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Hazardous Waste ....

(Asbestos to Medicines)

... never underestimate the dangers

The items listed here include Asbestos, Batteries, CFCs (Chlorofluorocarbons) and HCFCs, Computers, Cathode Ray Tubes, Fluorescent Lamps, Garden Chemicals and Medicines.
The careful disposal of hazardous materials is a public responsibility to prevent damage to man and animals. Often, the waste can be put to beneficial use by suitably qualified organisations.
Managers have a duty to ensure that workplace hazardous wastes are correctly identified at each stage of production and appropriate measures are taken to protect the health of employees and contractors who transport or dispose of waste. These provisions are built into the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH) 1999 (SI 1999 No. 437).

To know more about the definitions of Waste, Hazardous Waste and Difficult Waste, click here Definitions of Waste.
Some items in this section are more accurately described as Difficult Waste.

Rusty Nuts and Bolts Old Style Steam Railway Pullman Dining Car in Staffs
Rusty Nuts and Bolts (© Martin ) Steam Railway Dining Car in Staffs
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What is BPEO? We'd call it a pragmatic compromise.

BPEO stands for the Best Practicable Environmental Option and provides guidance for waste disposal policymakers to control the best balance of measures. One factor is to balance and minimise contamination of the environment as a whole ie air, water and land (eg removing pollution from the air might cause more detrimental pollution of land or water). Other factors include doing it at an acceptable cost and aiming to achieve results which are are effective in the long term as well as the short term.

 Successful Residents Campaign against McDonalds The photograph on the left shows an active residents' campaign opposing the proposed, invasive development of a McDonalds' fast food outlet in the village of Hinchley Wood, Surrey. This would have caused an influx of traffic from the nearby A3 with the usual environmental problems, such as litter, noise and other pollutions. The campaign was successful and the pub was eventually replaced by residential accommodation instead. Click the picture for more detail.

General Hazardous Waste Services
  Able UK Ltd is a multi role and versatile organisation built on total reliability and respect for the environment. They provide a BEOP service (see above) and are major specialists in the rehabilitation and development of disused sites, facilities and structures. They specialise in decommissioning oil and gas platforms, ship recycling, urban renewal, regenerating new from old, removing the problems of contamination and dereliction.
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    Celtic Recycling Limited is a UK specialist in the comprehensive recovery and recycling of end of life heavy electrical equipment as well as hazardous waste treatment and disposal, including PCB, SF6 Gas and Oil recycling.
    The DEFRA Web site gives useful information about hazardous waste, including: What is Hazardous Waste? Hazardous Waste Directive and Hazardous/Special Waste Regulations, International shipments of waste and Hazardous Waste Exports and further information on Clinical waste, Fridges and UK Waste Oils Market.
    Enviroco is a UK hazardous waste management company, specialising in hazardous waste collection and disposal, industrial cleaning, petrochemical, offshore and marine services, total waste management services, recycling solutions, container supply, training and advice on best practice.
    Envirogreen Special Waste Services specialises in environmentally friendly and cost effective disposal of pesticides, lab and industrial chemicals, spillage waste, oil, batteries, fluorescent tubes and contaminated materials. They claim to offer a professional service for large or small jobs.
HazSafe provide an environmentally friendly, cost effective service to dispose of industrial chemicals, laboratory chemicals, pesticides, spillage waste, oil, batteries, fluorescent tubes and most other contaminated waste, across the UK.
    Labwaste Ltd are specialists in the disposal of Laboratory Wastes including the disposal of Chemical, Clinical, Microbiological, Pharmaceutical, and Sharps Wastes. They offer collection for recycling of sensitive materials.
    Organics Ltd in Coventry, UK, designs, manufactures and installs environmental protection systems. It specialises in landfill gas utilisation, collection and safe disposal, also leachate collection and treatment. It aims to build systems to control and minimise pollution, to develop and employ renewable energy technologies and to construct facilities for recycling.
    Veolia Environmental Services, provides a wide range of waste management services covering the complete spectrum from advice on best practice to the handling and disposal of hazardous wastes. They provide waste management solutions for a range of difficult wastes, including Automotive, Electronics, Batteries, Fluorescent tubes, Chemical wastes in drums, recognising the need to increase the recycling of waste materials.
    WasteCare offer a recycling and waste management service that enables waste producers from all industrial and business sectors to manage and report their waste, from collection to recovery regardless of the type, volume or location.


