24×7 Emergency Spill Response 1300 785 003

cleanway group logo

What is Chemical Waste?

What is chemical waste

Chemical waste is formed when any chemical becomes excessive, unused, or unwanted. Like all forms of waste, it occurs when a certain good is no longer useful or wanted. 

However, chemical waste can potentially be dangerous or hazardous to human health and the environment. This is made worse if improper waste disposal methods are practised. 

It is important that chemical waste is understood. Knowledge helps to prevent unwanted accidents and incidents. 

Remember that contacting a licensed waste management company is a good idea if you, as a business owner or a homeowner, find yourself face-to-face with chemical waste. Companies like Cleanway know what they’re doing. 

This blog is suited for anyone interested in chemical waste. It deals with its complex definition and relation to various forms of hazardous waste. Additionally, it provides some tips for better chemical waste management practices. 

Waste is an inevitable part of running a business or household. Knowing what to do will help you to make more informed decisions. 

What is Chemical Waste?

Chemical waste is formed when any chemical becomes excessive, unused, or unwanted. Like all forms of waste, it comes about when a certain good is no longer useful or wanted.

Chemical waste is connected to other types of waste in a variety of ways. For instance, chemical waste can also be liquid waste if it comes in liquid form. However, not all liquid waste is chemical waste. Some forms of liquid waste are organic in nature, such as mud formed from a dam overflow. 

Additionally, not all chemical waste is hazardous waste. Chemical waste, by definition, merely means waste formed by a compound that is, in its majority, chemically formed. While it can be hazardous, like hydrogen sulphide, some forms are not. 

But this danger should be noted. Because dealing with chemical waste can be dangerous, it’s best to leave it to professional waste management teams. 

Some waste items also have the potential to become hazardous over time. E-waste is a good example of this, as many of the components common in everyday electronic devices become toxic if improperly disposed of. 

Types of Chemical Waste

Chemical waste disposal requires that the different substances are separated. This might include separating nitric acid from motor oils so that both can be safely disposed of.

However, this separation requires an understanding of the different types of chemical waste. Hazardous wastes, for instance, should be separated from regular household chemicals.

Cleanway discusses six main types of chemical waste in its blog “Chemical Waste: Current Perspectives and Challenges”. Below is a summary of the six main types of chemical waste. Be sure to check out the blog for more information. 

Hazardous Waste

Hazardous waste includes all substances that are potentially dangerous to human health and the environment. Failing to safely dispose of these chemicals can cause major issues, so it is important for them to be dealt with by a trained waste management team. 

Medical Waste

Medical waste is defined as any waste formed in healthcare facilities like hospitals, clinics, laboratories, and related institutions. It’s important for them to be safely disposed of in a way that aligns with the many laws and regulations in place. 

Electronic Waste

Electronic waste (e-waste) forms when electronic products are discarded. They’ve grown in recent years, and managing the chemical components is a skill that major waste management companies have been working on. 

Radioactive Waste

Perhaps one of the most well-known radioactive waste is generated from nuclear power plants as well as other institutions that work with radioactive materials. Their potential harms can be long-lasting and require safe and secure disposal best practices. 

Industrial Waste

Industrial waste refers to items disposed of through the manufacturing process. Given the largeness of this industry, the types of chemical waste vary and should be treated with care and safety. 

Household Chemical Waste

Household chemical waste is one of the largest generators of chemical waste, but it is often overlooked. This is largely because such items are common and not seen to possess potential dangers to human health and the environment. However, household chemicals should be treated with caution.

Chemical Waste and the Environment

Chemical waste does not need to pose a negative environmental impact. This often occurs when dangerous or other improper waste disposal methods are used. 

For this reason, it is important to use a licensed, professional waste management service. Companies like Cleanway are EPA-certified, so they understand what the right disposal methods are. 

But the dangers do exist. It’s worth mentioning these risks as well as the potential warning signs. 

Potential Environmental Risks of Chemical Waste.

The potential environmental risks of chemical waste are wide-reaching due to the various forms of chemical waste. It also depends on the environment in question. 

The environmental risks include polluting water sources, poisoning wildlife, contaminating soil, and creating air pollution.

These environmental risks are caused by various forms of contamination. They occur from improper disposal. Either the waste was not disposed of correctly or because they were simply neglected and illegally dumped. 

