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Yuck! Four nasty things REACT is commonly called out to eradicate

Updated: 3 days ago

Photo from a clean up job with a ruined sofa and flat

In our line of work, we unfortunately have to clear up some really rather unsavoury items. Fortunately, we’re licenced to do so….

Being an extreme cleaning specialist that goes beyond the everyday, we regularly tackle jobs that other companies don’t want to go near. As such, we often encounter less salubrious items which require careful and controlled disposal. Here are a few of the yucky things we remove and how we do it, to ensure public safety. Look away if you’re squeamish! 

1. Human bodily fluids

There isn’t a pretty way of saying this, but no site is exempt from this issue - whether it’s a sewage leak from a burst pipe or manhole, bottles of urine inconsiderately thrown from the window of a moving vehicle or the grim reality of human faeces left in commercial or residential properties. Not a nice thought.

The impact: Obviously, human waste presents a serious health and safety issue, not to mention a detrimental impact on a business’s reputation, should the public be confronted with it. Therefore, it’s important for owners to arrange for disposal as soon as possible. 

Disposal: To minimise the environmental effects of any biohazard, we provide a nationwide 4-hour emergency response. We use a variety of techniques, as is appropriate for the situation and location, including pressure-washing external areas, wet extraction cleaning or low-moisture dry cleaning. This ensures that regardless of severity, areas are left clean, decontaminated and hazard-free.

2. Sharps and needles

It’s a terrifying thought that needles and other sharp objects could be strewn about parks, residential areas, car parks and in/around construction sites, but it poses a very real threat to health, and the risk of accidental contact is higher than anyone would wish. Drug paraphernalia and razor blades are usually hard to spot, hidden behind or within other waste items.

The impact: Clearly there’s a severe risk of injury and/or contamination should anyone have the misfortune to so much as graze themselves on an item, and the danger to youngsters means its vital any finds are reported straight away.

Disposal: Wearing full and suitable PPE and workwear (including stab-proof gloves, trousers and safety footwear), REACT’s operatives carry out needle sweeps to identify all sharps and/or needles in the affected area, then remove using pickers and place safely out of harm’s way into dedicated sharps receptacles to be destroyed.

Aerosol cans and needles from a house clean up

3. Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs)

POPs are banned toxic compounds which break down slowly and persist in the environment, impacting human health and ecosystems. The most commonly encountered POPs are pesticides (such as DDT) and industrial chemicals. However, they also occur in waste upholstered domestic seating; present in older furniture in the form of a flame retardant chemical, decabromodiphenyl ether, which hasn’t been used since 2019. We find such waste fly-tipped in service stations, along roads and motorways, in parks and beyond. 

The impact: As POPs take a long time to decompose, they can travel far and wide and enter the food chain, passed from species to species (some fish are now classed unsafe to eat due to the levels of POPs that they contain). Some of these toxins have been directly linked with diseases affecting humans and wildlife.

Disposal: There are strict rules pertaining to the disposal of POPs. Our trained teams safely remove contaminated items utilising the correct manual handling processes, for disposal separately from other waste. REACT holds an Environment Agency Upper Tier Waste Carrier Licence, which allows us to remove and dispose of waste streams for which others aren’t permitted.


No, not that (we covered bodily fluids at the start)! In this case, WEEE stands for Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment - in other words, electrical and electronic goods that are being thrown away or fly-tipped - and there are plenty of them. We find all sorts: drills, saws, sewing machines, lawnmowers, toys, leisure and sports equipment, trains, games consoles and running machines. We have even encountered dialysis machines, analysers, medical freezers and cardiology equipment. 

The impact: aside from the unsightly mess and damage to land where any waste has been tipped, it’s also hugely detrimental to the environment as most electrical items ooze nasty chemicals as they degrade. 

Disposal: The only way to legally and safely remove WEEE is for it to be transported to an Approved Authorised Treatment Facility (AATF) by a licenced carrier (us again!), in order that it can be properly dismantled and where possible, reused/recycled, which is far better for the planet.

This is just the proverbial tip of the iceberg when it comes to the wide array of items we are called upon to remove. Whether it’s antisocial behaviour that’s to blame or the unintended by-product of something designed to make our lives better, there will always be dangerous waste products that require disposal by qualified experts. 

Customers rely on us to tackle the job professionally, safely and quickly so if any of these issues sound uncomfortably familiar, don’t be embarrassed, give us a call or get in touch to talk through your requirements. As we operate 24/7/365, the team can be on site fast and the mess cleared in no time.


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