Choosing a Waste Management Company

Many smaller facilities opt to use a waste management company to handle and dispose of hazardous waste. The following are some tips on choosing a waste management company.

When you cannot avoid generating waste, protect your business by dealing only with reliable waste management companies.  No matter how good the waste management company, remember that no one can take away your liability once you have generated waste, despite advertising claims. Under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, generators of hazardous waste have “cradle to grave” liability.

When choosing companies to recycle or dispose of your hazardous waste, ask the following questions:

  1. What wastes are accepted?
  2. What are the packaging requirements?
  3. Are packaging materials provided?
  4. Does the company have an EPA identification number and the appropriate permits to transport off-site for treatment, storage or disposal of hazardous waste? Hazardous waste must be recycled on-site or transported off-site for treatment, storage or disposal by a permitted hazardous waste management company.
  5. Is a hazardous waste manifest needed for this shipment? A hazardous waste manifest may be required with off-site shipments of hazardous waste.  A manifest is a multiple carbon copy document that is signed by the waste generator and transporter when the waste is picked up.  It is signed every time the waste changes hands.  Finally, a representative of the waste disposal or recycling facility signs the manifest.  The final copy is then returned to the generator as proof that the waste reached the proper disposal/recycling destination.
  6. Does the company have insurance to cover accidental spills? Insurance is the first layer of protection for your business in case of an accident resulting in spills, injury, property damage, etc.
  7. What is the cost for services?
  8. If it is a recycling service, do they return or keep your recycled products? Choose among reputable waste management companies for the best deal.  Pay for good service, not a brand name.
  9. Is the company willing to negotiate a contract that fits your facility’s needs? A service schedule that does not fit the needs of a business may result in increased waste generation.
  10. Does the company follow Department of Transportation requirements?  Contact DOT for more information on these requirements. Your waste management company should have policies and procedures to ensure these requirements are met.