokers while searching online for a company to transport your hazardous waste. Often, they will offer to provide you with a quote of how much it will cost to dispose of your toxic materials.
Here’s where things start to go wrong. They won’t always tell you that the company you are corresponding with is a broker rather than a transporter. They’ll also take the quoted price they get from the transport company and mark it up with whatever percentage they want before submitting the quote to you for approval. That means you’ll pay more for a service you could receive directly from a reputable waste transportation company.
Here’s the biggest reason why you should never use a hazardous waste materials broker: You lose control over who is handling your waste. You have no way of knowing what transportation company is taking your waste to a disposal site. It could be a company with a poor reputation, or worse, a company without the proper permits.
If something goes wrong during transport, you’re still liable due to cradle to grave requirements in California. It’s far better to work directly with a certified hazardous waste disposal company directly.
Are There Alternatives To Pick Up Services?
Choosing to have your hazardous waste picked up offers many advantages, from convenience to reassurance that your waste is being properly and legally disposed of at the correct locations.
However, if your facility generates certain types of waste in small quantities, you may not always need pick up services. For example, California offers drop-off facilities for medical waste that are designed to make disposal of this type of waste easy. These medical waste disposal drop off sites typically accept items like sharps needles and pharmaceutical medications.
These can be a great choice if you generate small amounts of regulated medical waste that fall within the parameters of what these locations accept. However, it’s important to double check that a collection site can accept waste generated from a business, since some may only accept waste from households.
If you’re wondering where to drop off electronic waste, CalRecycle offers a directory on its website that features several companies and organizations that participate in the Covered Electronic Waste Recovery and Recycling Program.
Again, not every drop-off site accepts the same e-waste items nor the same amounts. Some may only accept products from residents as well rather than businesses.
If you have one computer you must dispose of, this recycling program may be a great option. However, if you’re upgrading your facility’s entire computer system, you may need the services of a hazardous waste disposal company that can safely and legally dispose of multiple pieces of electronic waste.
What Qualifications Should A Hazardous Waste Disposal Pick Up Service Have?
When searching for a hazardous waste disposal pick up company, the first thing you should check is that it has passed all background checks and holds the appropriate state and federal licenses (such as Motor Carrier Permit, DOT Hazardous Material License, DTSC Transporter Registration, etc.).
The California Department of Toxic Substances Control maintains a Registered Hazardous Waste Transporter Database where you can verify whether a business is a registered waste transporter. This database also provides when the transporter’s registration expires, the transporter’s registration number and the transporter’s location and contact information.
The transporter you work with should also be hazardous waste disposal expert and knowledgeable about the specific type of hazardous waste that your business generates. Each type of hazardous waste has its own specific regulations that must be followed during transport and disposal. Even states have their own different hazardous waste laws, which is important for a transport company to know if it must take your waste to another state for proper disposal.
What Should Hazardous Waste Disposal Pick Up Companies Offer?
Many businesses simply need one service … for their hazardous waste to be picked up and transported to the appropriate TSDF.
However, just because a hazardous waste disposal pick up company offers this service doesn’t mean it’s the best or right partner for you. How do you know which transport company is of higher quality than another?
The best disposal companies will:
- Help you establish a waste management plan that covers all areas of your operations
- Identify uncertain waste streams through profiling and testing to ensure the right facilities receive the right hazardous materials
- Evaluate your waste streams to determine if the waste could be classified as non-hazardous waste, possibly saving you money on your disposal fees
- Develop site-specific plans that include training and emergency preparation
- Prepare manifests and other required paperwork needed for transport
- Offer evidence that your waste has been properly disposed of at the treatment and disposal facility
- Provide a hazardous waste walk-through program that evaluates your waste procedures and catches potential issues before they become costly mistakes
Working with a high-quality, licensed hazardous waste transporter that will pick up your waste and dispose of it legally can provide reassurance that your business and its future are in the best hands.