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A quick introduction to chemical waste management

REMONDIS Integrated and Managed Services // 5 October 2021


Chemical waste is any waste that potentially harms people, property or environment


Safe storage and transport of all chemical waste types is classified under regulatory sanctions


Different chemicals comprise different properties which require varying disposal methods


What is chemical waste?

Chemical waste refers to any solid or liquid waste that has the potential to harm people, property and the environment. This includes contaminated and non-contaminated items.

We use chemicals every day that we consider to be safe – such as washing detergent. However, these chemicals can cause serious harm if disposed incorrectly. Washing detergent may be safe to wash your dishes with but could have devastating consequences for marine organisms if it enters the waterway.

Similarly, if a flammable chemical such as methylated spirits is placed with general waste, this drastically increases the risk of spontaneous combustion in a garbage truck.

The Australian Dangerous Goods Code

Chemical waste is governed by classification, transportation and disposal regulations.

It's important that our customers are aware of the risks associated with any chemical waste generated on your sites and whether or not the material falls under the Australian Dangerous Goods (ADG) Code.

The ADG Code outlines the packaging, storage and transport requirements associated with your chemical waste. Everyone handling chemical waste should be familiar with this information to ensure they are handling the chemical safely.

All sites should understand these regulatory requirements as they have a responsibility to ensure the safe storage and transport of chemicals under their control or passing on to other organisations to handle.

Hazardous chemicals not stored, transported, or packaged correctly can result in contamination, fires, spills, gas release and toxic exposure. This could be disastrous and costly.

Classification of chemical waste

All chemicals are classified into nine classes of dangerous goods. Each class is identified by a diamond label containing a short description of what the substance is and its associated risks.

  • Explosives
  • Gas
  • Flammable Liquids
  • Flammable Solids
  • Oxidising Substances
  • Toxic / Infectious
  • Radioactive
  • Corrosive
  • Other Hazardous

Depending on its properties, each type of dangerous good is assigned a number known as a United Nations (UN) number. For example, petrol is UN 1203. The UN number should be listed on the label, transport document, or Safety Data Sheets (SDS).

Booking chemical waste collections

When booking a waste chemical collection, you should provide a detailed manifest of the materials to be collected, including size and quantity of containers, how full the containers are, how the chemicals are packaged, if any items are classified as DG and have Safety Data Sheets (SDS).

An SDS details the potential health/environmental risks associated with the substance being handled and will also identify if the material falls under the Australian Dangerous Goods (ADG) Code.

Photos are another great way to help us understand the condition of your chemical waste. If containers are leaking, let us know so that we can arrange over packs or bundled pallets to contain any spillage.

Secure chemicals to a pallet and ensure the pallet is in good condition.

Lastly, don't forget to provide a copy of the manifest to the driver when he arrives.

Disposing chemicals

Given the varying properties of different chemicals, there are many options for chemical disposal:

  • Chemical fixation regeneration
  • Bioremediation
  • Alternative fuels
  • Incineration

Chemical waste: best practice for customers

  • Store chemical waste safely, according to regulatory requirements
  • Have the Safety Data Sheet readily available
  • Follow the steps provided when booking a chemical collection
  • Ensure chemicals are suitably packaged for transport

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