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How to deal with your business' hazardous waste

Hazardous waste is being produced daily by most businesses in Kitsap, Mason and Pierce Counties. In Kitsap County, the Public Works Department is charged with helping dispose of it properly. The Health District helps businesses with technical assistance to manage their hazardous waste and reduce the amount produced or its toxicity.

Rick Gilbert, Moderate Risk Waste Facility Supervisor, defines hazardous waste as “discarded material that meets one or more of the following characteristics: ignitability ; corrosivity ; reactivity or toxicity .

All businesses are responsible to dispose of such wastes in an environmentally healthy manner in compliance with local, state and federal laws. Smaller businesses and non-profit organizations producing less than 220 pounds per month, or 2,200 pounds by accumulation on site, are called small quantity generators .

There is some regulatory relief for SQGs. They may take their waste materials to the management facility themselves, whereas larger businesses must hire a permitted hauler with a hazardous material endorsement, Gilbert says.

The county’s moderate risk waste facility does not make a profit, but charges what they themselves pay for “final management” of business waste. This helps keeps costs down for the SQGs, who may come on the third or fourth Wednesday of each month by appointment only by calling 337-5777 or 825-4940. The facility is located in the Olympic View Industrial Park, near the Bremerton Airport. Homeowners my come in from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thurs. through Sat., with hazardous household items at no charge.

Stericycle, Inc., is a national company that properly disposes of medical waste, including locally. Their website gives this definition: “Regulated medical waste includes single-use disposable items such as needles, syringes, gloves, and laboratory, surgical, emergency room and other supplies which have been in contact with blood, blood products, bodily fluids, cultures or stocks of infectious agents.”

Healthcare facilities also produce such waste materials as lab chemicals, mercury thermometers, x-ray fixers and developers, batteries , paints and thinners, cleaners and disinfectants. Dentists produce mercury-contaminated waste when they extract amalgam fillings.

Painters working with oil-based paints use paint thinners that qualify as hazardous when left over. Solvents and lab chemicals are others Gilbert mentions.
What happens to items taken to the county’s facility? They are sent to Kent for consolidation and repackaging.

If ignitable, they go to cement kilns permitted to burn hazardous material as a fuel in the manufacture of cement. Corrosive materials are generally neutralized and treated, then placed into wastewater treatment. Reactive and toxic materials go to hazardous waste incinerators. The ash from that process is sent to a hazardous waste landfill.

In order to encourage and assist businesses in reducing the amount of hazardous waste, the county’s Health District and Solid Waste Division have joined the EnviroStars program. They give assistance to reduce waste or find alternatives to hazardous substances. For questions, call 337-5604.

 
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