The 4 Different Types of Hazardous Waste

You never know when you might encounter toxic waste. Batteries, cleaners, pesticides, and other things all contain chemicals that aren’t safe to ingest or put in the garbage. Know what to do with the different types of hazardous waste so you can help the environment and keep yourself healthy.

The 4 Different Types of Hazardous Waste

Listed Wastes

F-List Wastes

Hazardous wastes on this list without a specific source are listed as F-list wastes. You must dispose of them at specific collection sites. Some of the most common types are waste solvents used to degas and clean high-pressure liquid chromatography columns. Follow general guidelines for F-list wastes to dispose of HPLC waste.

K-List Wastes

Many industries produce hazardous waste, and they mostly produce K-list wastes. K-list wastes are specific sources of toxicity that come from the manufacturing, petroleum, or food industry. The waste often results in a thick sludge.

P-List and U-List Wastes

These lists contain discarded commercial chemicals. Unused pesticides and pharmaceuticals don’t belong in a landfill. They’re classified as hazardous because you should dispose of them differently.

Characteristic Wastes

Characteristic wastes are toxic wastes that don’t fit into a listed waste category. You must properly label these wastes by their characteristics to ensure proper disposal. Characteristic wastes are identified by:

  • Ignitability: Waste that spontaneously combusts and has a flash point less than 140 degrees.
  • Corrosivity: Acids or bases that can melt metal containers.
  • Reactivity: Unstable chemicals often found in batteries.
  • Toxicity: Waste that is fatal when ingested.

Universal Wastes

The most common type of hazardous waste is universal wastes, and they’re typically a result of things such as batteries, bulbs, pesticides, and equipment that uses mercury. You must keep these items out of landfills. There are nine different classifications for universal wastes, including:

  1. Explosives
  2. Gases
  3. Flammable Liquids
  4. Flammable Solids or Substances
  5. Oxidizing Substances and Organic Peroxides
  6. Toxic and Infectious Substances
  7. Radioactivity
  8. Corrosive Substances
  9. Miscellaneous Dangerous Substances and Articles

Mixed Wastes

Mixed wastes contain a combination of radioactive and other toxic components and are some of the hardest to identify. They are broken into three categories depending on toxicity level. Many agencies typically oversee the collection and disposal of mixed wastes.

Know the different types of hazardous waste to help keep our environment clean. It’s not just scientists and manufacturers who need to know these important safety tips. Find out how to properly dispose of light bulbs, batteries, and medications before you throw them in the trash or down the drain.

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