A hazardous waste is any substance that is a waste and threatens human health or the environment. Hazardous wastes may be solid, liquid, gas or sludge. They may be the by-products of manufacturing processes or unwanted commercial products. A waste may be hazardous if it is specifically listed or it has at least one of these characteristics: ignitable (flammable), corrosive, reactive (explosive), and toxic to living organisms.
Universal wastes are hazardous wastes that are generated by several sectors of society. Hazardous wastes contain harmful elements, which, if put in the trash may harm people or the environment.
Universal wastes include:
“Medical waste” means any biohazardous, pathology, pharmaceutical, or trace chemotherapy waste not regulated by the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act; sharps, biohazardous waste and trace chemotherapy wastes generated in a health care setting in the diagnosis, treatment, immunization, or care of humans or animals; sharps and laboratory waste that poses a potential risk of infection to humans generated in the inoculation of animals in commercial farming operations; waste generated from the consolidation of home-generated sharps; and waste generated in the cleanup of trauma scenes.
Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) is any unwanted household product labeled as flammable, toxic, corrosive, or reactive. The most common products include aerosols, anti-freeze, fertilizers, motor oil, paint supplies, photo chemicals, pesticides, and solvents.
Improper disposal of these products is not only illegal, but can contaminate drinking water, pollute the bay, and seriously injure garbage and recycling collection and landfill employees. Many municipalities offer a Household Hazardous Waste Program that provides free disposal to all residents to ensure safe disposal. Usually businesses are not allowed to utilize HHW drop off facilities.