Author: p1ws

“Cradle-to-Grave” Hazardous Waste: 6 Responsibilities to Understand When Shipping Dangerous Goods

Cradle-to-grave hazardous waste management is a comprehensive regulatory program established by the EPA under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). The RCRA is a public law passed in 1976 that continues to provide a framework to manage hazardous and non-hazardous solid waste in the U.S properly. The law also pertains to dangerous goods—those hazardous materials or substances capable of posing an unreasonable risk to the health and safety of people, places, and the environment when transported in commerce. 

Understanding the EPA’s “Cradle-to-Grave” Program

The EPA’s “cradle-to-grave” program aims to ensure that, during the life cycle of hazardous waste, it is safely handled and managed from the time it is created or generated until it is either permanently stored or disposed of.  

As its name implies, hazardous wastes are material wastes that hold dangerous properties harmful to humans or the environment. They are primarily generated through industrial and manufacturing activities, energy production, chemical production, or medical and research processes. They are generally in the form of liquids, solids, contained gases, or sludges. 

By law, those who generate hazardous waste and dangerous goods are legally responsible for managing it safely from “cradle-to-grave,” i.e., it must be safely managed from its origin to its treatment, disposal, or storage. A key component of the law also includes shipping and transporting hazardous wastes and dangerous goods safely. In other words, companies, businesses, agencies, and institutions that create the waste are responsible for its safe transportation from where it was created to a designated site where it can be safely treated. 

Because the transportation of hazardous wastes and dangerous goods is moved over public highways, roads, rails, and waterways, regulations for transport are under the jurisdiction of multiple federal, state, and local agencies. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) is the primary regulatory authority for hazardous waste. Though the DOT and the EPA work in conjunction with each other, the EPA defers to the DOT to avoid discrepancies and redundant regulations. OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) also has a limited role in regulating hazardous waste that covers emergency response personnel responding to the incident. Additionally, hazardous waste transporters must also follow state and local regulations.

6 Responsibilities of Hazardous Waste Generators

Transporting hazardous waste is as much a matter of compliance as it is a responsibility. To understand the shipping component in the “cradle-to-grave” management of the material, here are 6 responsibilities that every generator must understand when shipping hazardous waste and dangerous goods from their facility: 

1. Generators are liable and legally responsible for correctly packaging and labeling hazardous materials and generating the necessary documentation for shipping the material.

2. Generators must know the hazard classification for hazardous material and goods they are shipping, along with the regulations governing their shipment.

3. A shipper’s declaration must detail the exact contents of the shipment, its specific hazard classification, how the material is packed and labeled, and by whom.

4. Labeling requirements must be adhered to when transporting hazardous material. The appropriate HAZMAT placards and stickers should be placed where they can be easily read on cartons, drums, crates, shipping containers, vehicles, and trailers.

5. Transportation of hazardous waste and dangerous goods in commerce must be done by licensed, certified personnel registered conformance with DOT regulations. 

6. Hazardous waste transporters must obtain an EPA ID number and comply with EPA’s hazardous waste manifest system to track the hazardous waste shipment from the generator facility to the off-site waste management facility.

Cradle-to-grave hazardous waste management is a regulatory and legal responsibility for all generators of hazardous goods. Integral to the process is the off-site transportation of hazardous waste to a designated facility for treatment, storage, or disposal. Companies and institutions are best served by partnering with a hazardous waste removal service to reduce the liability and risk factors associated with transporting hazardous waste. One that can ensure that you, as a generator of hazardous wastes, remain in compliance with laws and regulations that govern the safe transportation of your hazardous material to a designated facility. 

Contact the Hazardous Waste Management Experts at MLI Environmental 

MLI Environmental offers a range of expertise in hazardous waste management and removal services for generators. Our services include consulting, material identification, packaging, shipping, and transporting hazardous materials for companies and institutions large and small. Our professionally trained and certified personnel classify and identify all hazards associated with your goods according to DOT and EPA regulations, and generate appropriate documentation, placards, and labels to ensure compliance. We are a leader in shipping and transporting all hazardous wastes, materials, and dangerous goods. To ensure that your hazardous wastes are shipped in compliance with the law, consider partnering with MLI Environmental, a proven leader in hazardous waste management and removal services.

Hazardous Waste Q&A: What is Toxic Waste?

