Hazardous waste is more than a costly nuisance for your business. If you mishandle it, it could become a financial liability and cause harm to your employees, customers, and community.
Not only do you have to worry about the safety and financial risks of improperly transporting hazardous waste, but you have to keep up with complex regulations as well. Both the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Transportation (DoT) have their own set of rules to follow.
The right Hazardous waste transportation company can take care of these things for you. They’ll make sure that you’re following all transport regulations and safely dispose of waste so you can focus on other things.
Let’s look at the reasons you need a professional transportation company for your hazardous materials and how to choose the right company for your needs.
What is Hazardous Waste?
In simple terms, hazardous waste is anything that could harm humans, plants, animals, the soil, or anything else related to the environment. Most people think of things like gasoline, oil, and bodily fluids, there are several things that slip people’s mind that need a proper disposal plan.
Hazardous waste, for the most part, is a byproduct of industrial processes. It can therefore come in several forms like solids, gases, and liquids. Each type of waste has a special method of transportation, and sometimes you can recycle it instead of destroying it.
According to the EPA, these materials should have at least one of four characteristics: toxicity, ignitability, corrosivity, and reactivity. Knowing which of these markers a substance has will make it safer during transportation. Each also requires specialized handling.
This makes transportation difficult, as it requires various types of equipment that most businesses don’t have the infrastructure to support. You need a specialized company that has the equipment to handle every type of waste your business produces.
The Dangers of These Wastes
Obviously, the biggest reason that you need a professional transportation company to handle these wastes is because they’re dangerous. Each type presents a special challenge that requires unique methods for dealing with them.
Toxicity: A Long Term Disaster
Toxicity means that a substance could cause great harm if ingested or absorbed, either by a living thing or the ground. Think of waste that sits in landfills or of cell phone batteries that go to Africa. With landfill waste, it can seep into the ground, getting into water and causing plant life to die.
With electronics in Africa that come from Western nations, the naturally occurring elements, like lead, have caused serious health problems for those around the dumping sites. Hundreds (or more) have died from exposure, and more become sick because their job is to manage these sites.
Toxicity causes long-term damage to the environment and humans, meaning we are only now seeing the effects of decades of improper transportation and disposal.
There are three tests used for determining the ignitability of waste. The ignitability of solids, the Setaflash closed-cup method, and the Pensky-Martens closed-cup method. These tests look to see if waste has a flash point of lower than 140 degrees. These substances can spontaneously combust, making them particularly dangerous during transportation and handling.
Most people know the materials in this group: alcohol, gasoline, oils, acetone, and solvents. Transporting these materials can be extremely dangerous and require special materials. You should always call a professional company instead of attempting to do it on your own.
Corrosive materials are those that can melt or eat their way through solid substances like steel and hard plastics. These materials are obviously dangerous to human and animal skin. These substances can also cause severe environmental damage and are difficult to transport because of storage concerns.
When transporting, companies need special containers because of the chemical composition of corrosive waste materials. Containers could become compromised, causing leaks and spillage. A minor leak could cause dangerous conditions for workers, public relation nightmares, and environmental damage.
Reactive waste might be the most dangerous during transport because they lack stability. They don’t need any kind of outside source to create a reaction. During storage, these materials have to maintain their ideal temperature and moisture. Any deviation could lead to a reaction that can escalate quickly.
There’s no way of knowing when this waste will become reactive, making it important to always be on alert during transportation. An inexperienced or ill-equipped hazardous waste transportation company could find themselves over their head with this type of waste.
Now that we’ve established the four types of hazardous materials according to the EPA, let’s look at the reasons you need a professional transportation company.
One of the primary reasons for government agencies and businesses to use a professional service for the transportation of hazardous material is to stay in line with regulations.
When transporting hazardous materials, you must keep up with local, state, and national transport regulations. The problem is that if you’re crossing state lines while transporting, you must meet the guidelines of each state that your waste travels through.
The California regulations covered in the Health and Safety Code (Division 20, chapter 6.5, articles 6.0 and 6.5), are complicated enough. There’s also Chapter 13 if there are multiple forms of waste in one container.
Federal regulations are equally, if not more, complicated. The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976 contains the laws governing the transportation of hazardous waste. This legislation covers everything from labeling, storing, transporting, Hazmat restrictions, and disposing of all waste.
