How hazardous waste removal protects the public and environment

REACT offers a high-quality hazardous waste removal service in a variety of settings, both as part of regular contracts and in emergencies.


We’re all more aware of waste than we used to be, and as householders, we’re encouraged to recycle where we can. This forms part of the Six R’s approach to sustainability (Rethink, Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Repair). It’s essential to consider this, given that the UK produced an estimated 221 million tonnes of waste in 2020 (https://metrowaste.co.uk/tonnes-of-waste-each-year-uk/). But for some waste, following the Six R’s approach isn’t so easy. Hazardous waste must be dealt with more carefully than, say, a plastic drinks bottle or last month’s magazine. It requires specialist handling, and there’s a range of different methods of treating it. Here at REACT, we offer a hazardous waste removal service, and, in this blog, we run through some scenarios where this comes into its own.


Getting to grips with hazardous waste removal

Waste is considered 'hazardous' under environmental legislation when it contains substances or has properties that might make it harmful to human health or the environment. Hazardous waste does not necessarily represent an immediate risk to human health, although some waste can. For instance, a spillage of solvents could be a direct threat to the respiratory systems of people nearby.


In the UK, the Environment Agency's interpretation of how to define and classify hazardous waste can be found in their technical guidance (https://www.gov.uk/dispose-hazardous-waste). The law tightened in 2005, when the Waste Acceptance Criteria (WAC) came into force. Waste producers are now required to ensure that their waste meets the WAC. One of the most important elements was that co-disposal of hazardous waste with non-hazardous waste at the same landfill site was prohibited. Basic characterisation of waste at an early stage is essential, to avoid mixing hazardous waste in with waste destined for non-specialist landfill sites.


According to latest available government figures for England from DEFRA, the country produced 4.6 million tonnes of hazardous waste in 2016 (up from 4.3 million in 2014). There are 23 dedicated landfill sites for hazardous waste across the country. Encouragingly, though, only about 15% of the total is destined for landfill, and this has trended downwards in recent years. The vast majority of hazardous waste is either recovered, treated, or incinerated. (https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/642373/Waste_management_2016_summary.pdf)



A licensed waste carrier to protect the public from harm

REACT Specialist Cleaning is an upper-tier licensed waste carrier. This means we’re licensed to carry waste from whatever source it comes. Removing waste is often part of our regular cleaning contracts. Our waste removal services cover the full range of materials, from waste that is going to landfill or can be recycled, through to hazardous and biohazardous waste.


When it comes to hazardous waste removal, there are many scenarios where our services are critical. In hospitals and other healthcare settings, we can collect and properly dispose of clinical waste. We can handle industrial waste from void commercial properties. And we can respond to emergencies, where the public is exposed to hazardous materials representing an immediate risk to health. These situations require the fastest levels of response and competency. We provide a specialist response within 2 hours, 24/7 to make the impacted areas safe in the shortest possible time. We’ll liaise with the emergency services and government bodies, using the right PPE, advanced cleaning materials and technology to resolve the situation and protect the public.


Our broader responsibility to the environment

What’s more, we‘ve got our eyes on the bigger goals of protecting the environment. We’re proud to hold ISO 14001, Environmental Management. This kitemark is the international standard that specifies requirements for an effective environmental management system (EMS). As a holder of ISO 14001, we continuously work to improve our own environmental performance through more efficient use of resources and reduction of waste.


We’ve developed an environmental policy that reflects our commitments. We’ve identified how our organisation interacts with the environment, and the actual and potential environmental impacts of our work. We’ve identified environmental compliance requirements, and established environmental objectives, targets and programmes. We monitor and measure our progress to achieve these objectives, and regularly review our environmental performance. And whether it’s a standard part of our contract with you, or an emergency, our hazardous waste removal service keeps you and your surroundings properly protected.


To find out more about hazardous waste removal from REACT Specialist Cleaning, contact one of the team today.