What is toxic waste? The answer is not as obvious as it may seem at first thought. The terms “toxic waste” and “hazardous waste” are frequently used interchangeably to define waste material that poses a threat to public health and the environment, which is true to a large extent. Either type of waste material does indeed pose a threat. Yet, for local, state, and federal regulatory agencies, there is a difference between the two. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines toxic and hazardous waste as not necessarily the same.


A Guide to Low-Level Radioactive Waste

If your facility, company, or institution generates low-level radioactive waste, it must be disposed of properly by law. Low-level radioactive waste is considered any type of material directly contaminated through contact with neutron radiation in small concentrations. It may also include any type of low-level material exposure to neutron radiation. Informally designated by the EPA as Low-Level Radioactive Wastes (LLRW), the classification is considered more a concept than a set definition. Degrees of radioactivity can range from low background levels that occur in nature to the highly contaminated radioactive material found inside the reactors of nuclear power plants or that produced from uranium or thorium mill tailings.


How to Choose a Hazardous Waste Disposal Company

A hazardous waste disposal company provides necessary, if not vital, services for businesses, companies, and institutions that generate hazardous waste streams. Finding the “right” disposal company cannot be understated. For starters, regulations and protocols that govern the management of hazardous waste are numerous and often present many challenges for generators. Staying compliant in an ever-evolving regulatory environment requires expertise. Ultimately, the responsibility is on you, the generator—by law, companies that generate hazardous waste have a cradle to grave responsibility for its proper disposal.


Hazardous Waste Materials Guide: Flammable Liquids

Flammable liquids classification is defined as a Class 3 hazardous material. As one of 9 such hazardous material classifications by the EPA, flammable liquids and combustible liquids are also regulated by the DOT during transportation and OSHA where workplace safety matters. If your company, business, institution, or facility is handling a Class 3 hazardous material its storage and disposal are subject to cradle-to-grave management. There is a good reason. Flammable liquids and combustible liquids, sometimes referred to as pyrophoric liquids, are capable of posing serious threats at any time, given the circumstances, due to their volatility and potential to cause severe conflagrations and explosions. (more…)

5 Important Requirements for Hazardous Waste Drum Shipping Labels

A hazardous waste label is an important step when preparing a drum of harmful or dangerous goods for transportation. The specific intent of all hazardous waste labels is intended to communicate the specific hazards that the packaging may pose. The markings on the label ensure that the material is handled properly to prevent accidents, spills, or exposure and for the handlers to know what to do in such an occurrence. Correct hazardous waste labels provide detailed information that is vital, if not critical, to make certain the safety of those handling and transporting the drums is ensured. (more…)

Hazardous Waste Materials Guide: Oxidizers

Common oxidizers, as examples of Class 5 hazardous materials, are composed of any solids, liquids, or gasses that react with most organic material or reducing agents that promote combustion in other materials. Though not necessarily combustible, oxidizers can increase the flammable range of chemicals to ignite more easily or intensify the chemical reaction between substances to cause a combustible reaction. Thus, common oxidizers are those substances that oxidize other substances and, through such a reaction, pose a severe fire hazard. (more…)

How to Determine Your Hazardous Waste Generator Status

For any business, industry or institution that produces hazardous waste, your hazardous waste generator status will be determined by the amount of waste you may accumulate at your facility or site at one time. Because all companies and institutions produce waste in one form or another, the first step in determining your status as a hazardous waste generator is to identify if the wastes generated at your facility are hazardous.


Hazardous Waste Materials Guide: Corrosive Liquids

In the pantheon of hazardous waste materials, Class 8 corrosive liquids and corrosive waste stand out from other hazardous materials because of one significant characteristic property—Class 8 corrosive materials are those that cause full thickness destruction of human skin at the point of contact within a specific time period. If they leak during transportation they will cause material damage or even destroy other goods they contact during transport. In other words, Class 8 materials are extremely dangerous, with a potential for destruction, and must be handled with caution and sensitivity. (more…)

Hazardous Waste Manifest: What You Should Know

The hazardous waste manifest system was designed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to track the transit of hazardous waste from generator facilities where it was produced to off-site waste management facilities that can store, treat or dispose of the waste. Though the hazardous waste manifest is not unlike any other manifest that lists the contents of a particular cargo, the EPA’s Uniform Hazardous Waste Manifest is a key component of the hazardous waste tracking system. In that regard, a manifest is a form required by EPA and the U.S. Department of Transportation anytime hazardous waste is transported or offered for transport off-site to a receiving facility. (more…)