When trying to meet these rules as a small to medium-sized business, you may find yourself in a regulatory nightmare. There’s a lot of red tape and legal jargon that many businesses don’t have the resources to deal with. This leads to confusion, and confusion leads to mismanagement, fines, and potential health problems for your partners and employees.
To keep up with changes to regulations, it requires a considerable amount of time and expensive equipment. Larger corporations have entire legal teams dedicated to this part of their business alone.
Hiring a hazardous waste transportation company will save you from all this. You won’t have to worry about the time spent looking up new regulations. You’ll also shield yourself from legal liability should something go wrong and will save money on dealing with the legal costs of paying lawyers for research that companies like ours have already done.
Saves Money and Time
We touched on this earlier, but there are some things that you should know about hazardous waste transportation and the amount of money it truly cost.
If you try to transport waste on your own, you’ll have to start with understanding the transport regulations. This is going to require that you hire a lawyer to go through the books, prepare a report for you, and then advise you throughout the process. Considering the large amounts of research and paperwork involved, you’re looking at a lot of money for step one.
Then you must figure out where you’re going to transport your waste to. There are places that will accept, process, and recycle your waste, but you’ll have to figure out the best place for you. You can’t rely on distance as the sole decider, as each place charges separate fees. You’ll run a cost analysis to determine where you’re going, and you’ll probably need your lawyer's help with that as well.
Now that you’ve signed the contracts, how do you get the waste to the facilities? Buying or renting the equipment for transportation is another expense. Not only do you need trucks, but you need equipment to get the waste safely to the trucks. You also need labels for each type of material.
Now that you’ve invested all this money, there’s more. You’ll still have to train your employees, which costs you money and time. You should also set back some funds in case there is an accident during transportation.
Your fleet insurance will rise exponentially because of the new vehicles and because they are transporting hazardous waste. Your business insurance will rise as well. Remember, insurance companies are betting against risk, and if you’re the one that’s transporting waste, you’re increasing risk, so they will increase your premiums.
Don’t Waste Your Time on Waste
By the time you get to the end of these steps, you could be thousands, or millions, in the hole. This isn’t money spent on an investment, either. You aren’t going to see that money come back into your business.
You’ll actually spend more long-term than you do setting your waste transportation up. You still have to pay employees their salaries, increased insurance, and benefits.
Getting a professional company to handle your waste might seem like another expense, but you actually save money by paying someone else to take care of everything for you.
You’ll also save a massive amount of time. Instead of focusing on getting rid of waste, spend time bringing clients into your business and making money.
Increased Trust From The Community
We live in a world dominated by social media and cameras in the pockets of everyone. All it takes is one cell phone video of a chemical leak to drag your company’s reputation through the mud.
While the internet connects people from all over the world and gives people amazing educational opportunities, it also gives people space to express their anger quickly. Environmental justice causes that spread online can cost your businesses millions of dollars.
A professional hazardous waste transportation company can help prevent this from ever coming to fruition. They’ll handle your waste so that your name isn’t attached to it. If there’s ever an accident, you won’t have to worry about your business being in the papers or getting targeted on social media.
Limited Exposure to Liability
Speaking of potential spills and public outcry, outsourcing your hazardous waste transportation will also protect you from liability. A mistake while transporting waste can cost your company financially in a few ways.
First, you could have to pay heavy fines for any spills or exposure. These fines can add up, and in some cases get published in newspapers and trade magazines, hurting your reputation. With a professional company handling your waste, they’ll be the ones liable for the fines.
There’s also the risk of an employee becoming injured and taking you to court. These lawsuits can get pricey, and a lawyer could get other employees to join into the lawsuit claiming that your business promotes an unsafe work environment.
This hurts your business in a number of ways. First, of course, are the financial repercussions of a lawsuit. Legal fees and settlements can run into the millions of dollars. Your business could also get negative publicity, and potential future employees could also avoid working for you.
You could also face a lawsuit from other sources if hazardous waste causes an issue while you’re transporting it. For example, let’s say that one of your trucks carrying toxic materials gets into an accident. Those materials cause environmental damage long-term and make a group of people sick.
You could not only face lawsuits from each person that gets sick, but you could also face a lawsuit from government agencies. In cases of negligence, you could also face criminal charges.
A professional company shields you from these charges. Once your waste leaves your facility, it’s out of your hands. You won’t have to worry about legal charges or lawsuits anymore.
