7 Methods of Hazardous Waste Disposal

Over the years the rate at which manufacturing industries produce waste is alarming, some of this waste is hazardous. Hazardous wastes can be liquids, and solids, which consist of gases, byproducts of manufacturing processing, or discarded commercial products, such as cleaning agents or pesticides. that is how the methods of hazardous waste disposal come into play.

Presently our environment is littered with hazardous waste in large quantities because we are not improperly implementing methods of hazardous waste disposal in the environment which has made our environment to be very dirty and harmful to our health.

Most people don’t even know the methods of hazardous waste disposal, that is why we carelessly disposed of our waste anyhow and everywhere without considering the effect it has on our environment.

Living in a dirty environment has a lot of negative impacts on our health, plants, and animals. Hence our utmost priority should be keeping our environment clean and we should be responsible for taking proper care of the waste in our environment and surrounding. in this article, we are looking at Methods of hazardous waste disposal.

7 Methods of Hazardous Waste Disposal

  • Recycling
  • Landfill
  • Underground
  • Plasma Gasification
  • Incineration
  • Ocean Dumping
  • composting

let’s look at the methods of hazardous waste disposal that are listed above one after the other.

1. Recycling

This is one of the well-known methods of hazardous waste disposal and it is commonly practiced in our environment.

Recycling is converting waste into reusable material. This waste has been thrown away as trash, they are collected and processed into new material or products such as Aluminum cans, egg cartons, trash bags, glass containers, etc.

This waste is converted to fuel, energy, or electricity. this method help in preserving our natural resources like minerals, timber, etc for future consumption. it reduces pollution and the quantity of waste sent to the landfill.

Recycle. Methods of waste disposal
Recycle ( source: Tidy Bug )

Recycling is a key or major component of modern waste reduction and also is the third component of the “Reduce, Reuse and Recycle” waste hierarchy. It saves energy and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

These methods of hazardous waste disposal should be fully implemented to keep our environment and surrounding clean.

2. Landfill

This is one of the oldest and most common methods of hazardous waste disposal, it is also known as a tip, dump, rubbish dump, garbage dump, or dumping ground. it began in the 1940s. this method of hazardous waste disposal is the process of getting rid of a large quantity of garbage or rubbish by burying it, on the ground or land. A landfill is a site for dumping rubbish, garbage, or kind of hazardous waste.

Involves excavating and constructing hazardous wastes in landfills within the ground and then coating them with substances such as clay to prevent the waste from permeating the soil.

However, in many underdeveloped countries, landfills are open land where hazardous waste is pilled up. this can cause air pollution and global warming if the environment comes in contact with it.

Landfill. Methods of hazardous waste disposal
Landfill ( Source: Getty Image )

His method is mostly carried out by garbage removal services, those trucks full of garbage end up disposing of this garbage by burying them on the land. they are not designed for liquid waste but just solid waste. landfill sites consist of both household and commercial garbage.

Landfills are built, designed, operated, and supervised to ensure compliance with regulations. they are also built n such a way to prevent contamination from groundwater. it is a pit where garbage or trash is buried in layers, compacted, and covered. The capacity is planned and is selected based on an environmental risk assessment study.

Landfills are a good energy source, they are cheap, eco-friendly, and provide a place to dump hazardous materials that need to be isolated from the public.

Our environment and surrounding will be clean with properly maintained landfill amenities.

3. Underground

One of the methods of hazardous waste disposal is underground, waste such as radioactive waste, mining waste, metal-containing waste, sewage waste, etc are managed by this method. This is the process of discarding, dumping, or emission of wastes below the surface of the soil.

The underground method of hazardous waste disposal has less leaching, is protected from natural prodigy, prevents structural damage from floodwaters, resists earthquake motions, and eliminates visual impacts.

 

Underground. Methods of hazardous waste disposal
Underground ( Source: Pinterest )

 

underground methods of hazardous waste disposal safes our environment from toxic materials, it does not need long-term monitoring and is not expensive to maintain as long as the underground space is available. They are mostly seen in well-developed countries.

