Under the Environment Protection Act 1990, businesses must safely contain and dispose of any and all waste they produce as part of their duty of care. This includes unwanted or unused cleaning products and chemicals. Failure to follow best practice in chemical waste disposal could result in prosecution.
Chemicals can be harmful to human health and the environment, and therefore must be treated and disposed of safely. Hazardous chemical waste can be categorised into three different areas: always hazardous, never hazardous, or may or may not be hazardous. Outside of this classification system, some chemicals may also be flammable, and this should be considered during storage or disposal as well.
Businesses that dispose of chemical waste are responsible for identifying the hazards they could present through a thorough risk assessment. Safe working practices should always be adhered to, and staff should undergo regular training to ensure that they understand best practice.
A guide to cleaning product disposal
The correct disposal of chemical cleaning products can help to prevent damage to the environment caused by chemicals entering water supplies or food chains, which could either eventually or immediately cause damage to wildlife or humans.
Unwanted cleaning products should not be poured down the sink or toilet, especially if they are hazardous cleaning chemicals. Large quantities of hazardous cleaning products can contaminate water supplies, also creating the chance of chemicals mixing which could have fatal effects. You also shouldn’t just be throwing these chemicals in any bin you can find.
You can discover whether the cleaning products that you’re trying to dispose of are classed as hazardous by carefully reading the product labels to check their CLP classification, as well as the UK guidelines on hazardous waste, which will also tell you how to legally dispose of chemical cleaning products. We also recommend that the Safety Data Sheets (SDS) are consulted for advice and guidelines on disposal.
Businesses should use an authorised waste contractor to handle and dispose of their waste, including hazardous waste. For more information, we always recommend contacting your local council to find out how to dispose of waste from your business if you aren’t sure.
Never pour corrosive chemicals down a sink or drain. Dispose of them through a professional hazardous waste collection and disposal company.
Never pour flammable chemicals down sinks or drains. Dispose of them through a professional hazardous waste collection and disposal company.
Empty aerosols can be safely disposed of in the recycling bin, however partially or completely full aerosols should be collected separately by the council.
Never pour irritant chemicals down a sink or drain. Dispose of them through a professional hazardous waste collection and disposal company.
Never pour toxic chemicals down a sink or drain. Dispose of them through a professional hazardous waste collection and disposal company.
Managing cleaning product waste
You should always try to avoid needing to dispose of cleaning products by only purchasing the quantity that you will need. You won’t always get it exactly right though, and waste does happen, so it’s important to know how to handle it when necessary.
We believe that sustainable practices to benefit the environment should be a priority for every business. Using environmentally-friendly cleaning products will help your business to have a greatly reduced impact on the environment, with no real sacrifice in terms of cleaning power.
Brands like Cleanline have excellent eco-friendly cleaning products that not only do as good a job as their non-eco-friendly counterparts, but don’t cost significantly more either. Even eco-friendly cleaning chemicals still need to be disposed of responsibly, but when treated properly they pose less of a risk to the environment and local wildlife.
We stock a wide range of environmentally-friendly cleaning products and biological cleaning products from brand like InnuScience, giving you the option to reduce the potential damage to the environment you cause through chemical waste.
If you have any thoughts or tips regarding disposing of cleaning products or using environmentally-friendly cleaning products in your business, we’d love to hear from you.