You Can Allocate Resources Towards Other Things
Wasting talent is one of the worst things that a business can do. You spend time and money trying to attract talented people, so it’s only natural that you want them to spend their time bringing customers and money into your company.
You shouldn’t have to use them to set up a disposal plan for your waste. You also don’t want to have your HR and legal teams trying to hire an entire workforce to handle this.
As a manager or owner, you can also use your time more effectively. As discussed above, setting up your own transportation for hazardous waste system is a time-consuming and expensive endeavor. Not only does it cost a lot of money, but it’s not something that will improve your bottom line.
That time and money could be better spent on things that will improve your bottom line. You could revamp your company’s outreach and retention departments, develop new marketing campaigns, or pay for additional training for your employees.
By hiring an outside business to handle your hazardous waste transportation, you’ll spend far less on something that doesn’t bring money into your company so that you can use those resources to expand operations.
There’s a lot of paperwork involved with transporting waste. First, you have to keep accurate records of every step of the process. You have to fill out a hazardous waste manifest for every substance that you transport. This form contains the type and amount of transported waste, instructions for handling the waste, and a place for the signature of anyone involved in the disposal and transportation process.
Everyone has to keep a copy of this form for record keeping, and you should make sure that you can provide it at all times. This requires a lot of organization and space, and takes up time that your employees could use for other things.
There are also labeling requirements for everything you transport. The labeling process follows strict standards and adds more time and money to your overall costs. Labels have to be 4-inches by 4-inches and diamond shaped. The placards should have the correct symbols and be easy to see.
It’s important to remember that California also has their own hazardous waste manifest requirements as well. Depending on the amount of waste you transport, you could find yourself having to hire employees just to deal with these regulations.
Why Use HCI For Your Hazardous Waste Transportation?
Having an outside company do this for you saves you both time and money. Now that you know why it’s in your best interest to use an outside business, what should you look for in one?
We know that for small to medium-sized businesses, the cost of outsourcing anything is a major concern. We’ve addressed that above, but there are other things to consider as well.
HCI is a Full-Service Environmental Company
Anytime you deal with hazardous waste, you run the risk of having environmental issues. When this happens, it’s best to have a pre-existing relationship with a company that can handle any type of situation.
At HCI, we’re experts in all forms of waste disposal, transportation, and cleanup. We’ve served the Los Angeles and Southern California community for years and have the equipment and experience you need. No matter what your company needs, we’re here and ready to serve.
We Keep Up With Regulations So You Don’t Have To
Above, we talked about both state and national regulations. To keep up with these, it often takes lawyers and specialists to look at trends and laws that are both on the books and that are in the legislative pipeline.
You also have to plan ahead for potential changes, which means making educated guesses and setting your business up for possible adjustments. After a while, this can eat away at your budget.
On the state level, these regulations don’t change as often as they do on the national level. In theory, these regulations could change yearly, especially if a different party wins a majority in the Congress.
When you work with us, you won’t have to worry about these changes. We’ve weathered these changes in the past and are positioned to make any changes needed in the future. Our business model relies on flexibility and forward thinking.
We Make Your Life Easier
Our primary goal is to make life easier for businesses and government agencies in Southern California. Our success depends on providing our customers with maximum value and peace of mind.
We can help you determine what services you need and will work with you to figure out the most effective way to deliver them. We’ll handle your hazardous waste transportation, hazardous waste manifests, labels, and logistics. We safely transport your waste so that you can worry about more important things.
We Have Industry Leading Equipment and Processes
As a leader in our industry, we’re able to use the best equipment to transport hazardous waste. You won’t have to worry about our ability to handle your waste or breakdowns that put you behind schedule when you use HCI.
Our equipment allows us to deliver excellent service to your business quickly and safety. We also make sure that our employees have the proper training for handling every type of waste. We have an industry leading training and safety program, giving you the peace of mind you need to run your business effectively.
We outfit our transporter trucks with the latest technology. We can store and transport hazardous waste at the right temperature, moisture levels, and stableness to keep everyone safe.
Give Us A Call Today!
There’s no need to waste any more time on your hazardous waste. Our hazardous waste transportation service can help you save money. You can also spend your time on other aspects of your business and keep your employees safe.
We’re industry leaders in hazardous waste transportation serving the Los Angeles and Southern California region. Our commitment to safety and training means that our employees can handle any type of waste that you need transported.
Give us a call today to learn more about our service and set up the transportation of your hazardous waste to our designated licensed and insured disposal facility.