What Is the Difference Between Hazardous and Biohazardous Waste?

Hazardous vs Biohazardous Waste

Different types of waste are regulated to protect us and the environment from exposure to them. Hazardous and biohazardous materials can put people, animals, and the environment at risk. You have to determine what kind of waste you’re dealing with and how to store and dispose of it properly. There are specific protocols and regulations for how to handle different types of waste. 

What Is Hazardous Waste?

Hazardous waste is material that shouldn’t be mixed with the rubbish that’s going to the landfill. These types of waste have characteristics that make them too dangerous to be mixed in with other trash. When you need to get rid of something explosive, reactive, or flammable it is considered hazardous waste. Poisons and other toxic materials must be handled carefully to mitigate the risk of harming people and our planet. Exposure to hazardous materials can cause difficulty breathing, skin and eye irritation, and other ailments.

Examples of Hazardous Waste

  • Metals that can rust and corrosives
  • Fluorescent light bulbs
  • Pesticides, herbicides
  • Chemicals and paints
  • Batteries with mercury
  • Industrial by-product
  • Poisons and medications 

Proper Storage and Disposal of Hazardous Waste

You must think about the properties of the material you plan to dispose of. If it is flammable or ignitable, corrosive, reactive, or toxic it is considered hazardous. These types of waste should be kept in a waterproof container that seals tightly. Label containers with the type of waste inside. The container has to be able to safely withstand storage, collection, and transport. No more than five gallons of hazardous waste should be accumulated at a time. It should be collected and properly disposed of by a registered, authorized waste carrier regularly. 

What Is Biohazardous Waste?

Biohazardous waste can be infectious. It is usually medical waste and could be contaminated with potentially harmful blood or body fluids. These types of waste are something that hospitals and labs deal with daily. Facilities have to be very careful with handling and disposal of biohazardous materials to protect their employees and the public. Any material that could cause infection is considered biohazardous and has the potential to spread disease. 

Examples of Biohazardous Waste?

  • Pathological waste contaminated with human body fluids like blood, saliva
  • Needles from injections
  • Animal waste
  • Lab waste like specimens, blood vials, and culture dishes
  • Mortuary waste

Proper Storage and Disposal of Biohazardous Waste

Biohazardous waste is segregated from other types of waste and is labeled according to type. It should be stored in sealed, waterproof containers that can withstand storage and transport until time for disposal. It should not be stored for more than seven days. If the facility generates fewer than twenty pounds of biohazardous waste in a month, it can be stored for up to thirty days before disposal. 

Segregating hazardous and biohazardous wastes from your regular trash flow is important. Each of these wastes can be harmful if not stored in separate streams and disposed of properly. Learn to identify and distinguish between hazardous and biohazardous materials. Be sure to label and keep track of everything. Disposal of these types of waste is regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency as well. It’s best to schedule pick up with a professional hazardous waste disposal company and keep track of your records.

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