The underground waste disposal method is regulated by the USEPA which is covered under 40 CFR 148. some of them have been banned due to failure of not meeting the treatment standards and restrictions.

4. Plasma Gasification

These other methods of hazardous waste disposal, it is majorly used commercially to dispose of waste in processing industries and it is not commonly practiced like others.

The plasma gasification method is the process of breaking down the molecular structure of any material that contains carbon and converting them into synthesis gas that can be used to generate electric light and thermal energy.

In the plasma gasification method, there are two byproducts which are glass-like matters and syngas, which are used for producing energy.

Plasma Gasification.
Plasma Gasification ( Source: Columbia Climate School )

The plasma gasification method is also known as a new technology to produce hydrogen from municipal solid waste (MSW) as a fuel for power generation.

These a safe ways to destroy medical and other hazardous waste that causes harm to our health and environment. It is also a means of Preventing hazardous waste from reaching landfills.

5. Incineration

This is the process of destroying hazardous waste by burning the waste, some material or energy can be recovered in the process. In this process, waste is converted to ash, gas, flue, and heat.

Most times the heat generated by the incineration process can be used to generate electric power.¬†Incineration destroyed the toxic organic constituents in hazardous waste and decreases the volume of the waste when carried out effectively. Incinerators are regulated under EPA’s Clean Air Act and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).

Hazardous waste is destroyed in incinerators. Incineration does not just decrease the quantity of hazardous waste, but also generates energy from the gases that is been released in the process.

Incineration. Methods of hazardous waste disposal
Incineration ( Source: conserve Energy Future )

These very methods of hazardous waste disposal are extensive and common in the United Sate.

According to records, Incinerators reduce the solid mass of the original waste by 80 to 85 percent and the volume by 95 to 96 percent. which makes the volume of waste for disposal to decrease.

Through incineration, hazardous wastes can be safely and properly disposed of. Incinerators also help reduces the load placed on landfills and prevent dangerous materials in the waste from leaking out and polluting our environment. Incineration causes air pollution in our environment

6. Ocean Dumping

Ocean dumping is internationally defined as the deliberate disposal of hazardous waste from vessels, aircraft, trucks, or other man-made structures to the sea or ocean. For many decades, different industries have been disposing of their waste in the water. chemicals into the sea or ocean, house waste into water bodies, and it has a negative far-reaching effect on the environment.

Ocean dumping has been used as a method of hazardous waste disposal in the United States for about 80 years, and more. The law that regulates ocean dumping in the United States is the Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act of 1972. This Act, also known as the Ocean Dumping Act, banned the disposal of radiological, chemical, and biological warfare agents, high-level radioactive waste, and medical waste.

Ocean Dumping. Methods of hazardous waste disposal
Ocean Dumping (Source: Change.Org )

The Marine Protection, Research and Sanctuaries Act (MPRSA), also known as the Ocean Dumping Act, regulates the transportation and dumping of any material into ocean waters.

This method is likely to cause or bring harm to marine life if it is not regulated properly, as in the case of Minamata bay mercury poisoning and gulf of Mexico dead-zone disasters, etc. Garbage that is dumped into the ocean, reduces the oxygen in the water. This results in causing harm to the health of marine life due to low oxygen.

Animals such as seals, dolphins, penguins, sharks, whales, etc. could all perish. Plastic and microplastic can suffocate or choke sea creatures. for some years now methods have been created to monitor this process. Hazardous waste is now treated before disposing it into the waterways. to avoid contamination, deep-sea positioning of hazardous waste is sometimes used.

It is the cheapest and easiest method of hazardous waste disposal.

7. Composting

Composting is a process by which organic wastes are broken down by microorganisms such as bacteria, and fungi, into their smallest forms. The microorganisms generate energy from the carbon in the waste. it is a natural means of organic material decaying (decomposition)  and used for fertilizer to enhance or enrich the soil nutrient.

This improves the agricultural systems. it is made up of major nutrients needed by plants, which are nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. It also contains other vital elements like calcium, magnesium, iron, and zinc.

