What are the Different Types of Hazardous Materials Disposal?

Harriette Halepis
Harriette Halepis
Biomedical waste is managed by incinerating or sterilizing the materials with heat to kill bacteria.
Biomedical waste is managed by incinerating or sterilizing the materials with heat to kill bacteria.

There are many different types of hazardous materials disposal. The way that hazardous waste is disposed of largely depends upon the type of waste at hand. While some waste is considered toxic, other waste can be recycled and turned into another type of product. Before any hazardous waste can be disposed of, basic types of waste must be clearly defined.

The way that hazardous waste is disposed of largely depends upon the type of waste.
The way that hazardous waste is disposed of largely depends upon the type of waste.

Hazardous household wastes include paints, automotive materials, pesticides, electronics, refrigerants, items that contain mercury, aerosols, cleaning products, batteries, and radioactive waste. All of these things are considered hazardous materials, and each of these items should be disposed of properly. However, many countries around the world do not have a large enough budget to create a separate disposal area for household waste. Thus, a fair amount of the objects listed above can be placed inside of a regular trash can. Before disposing of any household waste, it is best to check with local authorities as to the proper disposal method.

Hazardous materials disposal is recommended for some types of electronic waste.
Hazardous materials disposal is recommended for some types of electronic waste.

Industrial waste that is ignitable, corrosive, toxic, or reactive must be placed within proper waste containers. Special containers exist for all types of industrial waste including medical waste. Industries and organizations that fail to dispose of waste properly are often heavily fined.

Many types of household hazardous waste can be recycled. Batteries, electronic circuits, and other items may be harvested or transformed into new products. Also, some types of industrial waste, such as ash, may also be recycled. Another type of hazardous materials disposal includes cement processing. Various materials may be mixed with cement in order to change the property of the original material. Since cement can decrease the amount of toxins in a material, this process is highly effective.

Aerosols are considered a household hazardous material.
Aerosols are considered a household hazardous material.

While most types of hazardous waste cannot be changed, some waste can be effectively neutralized. During the neutralization process, hazardous elements are removed from the waste itself, creating a different type of hazardous materials disposal. The result of the neutralization process is a material that is no longer toxic.

Incineration is another type of hazardous materials disposal that was once quite popular, though this is no longer the case. The incineration process involves burning hazardous waste until it is no longer harmful. While this method does eliminate hazardous waste, it also allows harmful toxins to seep into the atmosphere in the form of smoke. Thus, the incineration technique is slowly being phased out.

Lastly, hazardous materials disposal may include landfill dumping. Landfills are large caves, treatment facilities, underground wells, or other land openings that are used as dumping spots. When waste is buried underneath a portion of land, it is thought that this waste eventually disintegrates. However, this process if highly controversial, since many people do not believe that landfills effectively eliminate waste problems.

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    • Biomedical waste is managed by incinerating or sterilizing the materials with heat to kill bacteria.
      By: Keith Frith
      Biomedical waste is managed by incinerating or sterilizing the materials with heat to kill bacteria.
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      Aerosols are considered a household hazardous material.