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The basics of hazardous waste

The basics of hazardous waste

Hazardous waste that is not properly managed can pose a serious threat to the health of humans and the environment.

What is a hazardous waste?

Hazardous waste is waste with properties that make it dangerous or having a harmful effect on human health or the environment. It can be generated from various sources, including industrial manufacturing processes and batteries. Hazardous waste can be in a liquid, solid, gas, and sludge form.

Identifying hazardous waste

For a material to be classified as a hazardous waste, it must first be a solid waste, as the hazardous waste management program uses the term solid waste to define something that is a waste. Once the material has been determined to be solid waste, it is examined to see whether or not the waste is a listed or characteristic hazardous waste.

Hazardous waste generators

Hazardous waste generators are the first link in the hazardous waste management system. All generators need to determine whether their waste is hazardous and must oversee the responsible disposal of the waste. They also need to fully document that the hazardous waste that they produce is properly identified, managed, and treated prior to recycling or disposal.

Transporting hazardous waste

Following the production of a hazardous waste, transporters can move the waste to a facility that can recycle, treat, store, or dispose of it. Since these transporters are moving regulated wastes along public routes on roads, highways, rails and waterways, there are specific regulations that apply. A waste management company like WasteWise is compliant with these regulations and best suited to assisting you in the removal and transporting of hazardous waste.

Recycling, treating, storing, and disposing of hazardous waste

Regulations have been developed to best balance the conservation of resources and ensuring the protection of human health and environment with the safe elimination of hazardous waste. Many hazardous wastes can be recycled safely and effectively, while other need to be treated and disposed of in landfills or incinerators. Improper storage of hazardous materials could cause spills, leaks, fires, and contamination of soil and drinking water.

Contact WasteWise today

If you are a hazardous waste generator that need an efficient and compliant waste management solution, get in touch with WasteWise today to discuss how we can help.

Recycling as a form of waste management

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Sometimes knowing what can be recycled is the greatest obstacle to businesses and individuals making an effort to sort
out their waste. Hiring a waste management company like WasteWise helps to simplify the process and get the right
solution in place.

What can be recycled?

Metal: Steel and aluminium are the most common metals that are recycled. Recycling metals will not alter their

Plastics: During the recycling of plastics, scraps of plastic are collected and reprocessed into useful products.

Concrete: This is the process of reusing building rubble for new constructions

Bricks: Another building waste product that is crushed and can be made into new bricks.

Cardboard: Thick sheets of multilayered paper that have been discarded can be recycled.

Paper: Old paper is broken down with water and chemicals, undergoes an extensive process and is recycled into new paper.

Wood: In addition to wood being used in paper, it can also be reused as building material or processed into mulch. Limiting the number of trees that are cut down reduces waste and is kinder to the environment.

Green waste: – This is anything from leaves to grass trimmings and flower cuttings. These organic waste items can be
decomposed and recycled in gardens or agricultural applications.

Some of these items need to be disposed of at specialised facilities. For glass, paper, aluminium and even batteries,
you can find recycling points at shopping centres, or motivate for your company to have containers in the kitchen where
people can easily sort through their waste.

Recycling techniques

Concrete recycling involves a crushing machine that combines the concrete with bricks, asphalt, dirt and rocks. It can
then be used as gravel or dry aggregate to make new concrete free of contaminants.

Recycling batteries can be very difficult. They need to be sorted into groups of similar types because older batteries
contain cadmium and mercury. These elements are harmful and need to be handled carefully.

Biodegradable waste can be decomposed and used as fertiliser for soil in gardens or farms or as biogas. This is done
through anaerobic digestion by microorganisms in a biogas plant. This gas can be used to create energy and heat in
manufacturing processes.

When you use a waste management company you can be sure your recycling will end up in the right processing facilities
and are processed ethically and according to government regulations.

The benefits of recycling

  • Conserves energy
  • Reduces greenhouse gases
  • Reduces water and air pollution
  • Conserves natural resources when recycled material is reused
  • Decreases the need for mining, logging and quarrying
  • Leads to less raw material processing
  • Slows climate change

Make a change today

WasteWise can simplify the recycling process for you. Contact us today to discuss your options.

Common types of construction waste

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Waste is an inevitable by-product of construction, no matter the size of the project.

A few reasons for the construction waste include:

  • Material procurement – sometimes more raw material is ordered to avoid a shortage and the possibility that the same
    material can’t be sourced at a later stage. When the construction is complete, excess material becomes waste.
    Fortunately, these materials can be resold, reused or recycled.
  • Building process – cut-offs of material such as metal, glass, wood and concrete end up as waste. Usually, most if not
    all of these raw materials can be recycled and do not need to be added to a landfill.
  • Demolition – reducing an existing structure to rubble creates a lot of waste, similar to what is left after the
    construction of a new project. The material from the demolished site can be recycled the same way as above.

