In the wake of the global pandemic, businesses and companies across nearly every industry found themselves navigating uncharted waters, adapting to new norms and implementing stringent health measures.
A crucial aspect of this adaptation involved the widespread procurement of bulk hand sanitizer to ensure the safety of employees, customers and visitors. Some organizations, driven by a sense of urgency at the onset of the pandemic, purchased substantial quantities of hand sanitizer, anticipating prolonged uncertainty and supply chain challenges.
Others, as the market responded with increased production, seized the opportunity to acquire large volumes at more favorable terms.
If this sounds like your business, you may be experiencing a new, unexpected challenge - surplus inventory. The abundance of bulk hand sanitizer, once a proactive measure for safety, has become a logistical puzzle for many companies.
Whether it's due to overestimation of ongoing demand, changes in workplace dynamics, or the sheer speed at which the market adapted to the heightened demand, your organization may now find itself seeking creative solutions to efficiently manage and dispose of its excess hand sanitizer stockpiles.
While you can’t turn back time, there is one action you can take to ensure your bulk hand sanitizer is disposed of properly … work with a hazardous waste disposal company that has helped businesses like yours in the same situation.
How You Should NOT Dispose Of Bulk Hand Sanitizer
When it comes to disposing of bulk hand sanitizer, it’s crucial to avoid certain practices to prevent potential hazards. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency emphatically warns against dumping hand sanitizer down the drain.
Given that hand sanitizing products typically contain at least 60% alcohol, and some even higher, the presence of isopropyl alcohol makes it easily ignitable. Pouring this substance down the drain poses a significant risk, as it can lead to a public health nightmare with the potential for fires and explosions in water pipes and sewers.
Instead of resorting to unsafe disposal methods, individuals are encouraged to utilize proper channels for getting rid of unused alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Residents can often find designated household hazardous waste drop-off locations or participate in special disposal events specifically organized for household hazardous waste. This ensures the safe and environmentally responsible disposal of surplus hand sanitizer.
However, your commercial hazardous waste disposal options are different since you are dealing with substantial quantities of hand sanitizer. Businesses must engage certified hazardous waste disposal companies to transport their products to designated disposal sites equipped to handle these potentially dangerous substances. This ensures legal compliance and responsible management of bulk hand sanitizer waste on a larger scale.
How You SHOULD Dispose Of Bulk Hand Sanitizer
Hand sanitizer is considered a flammable liquid. Because of this, the rules that oversee the transportation and disposal of hand sanitizer are more extensive.
Hazardous waste disposal companies are equipped to meet these strict rules. Here are some of the transporting requirements your business might be subject to during this process:
- Only approved portable tanks and containers may be used to store and transport class 3 flammable liquids.
- Portable tanks must include provisions for emergency vents that can be used to decrease internal pressure under fire exposure conditions. They must also have at least one pressure-activated vent.
- Small containers holding less than 8 gallons of flammable liquid and with a weight of fewer than 440 pounds can be transported by anyone who has undergone general hazmat training.
- Shipments must include MSDS sheets and must be appropriately labeled as “Gasoline” or “Flammable Liquid.”
- Larger shipments must include MSDS sheets, an emergency response guide and a hazmat bill of lading.
- Drivers who transport more than 119 gallons or more than 1,001 pounds of class 3 dangerous goods must also have a commercial driver’s license or CDL. Extensive driver training is also highly recommended for those who carry large amounts.
- Shippers who transport containers that hold less than 8 gallons and weigh more than 440 pounds but less than 1,001 pounds and containers that hold between 8 and 119 gallons and weigh less than 1,001 pounds must complete emergency response guide training as well as HM-126F training.
- Dangerous Good placards are required by 49 CFR 172.500 as well as the International Maritime Organization. Such placards must be affixed to highway, rail and ocean containers.
As you can see, there are many regulations you must follow to dispose of your bulk hand sanitizer. Here’s where an experienced hazardous waste disposal company can come in and help you ensure you’re meeting every rule required of you.
The disposal process typically involves several key steps:
- Identification and Classification: The hand sanitizer is initially identified and classified as hazardous waste based on its composition, which often includes a high concentration of alcohol as the active ingredient. The classification is crucial in determining the appropriate disposal methods.
- Packaging and Labeling: The bulk hand sanitizer is securely packaged in containers that meet regulatory standards for hazardous materials transportation. Proper labeling is applied to clearly indicate the contents and associated hazards.
- Transportation: Certified hazardous waste disposal companies use specialized vehicles designed to transport hazardous materials safely. These vehicles adhere to strict regulations to prevent leaks, spills or other accidents during transportation.
- Treatment or Incineration: Depending on the specific regulations and the characteristics of the hand sanitizer waste, disposal companies may opt for treatment or incineration. Treatment methods may include chemical processes to neutralize hazardous components. Incineration involves burning the waste at high temperatures to reduce it to ashes.
- Waste-to-Energy Conversion: In some cases, disposal facilities may use waste-to-energy technologies to convert the energy content of the hand sanitizer into usable energy. This approach aligns with sustainable waste management practices.
- Final Disposal: The final disposal destination is a designated hazardous waste disposal site equipped to handle the waste safely. This may involve secure landfills or other facilities designed to contain and manage hazardous materials without posing risks to the environment or public health.
Throughout this process, hazardous waste disposal companies must comply with local, state and federal regulations to ensure the protection of human health and the environment. By following these rigorous procedures, they contribute to minimizing the environmental impact of hazardous waste, including bulk hand sanitizer.
What To Look For In A Hazardous Waste Disposal Company
When selecting a hazardous waste disposal company to oversee the safe handling of hazardous materials like bulk hand sanitizer, it's essential to consider these eight key factors to ensure responsible and compliant disposal.
- Certification and Compliance: Look for a disposal company that holds the necessary certifications and adheres to regulatory requirements. Compliance with local, state and federal regulations is crucial for safe and legal disposal practices. Certifications from relevant environmental agencies demonstrate a commitment to upholding industry standards.
- Experience and Expertise: Choose a disposal company with a proven track record in handling hazardous waste, including bulk hand sanitizer. An experienced company is likely to have the expertise needed to navigate complex regulations, ensuring the proper identification, packaging, transportation and disposal of hazardous materials.
- Transportation and Packaging: Assess the company's transportation methods and packaging procedures. Ensure they use specialized vehicles designed for hazardous materials transport and that packaging meets regulatory standards. Properly labeled and secure packaging is essential to prevent accidents during transit.
- Treatment Facilities: Inquire about the disposal company's partnerships with treatment facilities. A company with access to advanced treatment technologies demonstrates a commitment to environmentally sustainable disposal practices.
- Transparency and Documentation: Choose a company that prioritizes transparency in its operations. Clear documentation of the disposal process, from identification to final disposal, is essential. This not only ensures accountability but also helps you meet reporting requirements.
- Client References and Reviews: Seek client references and read reviews to gauge the satisfaction of previous clients. Positive testimonials and feedback can provide insights into the reliability, efficiency and professionalism of the hazardous waste disposal company.
- Free Quote: A reputable disposal company should always offer a free quote so that you can properly assess the costs of meeting your disposal needs.
By carefully evaluating these factors, you can select a hazardous waste disposal company that aligns with your needs, ensuring the safe and compliant management of bulk hand sanitizer waste and other hazardous materials.