It’s important to understand the capabilities and limitations of different waste management options for the various types of wastes we handle. Only when this is understood can we make effective waste management decisions that are protective of both human health and the environment. As a general matter, EPA has a waste management hierarchy, with a preference for reuse and recycling options. In order to qualify a waste for disposal, the chemical constituents and physical characteristics of the waste must be identified. Sampling and testing enables us to procure the right information.
The accuracy of the test results is critical, so samples must be gathered, presented in the right kinds of containers, and preserved properly and with sufficient volume for testing. Samples of similar wastes from drums can be consolidated for testing, thus reducing the costs for analysis. When the test results are completed, we carefully examine these and determine the regulatory status of the waste and identify the appropriate waste codes. Additional information of the waste can be obtained by requesting a Globally Harmonized System (GHS) Safety Data Sheet (SDS) , which is an important component of product stewardship and occupational safety and health. It is intended to provide workers and emergency personnel with procedures for handling or working with that substance in a safe manner, and includes information such as physical data, toxicity, reactivity, storage, disposal, protective equipment, and spill-handling procedures.