Regulations around hazardous waste are aimed at reducing the amount of harmful substances sent to landfill for the sake of the environment. They are equally aimed at safeguarding the good health of waste handlers and human health in general by restricting exposure to these substances. Consideration has been given to the immediate effect of this waste, as well as the long-term consequences.

What is hazardous waste?

Hazardous waste is any waste which could cause harm to human health or the environment. This harm could be caused by the waste itself or the substances within it. Some examples of hazardous waste include:

  • Asbestos
  • Aerosols
  • Fluorescent tubes
  • Paint
  • Chemicals
  • Batteries
  • Solvents
  • Motor oil
  • Fridges
  • Hazardous waste containers

Want to know more about electronic waste and your business’s responsibilities? Read more about e-waste.

What does the law say about hazardous waste?

Business waste law: your duty of care

Generally speaking, businesses have a duty of care around their commercial waste under which they are required to prevent, re-use, recycle, and recover waste wherever possible. They are also required to store and dispose of waste responsibly.

Who does hazardous waste law apply to?

If you create, produce, or store hazardous waste, you have certain responsibilities to meet. If you have hazardous waste removed from your premises, you will also be bound by regulation. There are additional requirements for anyone who transports hazardous waste – or if you are responsible for its treatment and disposal.

How to dispose of hazardous waste: the hazardous waste management process

Classify your waste

Do you know whether the waste you produce and store is hazardous or not? To remain ignorant on this is to take a gamble with non-compliance. Find out whether your waste is hazardous or not and strategise your business waste management around this classification.

Separate your waste

Sending hazardous waste to landfill with non-hazardous waste into landfill is prohibited. Separate your waste to avoid contaminating your general waste, which may require special handling for disposal.

Store your business waste safely

  • It is very important that hazardous waste is clearly marked and labelled as such. This is for the safety of employees and customers on your business premises.
  • You also need to ensure that hazardous waste is stored in a secure container which does not leak or spill. Store liquids separately and in their own special containers to prevent spillage and contamination.
  • Make sure that these hazardous waste containers are kept in good repair. Dispose of these containers responsibly and replace them as soon as gauged necessary.
  • Keep a hazardous waste inventory. Should you have an emergency situation around your hazardous waste, this could prove invaluable to the emergency waste management team in quickly determining the best course of action.

Get your waste collected by a reputable company

Your duty of care around your business waste doesn’t end when the collection van drives away. It is your responsibility to ensure that the waste management company you work with is registered and has the requisite permits.

Consignment note

  • A consignment note needs to be completed for every load of hazardous waste collected.
  • You will need to complete a consignment note if you transport hazardous waste from one business premises to another.
  • This consignment note must be correctly filled out and in duplicate. This needs to detail the kind of hazardous waste for the purposes of safe handling. This will include a description, weight or quantity, the composition of the waste, and its physical state (i.e. liquid, solid, gas, powder, sludge, or mixed)
  • One copy of the consignment note must remain with the hazardous waste until it reaches the end of its journey.
  • It is required that you keep the other copy of the consignment note on your premises for record-keeping purposes.

The waste register

  • You are required to keep a copy of your hazardous waste records on the premises where the waste was produced and/or stored. This must remain on the premises for three years.
  • The register will include consignment notes, consignee returns, and other documents connected to collections including records of rejected loads and carrier schedules.

The importance of hazardous waste to waste management strategy

Why consider hazardous waste management?

It’s easy

Waste management doesn’t need to be difficult – and working with a waste management company is the easiest way to ensure compliance. There is really no excuse for ignorance around your waste classification. Working with waste managers will also lighten the burden of correct waste disposal for businesses and provide you with the nuts and bolts of a working waste management strategy.

Environmental reasons

Responsible businesses with their eye on the future make environmental considerations their primary concern. When it comes to waste, the specialists at Smarter Business believe in making environmental practices as hassle-free as possible for business owners.

Reputation enhancement

Can your business afford the negative publicity of irresponsible waste management? Few businesses can. For businesses where time comes at a premium, secure your business reputation around sound, environmentally responsible waste management by working with waste specialists.

It could cost you if you don’t

As a general rule, waste which ends up in your general waste bins will cost your business more money. With regulation focused on diverting waste from landfill, this cost is expected to continue to rise. Add to that the potential fines imposed for non-compliance around hazardous waste and your bottom line stands to be significantly affected.


The waste management team at Smarter Business is geared to provide comprehensive waste services to businesses of all sizes. Offering a range of business services to SMEs and big corporates, all our clients can expect Smarter Business’s exceptional customer service, dedication to discovering savings, and tailored solutions.

  • Responsible, cost-effective waste management services
  • A reliable service tailored to your business’s unique requirements
  • Devise a waste management strategy with waste specialists around general waste, recycling, and your specific waste concerns.
  • Be prepared for any eventuality with professional, safe emergency waste services

Find out more about commercial waste removal, commercial recycling, and food waste services – or contact us for more information on your business’s waste management.