Whether you’re a first-time or long-time generator of hazardous waste, choosing a disposal company to handle your management and disposal needs can be a major challenge. Because there’s so much at stake, there’s a lot to consider when it comes to choosing a company you trust.
If you’re searching for a disposal company to manage your hazardous waste, be sure to give thorough consideration to these five critical things.
First things first: when dealing with something as sensitive as hazardous waste disposal, you’ll need a company you can count on to answer your calls and emails (and quickly, too). You will also need to find a company that understands the nuances of hazardous waste management, and that’s able to answer any questions you have as they arise.
There are quite a few waste disposal companies out there today that simply won’t provide you with clear expectations (including having the driver call you when they’re on their way to avoid surprise pick-ups), act courteously and professionally when on site, follow up with you after the pick up, or even send an invoice that reflects the amount that was quoted to you. Avoid these companies at all costs.
While the lowest cost solutions are not always the best solutions—in the hazardous waste world, this could result in illegal dumping or other shady practices—obtaining a quote that works within your budgetary restraints is obviously very important.
When choosing a hazardous waste disposal company, the best thing you can do is your homework. Ask for volume discounts if you have a lot of material. If you need frequent hazardous waste pick ups, most companies will offer a cheaper rate for frequent pick ups. You product might even have reuse value as a raw material. If that’s the case, see if you can get a reduced pick up rate. On some occasions, say for many petrochemicals like used oil or glycol, when the market price of a drum of crude surpasses $70 per barrel, you might even get paid for your “waste” material.
Everyday we read about companies producing hazardous waste and getting fined for violating Environmental Protection Agency regulations. Similarly, companies that transport and dispose of hazardous waste are also under a close watch. The EPA has enforcement capabilities and a criminal prosecution division and they are not afraid to throw their weight around. Make sure the company you select has a W9 and environmental insurance (and ask to be added to their policy as an “additional insured” which is usually something that they will do for free).
Make sure the hazardous waste disposal company you choose has a clean record, or if they don’t, that they’ve actively worked with the EPA to rectify their mistakes. Ask for testimonials, too; if a company comes highly recommended by others, they probably have a history of excellent customer service.
SPEED OF WORK
All businesses want other people to work fast and efficiently for them. They generally have strict timelines and budget requirements, and can’t afford to be left waiting around. However, in the world of hazardous wastes—while speed is important—you also need to have realistic expectations.
Hazardous waste disposal companies operate trucks that run on pick up schedules that are sometimes planned weeks in advance. If you need a same day pick up, chances are you are going to have trouble finding someone. If you truly want someone to work fast for you, it starts with your own preparation. Are your drums labeled? Do you have an inventory list? Do you have Safety Data Sheets for all your waste products? Are your waste items staged and ready for pick up? Having the right information up front and preparing your waste materials for pick up up will save your disposal company the time, effort, and cost required to do these things for you.
Additionally, all waste material has to go through an “approvals” process. The receiving facility of your hazardous wastes must review Safety Data Sheets and any other information provided to them before they can approve your waste to be shipped to them. Each facility has different kinds of waste they can receive and they need to be meticulous about what they accept and do not accept, otherwise they could violate the law or it could literally destroy their waste disposal processing technology (think about putting radioactive wastes into a facility that treats wastewater to be consumed by the general public). If you can imagine these receiving facilities approve and receive hundreds of thousands of pounds of waste materials per day, it is going to take a few days to get those approvals back to you. All told, if you are prepared with the items discussed, expect a pick up to take 7-10 business days from the day you requested it. If you are waiting longer than that, chances are you’ve found a company that isn’t or can’t work fast enough.
In highly regulated situations like hazardous waste generation, expect to sign some paperwork—but don’t expect to have to do too much of the paperwork yourself (although it’s never a bad idea to learn). Most companies will complete the correct forms for you from Waste Profiles to Land Bans. Choosing a company that does paperwork on your behalf is great, but choosing a company that retains documents on your behalf is even better. Ensure that document retention is on your checklist when speaking with a disposal company for the first time.
Victory Environmental has decades of experience with hazardous waste management. We’re proud of the way we handle each of these concerns. If you’d like to discuss your project (or challenges) with us, give us a call at (312) 796-8280.