Hazardous Waste

Hazardous waste poses a substantial threat to public health and the environment. Like regular waste, it appears in many forms. They include paints, paint thinners, varnishes, adhesives, antifreeze, solvents, aerosols, inks, resins, waste engine oil, gear and lubricating oil, weed killers, fungicides, pesticides, insect killers, poisons, energy-saving lightbulbs, fluorescent tubes, thermometers, lead acid batteries, Ni-Cd batteries, photographic chemicals, waste medicines, printer cartridges, ribbons and toners, polishes, metal cleaners, drain cleaners, oven cleaners and organic solvents. These products all contain substances that are poisonous, corrosive or flammable.

For this reason disposal of hazardous waste differs from non-hazardous waste. It should not be disposed of in the mixed municipal waste collection. Hazardous waste is typically dealt with in four different ways:

  • Recycling;
  • Neutralisation;
  • Incineration/destruction;
  • Hazardous waste landfills.

In Ireland, local drop-off facilities for householders and small businesses are managed by a professional hazardous waste industry and are treated appropriately.

The National Hazardous Waste Management Plan 2014-2020 describes the national system for hazardous waste management. Despite this plan however, large quantities of hazardous waste are generated in Ireland and there is scope to reduce this through waste prevention programmes. Approximately half of Irish hazardous waste is exported for treatment and unreported hazardous waste is still a problem in Ireland. 



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