 

Composting. Methods of hazardous waste disposal
Composting ( Source: Dreamstime )

mostly these organic materials that are composted are from our kitchen waste, like vegetables, eggshells, peels, tea bags, etc. household such as; newspapers, papers, etc. Our yard waste. when all these materials are decomposed they can be used as fertilizer, mulch, potting soil, etc.

composting methods of waste disposal have a positive impact on our environment. it improves and enriches our plants, by composting kitchen waste and yard waste, waste will be not discarded at landfills and it minimizes methane in the atmosphere.

composting methods of hazardous waste disposal have low operational costs, decreased water pollution, and reduced environmental pollution. composting has been used severally to bring remedy to the soil.

What is Hazardous Waste?

in simple terms, hazardous waste is a substance that is no longer useful and needed that has features that are very dangerous to human health or the environment. Hazardous waste can cause a lot of damage to the environment if not properly discarded.

Hazardous waste also includes different physical forms, such as solids, liquids, and gases. This waste has the following features which made to be very dangerous to our environment

  • Corrosivity
  • Ignitability
  • Reactivity
  • Toxicity

EPA developed a regulatory definition and process that can identify specific substances known to be hazardous and they provide objective criteria for adding other materials to the regulated hazardous waste universe.

Types of Hazardous Waste

  1. Universal Waste: This type of waste is produced at our homes or workplaces
  2. Mixed Waste: This waste contains hazardous or radioactive components, and it is mainly produced in laboratories. Mixed wastes are divided into three sub-categories: Low-level mixed waste, intermediate-level waste, and high-level mixed waste.
  3. Chemical Waste: This waste contains dangerous chemicals. This is corrosive, toxic, or highly reactive
  4. Listed waste: This is waste produced from manufactural or industrial processing

Sources of hazardous waste

Amongst the many sources of hazardous wastes, we have:

  1. Industries
  2. Petroleum
  3. Refineries
  4. Transportation
  5. Coke-ovens
  6. Blast furnace sludges
  7. Scrubbing sludges
  8. biological waste generating laboratories
  9. Thermal and nuclear power plants and nuclear reactors

Examples of Hazardous waste

  • Mercury
  • thermometers
  • switches
  • fluorescent lighting, etc.
  • Pesticides
  • Chemical waste
  • Toxic waste
  • Corrosive substance
  • Medical waste
  • Waste oil
  • Sharps waste
  • Electronic waste
  • Industrial waste
  • Mixed waste
  • Construction waste
  • Mercury
  • Radioactive

Conclusion

In this article, we were able to cover Methods of hazardous waste disposal and we were able to talk about seven (7) methods precisely. These methods of hazardous waste disposal have positive and negative impacts on our environment and surrounding, which we have discussed in these articles. If these methods of hazardous waste disposal are not properly monitored by various agencies, they might end up destroying the environment. But if they are properly implemented, monitored, and regulated. Our environment will be kept clean and it will be convenient for us.

Methods of Hazardous Waste Disposal – FAQ

what is the best way to manage hazardous wastes?

The best way to manage hazardous wastes is by implementing the following methods of hazardous waste disposal we listed below: Recycling Landfill Underground Plasma Gasification Incineration Ocean Dumping

What is hazardous waste disposal?

Hazardous waste disposal is the way of properly discarding waste products that have been categorized or classified as hazardous waste, through the recognized regulatory agency. This waste is harmful and dangerous to the environment and health.

Effects of hazardous waste disposal on the environment?

Hazardous waste disposal has a tremendous effect on our environment It causes a mutation in animals, cancer and other diseases in humans, trash in our waterways and green spaces, and the destruction of many natural resources. Populations of insects such as bees, which are essential to preserving the fertility of plant life, are being eliminated faster than they can repopulate due to human pollution.

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Precious Okafor is a digital marketer and online entrepreneur that got into the online space in 2017 and since then have developed skills in content creation, copywriting and online marketing. He is also a Green activist and hence his role in publishing articles for EnvironmentGo

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