When most people think of waste, they think of all the old chemicals that accumulate in their homes. But what about the waste produced by our schools? Studies have shown that the average primary school produces 45kg of waste per pupil each academic year. The amount of garbage, paper, and other materials is enormous, but some of it is also hazardous.
While it is important to manage all waste properly, it is vital to preserve human health and the environment by managing hazardous waste compliantly. This blog post will take a closer look at hazardous waste in our schools and the benefits of hiring a qualified waste disposal company.
Common Types of School Waste
Hazardous waste is defined as waste having the properties that make it dangerous and potentially harmful to human health and environment. Meaning it possesses at least one of these four characteristics; ignitability, corrosivity, reactivity, or toxicity), or appears on special EPA lists. State and federal regulations assign “cradle to grave” responsibility for generators of hazardous waste, meaning that schools are responsible for it from its creation all the way through its final disposal.
Let’s look at some of the hazardous waste created by schools and why it’s best to trust Seattle school waste disposal to professionals.
- Used oil & solvents (from auto maintenance classes)
- Photo-processing chemicals, dyes, used fixers, and petroleum-based inks (from photography, graphics, and printing classes)
- Lab chemical waste (from chemistry & other science classes). These can include flammable liquids such as acetone and xylene, acids, bases such as sodium hydroxide and poisons such as bleach, reactive substances such as picric acid, and toxins including cyanide cadmium sulfate and phenol
- Degreasing or petroleum-based cleaning solutions, paint waste, and polyurethane sealers (from wood and metal shop programs)
- Oil-based paints, spray adhesives, and paint thinners (from art classes)
Different teachers have different ways of dealing with hazardous waste. For instance, chemistry teachers may be accustomed to neutralizing certain chemical solutions before flushing them down the drain. Depending on the chemical solution, this can cause real problems for the school’s sewage system, not to mention poisoning of downstream ecosystems. To protect school property, avoid environmental damage, and keep students safe, it’s best for schools to hire disposal professionals to manage their hazardous waste.
Improper Waste Disposal In Schools: Environmental Effects
Regarding waste disposal, schools are often the culprits of improper practices. It can have several adverse effects on human health and the environment in the short and long term.
In the short-term, improper waste disposal can lead to exposure and pollution. It can cause illness and negatively impact local ecosystems.
In the long-term, improper waste disposal can harm people’s health by building up toxins in our environment and contributing to greenhouse gasses in our atmosphere. It can contribute to negative mutations in animal populations as well as climate change, all of which can cause devastating effects to our environment, including population declines in species such as bees and more extreme weather patterns.
Therefore, improper waste disposal by schools is a problem that needs to be addressed. It is possible to reduce all these risks and adverse effects by hiring a professional disposal company.
Contact WasteXpress for immediate assistance or to get a free disposal quote within 24 hours.
Primary School Waste Production: How To Reduce It
Schools can do their part for their community and environment by adopting best waste disposal practices. Here are 4 ways your school can improve its waste management.
- Adopt and encourage reuse and recycling strategies. A woodshop’s leftover paint might be used for an art class project or by the maintenance staff. Have bins to compost food waste as well as bins for the recycling of paper, plastic and metal.
- Reduce dangerous wastes by modifying lab experiments to use less or fewer toxic chemicals and in smaller amounts.
- Order only what is needed and properly dispose of materials and chemicals shortly after they are no longer of use. This includes storing and disposing of items like old batteries, light bulbs, and cleaning chemicals correctly.
- Have solid programs that educate and assign department leads who will champion ways to improve recycling and manage your waste disposal program. Get the students involved by helping them to understand the importance of reducing the amount of waste that is sent to landfills since doing so can reduce the greenhouse gas emissions associated with waste disposal at landfills.
Benefits of Hiring a Professional Hazardous Waste Company
Waste disposal professionals thoroughly understand how schools can stay in compliance while following regulations. Each state has its own set of laws for managing and disposing of hazardous waste. There are many benefits to hiring a professional hazardous waste disposal company in King County, Washington, including:
Companies Can Dispose of More Waste
Many states require a professional partner for waste disposal. For instance, New Hampshire requires schools and businesses to hire a state registered hazardous waste transporter to transport used oil unless you are self-transporting less than 110 gallons.
Prevent Potentially Fatal Accidents
Hiring a waste disposal professional keeps students and teachers safe. Laboratory waste chemicals and other school-generated waste can be highly toxic. Some hazardous waste substances are highly flammable, while others are known carcinogens. Schools are safer when disposal experts take care of the waste.
Familiar with Hazardous Waste Programs
Some counties and states have special support programs to help schools safely dispose of hazardous waste. Seattle hazardous waste disposal companies know how to deal with school waste properly, but their expertise is of no use if teachers don’t recognize the need for proper waste disposal in the first place.
American Association of Chemistry Teachers is a King County program that educates science teachers on how to dispose of toxic chemicals safely. The program also includes additional resources on dealing with hazards commonly found in schools.
Hiring a professional hazardous waste company to dispose of your school waste can save money for your school district in the long run. It is because the company will have the necessary equipment and resources to dispose of the waste safely and correctly.
Regardless of whether such support programs are available, we recommend that schools maintain a working relationship with a local hazardous waste disposal company.
Dispose of Your Hazardous School Waste with WasteXpress
We are the leading provider of waste disposal services in Kent, Renton, Redmond, Tacoma and Seattle and are dedicated to ensuring school waste is disposed of properly.
Serving small businesses and Fortune 500 companies throughout the Pacific Northwest for over 30 years. You can count on us for reliable, compliant, and environmentally friendly waste disposal services.