Asbestos is dangerous? That's an understatement!
According to Marie-Claire Kidd (Society Guardian, 28 Sept. 2005) asbestos is the UK's biggest work-related killer. The H&SE estimate that each year in the UK, more than 3,500 people die from mesothelioma. Worse, the TUC reckon that by 2020, the number will rise to 10,000 because of the long time between exposure and development of the disease.
Please click on this button for more information Dangers of asbestos.
A few links to firms specialising in the handling of asbestos and other hazardous materials are given below:

    Adams Environmental Ltd are independent consultants specialising in Asbestos, hazardous materials and health and safety. They are based in Sutton, Surrey. For more information click the silver ball.
  Alab Environmental Services Ltd, is a waste management organisation built on reliability and respect for the environment. They provide a BPEO service (see above) having developed the Seaton Meadows (Hartlepool) landfill site and also a hazardous waste treatment plant at the same facility.
    ALcontrol UK Ltd, one of largest asbestos consultancies in the UK, aim to give an efficient service at a realistic price.

Aptiva provide solutions to environmental issues and compliance with legislation with accredited services for asbestos surveying, treatment and removal, thermal insulation, fire protection, ductwork installation and cleaning and water testing across the South of England.

    ARCA (Asbestos Removal Contractors Association) is an association of specialist contractors committed to safe removal of asbestos etc.
    The Environmental Services Association is a trade association for firms providing waste management and related environmental services.
    The government's HSE document on Disposal of Asbestos Waste describes good practice when you need dispose of asbestos waste and provides information to help employers and the self-employed to comply with the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006.
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Orange flower in Puerto Rey Spain

