If your business generates hazardous waste, it’s important to pay attention to any laws in the pipeline that could impact how you dispose of toxic substances.
That includes new laws that make it easier to catch illegal dumpers or businesses not complying with ordinances designed to curb acts that can harm the environment and community. In fact, the city of Los Angeles is reconsidering an illegal waste dumping law that would reward residents for providing information that leads to an illegal dumping conviction.
Government entities are constantly looking for ways to prevent illegal hazardous waste disposal. As these laws evolve, it’s critical that companies stay on top of these laws in order to avoid costly penalties and a black eye to their reputations.
Here’s what you need to know about this latest proposed law and what you can do as a business to protect yourself from violations.
Los Angeles Illegal Waste Dumping Law
The 2002 law that Los Angeles city officials are considering reviving rewards city residents if they are able to provide information on illegal waste dumping. That information must lead to a conviction in order for the citizens to receive the reward.
According to an article published in Waste Today Magazine, the city saw a 450-percent increase in illegal dumping in public areas from 2016 to 2020. If approved by the council, the proposed program would modify the city’s administrative code and create a tiered reward scale. Officials would also create a public outreach campaign that promotes this program.
Heather Johnson, principal public relations officer for the city’s sanitation department, stated in the article that the original law failed because of the lengthy time it took to submit information and for a person to receive the reward. She said there was also a lack of publicity associated with the program.
While the rewards would vary, citizens could get up to $1,000 for reporting illegal dumping.
Why Hazardous Waste Generators Should Pay Attention
A program such as the one proposed in Los Angeles is just one more tool officials have at their disposal to help curb illegal dumping. It’s one of many hazardous waste laws that are either in effect or in the pipeline and signals a commitment to cracking down on offenders.
If you’re a company that generates hazardous waste, it’s another sign that if your hazardous materials business plan and disposal procedures aren’t up to date, it’s critical to be on top of these evolving laws so that you don’t get caught violating the law.
Even companies that are following the law by the book may feel blindsided as new laws are continuously being introduced that could change what constitutes hazardous waste vs. non-hazardous waste. For example, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is currently assessing whether polyvinyl chloride or PVC, constitutes hazardous waste under federal law.
Whether you have PVC on site or generate any other type of industrial waste, medical waste, electronic waste or other types that fall under hazardous waste laws, it’s critical that you ensure you have the processes in place to properly dispose of your waste.
How A Disposal Company Can Help
Environmental laws are constantly evolving, and the proposed Los Angeles law is one of many that could be on the horizon. Although it doesn’t impact current disposal regulations, it is another tool that officials could use to help deter unscrupulous practices.
Keeping on top of changing regulations is critical to protecting both the environment and your business or organization.
How can you, as a business, ensure that you are meeting all regulations? Certified hazardous waste disposal companies can help make sure your hazardous waste disposal processes are current.
The best waste disposal companies monitor pending legislation and prepare for how these laws will impact your specific business or organization. They will also take a closer look at your current processes to ensure they are streamlined and following current laws rather than past laws. This is especially important when it comes to costs, since you don’t want to pay for hazardous waste disposal if your waste can be classified as non-hazardous waste.
What A Waste Disposal Company Should Offer
When searching for waste disposal services, it’s important to connect with a company that is experienced in the type of waste you generate.
For example, only certain facilities accept laboratory waste and electronic waste. Other facilities will accept different types of industrial waste, but your waste disposal company may need to transport your waste across state lines in order to ensure it is properly disposed of.
The best disposal companies are familiar with Treatment, Storage and Disposal Facilities (TSDF) and what each accepts.
During times of uncertainty, the best disposal companies will also offer the ability to identify waste streams through profiling and testing, as well as a walk-through program to evaluate your waste procedures. This program is consultative in nature and is critically important as laws are changing since an evaluation can help you better understand how any upcoming legislation may impact your waste procedures.
Other services that hazardous waste disposal companies offer include:
- Transportation of your waste to the proper recycling and disposal sites
- Evidence that your waste has been properly disposed of
- Provided documentation that is required for transport, such as manifests
- Evaluation of storage on-site
California has some of the strictest environmental laws on the books, and there are no signs that governments at the local and state level are slowing down anytime soon in their efforts to curb illegal disposal. Even through administration changes, it’s likely these laws will continue to evolve in some direction at the local, state and federal levels in the coming years.
A hazardous waste disposal company will help your business ensure you are on top of these changing regulations so that you can feel confident you are following the law and don’t need to worry about community members reporting your disposal actions.