Warning Signs of Environmental Damage from Chemical Waste.

Environmental damage from chemical waste has a number of clear signs and a number of signs ‘below the surface’. For this reason it is important to approach potential damage with scepticism or through a professional. 

Cleanway’s blog on Common Soil Contamination Warning Signs provides a comprehensive discussion that highlights some of the environmental damages from chemical waste. 

At times, environmental damage is only seen after significant destruction has occurred. This can mean that a return to an environmental stasis, where the damage is removed, will be difficult to achieve. 

How is Chemical Waste Generated?

Chemical waste is generated whenever chemical products are discarded, disposed of, or become redundant. Like all forms of waste, it is an inevitable part of the production process. 

Chemicals are used for a variety of production purposes, from laboratories running tests to medical facilities working with life-changing materials. 

These multiple forms contribute to the generation of chemical waste. It’s important to manage chemical waste in line with how it is made. This is because different regulations can exist for the different types of chemical waste. 

For example, household chemical waste does not need to be managed with as stringent regulations as radioactive waste. This just wouldn’t be feasible, and the level of risk is not as high. 

What is Chemical Industrial Waste?

Chemical industrial waste is created during the production and manufacturing process within the industrial sector. It can be a solid, liquid, or gas, but there are instances where certain types of waste can take more than one form. 

Many industries work with hazardous materials that can be harmful if incorrect waste disposal methods are used. That being said, experienced team members from within the business often work to ensure that potentially hazardous wastes are not dealt with incorrectly.

What is Chemical and Hazardous Waste?

Chemical and hazardous waste are sometimes used interchangeably. While they share many similarities, this is an oversimplification. The two are distinct from another even if the safe disposal methods are the same.

Hazardous waste refers to a class of waste that is harmful or dangerous to human health and the environment. While it can be chemical in nature, this is not always the case, even if most type of hazardous waste is comprised of chemicals.

Find out more on How to Dispose of Hazardous Waste here.

Chemical Waste and Emergency Spills

Chemical spills are potentially hazardous for laboratories and other facilities that work with chemical liquids. Cleanway has an entire blog dedicated to understanding these incidents and the emergency spill kits required.

The key takeaway is that spills are a common occurrence whenever liquid substances are involved. Much like you would have fire extinguishers throughout your workplace, you should consider getting an emergency spill kit to manage any eventuality.

Clearway’s Chemical Waste Disposal Methods

The chemical waste disposal approach is rooted in a step-by-step process prioritising safety, compliance, and environmental protection. From initial waste collection to the final disposal, our process is designed to meet each client’s specific needs while adhering to stringent EPA regulations.

Waste Assessment and Collection

Begin with a thorough assessment of your waste management needs. This involves identifying the types of chemical waste your facility produces, the quantities involved, and any specific handling requirements. 

Based on this assessment, we develop a tailored collection plan that aligns with your operational schedules and safety protocols.

Safe Transportation

Utilising a fleet of specialised vehicles equipped with the latest safety features, we ensure the secure transportation of hazardous and chemical waste from your facility to our treatment or disposal sites.

Our logistics operations are designed to minimise risks during transit, adhering to all regulatory requirements for hazardous waste transport.

Advanced Treatment and Disposal

We then employ treating and disposing of chemical waste. This includes methods for neutralising hazardous compounds, recycling reusable materials, and safely disposing of non-recoverable waste. 

Our facilities operate under strict EPA oversight, ensuring that all waste is handled in an environmentally responsible manner.

Compliance and Documentation

We maintain documentation throughout the waste disposal process to ensure compliance with Australian regulations. This includes tracking manifests, disposal records, and any necessary regulatory reports. 

By documenting our processes, we assure clients that their waste management practices meet due diligence requirements and regulatory standards.

Continuous Improvement and Client Support

Our team provides ongoing client support, advising on waste minimisation strategies, regulatory compliance, and best practices for hazardous waste management.

By leveraging advanced and extensive capabilities, Cleanway ensures businesses meet their due diligence requirements regarding laboratory chemical waste disposal. 

Chemical Waste Safe Disposal

Chemical waste disposal methods have developed to be safe, friendly to the environment, government-regulated, and cost-effective. The process ensures that potentially hazardous materials and other contaminants do not cause unnecessary harm.