There have been recent advances in battery technology, using nickel metal hydride, lithium and lithium-ion, providing consumers with many benefits and conveniences. Among the plethora of types, some contain dangerous heavy metals, namely lead, cadmium and mercury which pose serious health hazards. If you would like to know more about batteries in general, possible health hazards and the state of recycling facilities, see our Reference page on Electric Batteries and Cells.
We had expected the British Battery Manufacturers Association to provide us with information that would allow easy recycling (having been active in setting up REBAT which purports to be interested in recycling and sets targets) but sadly we were not impressed; decide for yourself, pay a visit. Also see some of the links under General Hazardous Waste Services above. is a site with some unusual information on batteries and they have suggestions as to how you can recycle your old ones. They also suggest how you can recycle those old radioactive smoke alarms.
    The Battery University is the best site we have found to deal with many aspects of batteries, including recycling (but not in the UK).
    The British Battery Manufacturers Association (BBMA) was formed in 1986 and represents the manufacturers of portable batteries, both primary (non-rechargeable) and secondary (rechargeable).
G & P Batteries state they are the UK’s leading waste battery collection and battery recycling specialist, offering a prompt, reliable, cost effective service for the collection and compliant recycling of every kind of battery or battery powered appliance used in the UK including stand-by and back-up batteries.
REBAT UK, an approved Battery Compliance Scheme since Sept 2009, operating under the Environment Agency, is concerned with environmentally sound collection and recycling of portable, industrial, and automotive waste batteries and accumulators in the UK.
RecycleNow gives info about battery recycling and by entering your postcode you can find out the nearest recycling point or kerbside service.
WRAP provides info on battery recycling, WRAP's batteries program, facts and figures, market research and Q&As.
  For our summary of battery types see our Reference page on Electric Batteries and Cells.
These are chlorofluorocarbons (maybe with hydrogen), used as propellants and in the compression units of refrigerators. When released they pose a serious danger to the environment. Click here to understand why CFCs and HCFCs: Information.
    Fridges and Freezers contain dangerous CFC gases that damage the ozone layer. In most areas, old fridges/freezers can be taken to Household Waste and Recycling Centres. From here they should be away for degassing, where the coolant gases (CFCs) are removed and stored by a specialist for recycling. Some fridges/freezers can be re-used or some materials recycled. Also see how you can dispose of 'white goods' on our Electricals Page.
    The British Refrigeration Association (BRA) is a trade association representing manufacturers, importers, wholesalers, distributors, contractors, specifiers and end-users of refrigeration plant, equipment and components, including producers of refrigerants and lubricants, colleges and training establishments. It works closely with government, public bodies and other organisations.
    The Waste Watch Wasteline is an information service, giving people advice on where and what they can recycle and providing ideas for reducing and re-using waste.
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Computers and CRTs
Computer monitors and some other components could be described as difficult or hazardous waste. Do not throw them away; recycling is probably the best option. For details of how to recycle computers and some of the peripherals, go to the Home page and select the section on Computers.
Cathode ray tubes (CRTs), e.g. monitors and televisions, are difficult to recycle as they contain hazardous materials; this could potentially become a problem (similar to that with fridges and freezers), especially since the Hazardous Waste Regulations and WEEE have been implemented. There are few disposal facilities able to accept CRT waste.
CRT Recycling Ltd specialises in the recycling and marketing of glass from cathode ray tubes. They also carry out research and development into the technologies and markets for recycling of old CRTs and of marketing the processed glass.
S2S Lifecycle Services provide services from decommissioning of IT equipment, refurbishment, re-sale, end of life recycling, secure data destruction and WEEE services; equipment includes: computers, monitors, mobiles, telecoms, UPS, medical, games & vending machines.
Yorwaste Ltd provides a wide variety of recycling and waste management solutions and has a CRT Recycling facility.
Fluorescent and Sodium Lamps   Some council waste disposal sites now offer you the facility to dispose of your discarded fluorescent tubes; our local site does, for example.
Also see some of the links under General Hazardous Waste Services above.
Balcan state they are one of the UK's largest lamp recyclers. They also offer their one stop lamp recycling plant, capable of recycling all types of lamps and bulbs. With its ability to accept crushed, whole and mixed lamps it produces some of the cleanest glass available from this type of plant.
Enlightened Lamp Recycling Ltd specialise in lamp recycling; they primarily recycle spent fluorescent lights and tubes but also deal with a wide range of waste materials that contain mercury.
    Greener World collects fluorescent tubes and bulbs as well as waste paper, glass, drink cans, electrical equipment, from offices, hotels and restaurants in the London area, basing their service around your needs.

Mercury Recycling Ltd reveals that each year, in the UK, 80,000,000 fluorescent light are sent to landfill sites despite the fact that they contain pernicious mercury. Recycling is the only satisfactory option at the end of life. To learn more, visit their site or read our summary.

    Office Green provide a complete recycling service for fluorescent tubes. They provide safe storage containers, collect by a licensed carrier, process tubes, distil liquid mercury, dispatch by-products to other industries for use as raw materials or for further recycling and to provide a full audit trail.
Garden Chemicals
Duck with Ducklings: Click to enlarge
Unused herbicides, pesticides and other garden chemicals must not be put into ordinary waste or into drains. Water seeps through landfills and drains flow untreated into rivers etc; toxic waste ends up in the water table. It is best to buy only what you need and to use what you buy. If you find, nevertheless, that you have unwanted garden chemicals take them to your local council site and ask to dispose of them in the toxic waste container.
If you have large quantities to dispose of it may be worth contacting the Chemical & Oil Recycling Association, see below.
    Certified Organics (Australia) produce a range of potent organic products, designed specifically to have a beneficial effect on people and the environment. The range includes weed, mould and lichen controls, claimed to be effective and safer for your family, pets and the environment.
    National Household Hazardous Waste Forum (NHHWF) gives info on the Garden Chemicals Campaign Guide, a free on-line resource to help local authorities plan and implement local campaigns for the safe use, storage and disposal of garden chemicals and regulation of garden chemicals.
Medicines are dangerous if not taken as prescribed, especially if they are accessible to youngsters. They deteriorate with age, so surplus medicines should be disposed of safely and not thrown away with the normal refuse.
We suggest trying your local pharmacy who may accept medicines for safe disposal and they may also accept empty medicine containers.

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Page originated: 21 July, 2001  Last amended: 7 May, 2013
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