Types of construction waste

When you peek into a skip on a construction site these are the things you’re most likely to see:

  • Concrete is probably the most common type of construction waste. Recycled concrete in the form of crushed reinforced
    concrete is a popular aggregate in the mixture of new concrete. Using recycled concrete in construction reduces the need
    for sand, making it a more sustainable option.
  • Bricks can be reused if they retain their structural integrity. Occasionally brick waste includes contaminants such as
    plaster. In these cases, bricks can be recycled through crushing. The tiny pieces can be used as filling material.
  • Ceramic and tile can become waste when there’s an excess left after the completion of a project. The risk of not
    getting the same pattern or material at a later stage often leads to ordering more than the project might require. If
    this is the case and they are in good condition, the items can be reused in new projects. If they are damaged from
    demolition it is still possible to recycle them.
  • Wood from torn-up hardwood floors, roof beams, wall supports and wood shavings is common on construction sites. Again,
    there may also be leftover wood once construction is complete. Timber in good condition needs to be cleaned and nails
    removed before reusing it in future projects. Recycled wood can be shredded to use as a filler or mulch. Reusing wood
    reduces deforestation.
  • Insulation materials include cellulose, fibreglass, foams, natural fibres, polystyrene and polyurethane. Waste
    insulation material in older buildings may contain asbestos and pose a health risk. During the demolition of these
    buildings, the correct hazardous waste removal processes should be in place to dispose of these materials according to
  • Glass from old windows can be reused or recycled. It can also be crushed and used as an aggregate in concrete.
  • Different varieties of plastic waste are usually found around construction sites. There may be plastic elements from
    roofs, walls, pipe, cable ducting, light switch covers, smoke detectors and more. Most plastic waste can be recycled and
    ideally, the different types should be separated and cleaned ahead of time. A waste disposal company like WasteWise can
    assist with this.
  • Ferrous metal such as iron and its alloys, such as steel frequently come from old pipes in demolition projects. It can
    almost completely be recycled and has a high value for reuse and recycling. Proper recycling leaves very little waste.
    Because ferrous metal can be recycled repeatedly it has a long life span.
  • Nonferrous metal like aluminium, copper, lead and zinc also have high reuse and recycling value. These metals are
    common in nails, rebar and electrical wiring.
  • Dredging waste refers to the natural objects removed in preparing a site for construction. This includes soil, rocks,
    tree stumps and branches, shrubs, whole trees. Not all of these materials go to landfills but can be reused for mulch.
  • Drywall is another common waste product. It is usually made of gypsum wallboard that may contain flue gas
    desulfurization (FGD) gypsum. There are debates about whether the mercury levels in this type of gypsum are hazardous.
    Recycling drywall into fine particles makes it useful as a soil conditioner.

Construction waste management

Enlisting a professional waste management company with extensive experience in dealing with construction waste is

Having experts deal with the waste, ensures that excessive waste and toxic material are kept out of water and soil, and
limits exposure to hazardous material. Furthermore, it allows for the recycling of many materials and the correct
disposal of waste that can’t be reused. Ensuring all waste is dealt with according to legislation will prevent penalties
and save your company money.

WasteWise will manage the safe and responsible disposal of your waste in compliance with government regulations. We can
also handle the recycling of your waste.

Get in touch

Contact us today to discuss your construction waste management requirements and we’ll formulate a solution to your exact

Waste disposal methods

Waste doesn’t always go into a landfill to be compacted. Although it is the most-used method of waste elimination, there
are other options, depending on the type of waste and the condition it is in.


The term recycling can refer to the reusing of a product, such as clothing or the recovery of raw materials from waste,
like crushing waste concrete to be used as aggregate in concrete mixing. Upcycling is the creative reuse of waste
material into a product with artistic or environmental value. Downcycling, on the other hand, refers to waste being
transformed into something of lower quality, such as plastic bottles turned into carpeting. This is always a preferred
way to eliminate waste as it is environmentally more sustainable because it doesn’t require the manufacture of new
materials, such as glass, or the removal of natural resources such as cutting down trees.


General household waste and waste wood that isn’t suitable for recycling can be incinerated or burned in waste wood
furnaces. The heat released from these processes can be used to generate energy such as electricity and heat for

Often medical waste and waste contaminated with organic are incinerated in separate flue gas treatment systems. The
requirements for flue gas treatment and the incineration system are based on the nature of the waste.

Specialised waste management companies treat waste as is required by the incineration plant to guarantee the correct
fuel reduces risks of accidents. For example, the waste company will ensure that no adverse reactions occur when certain
liquids are mixed.

Chemical-physical and biological treatment

Chemical-physical and biological treatment is used to remove pollutants from waste or to render it safe to be compacted
into a landfill. These treatment methods are usually employed to treat wastewater and polluted excavated material.


The residue from waste incineration and waste not suitable for any form of recycling or thermal treatment is compacted
into landfills. Because the waste management industry is highly regulated, waste must be pre-treated if it doesn’t meet
the requirements for landfilling.

Let us take care of your waste

Waste management starts with the collection of waste at the source, transporting it in suitable containers and treating
it as necessary before disposing of it. WasteWise is a waste management company that will take all the hassle out of
your waste disposal. Contact us today.