Types of Hazardous Waste and Disposal

We hope that you never have to deal with hazardous waste. Having to clean up hazardous waste is not only completely unpleasant to think about, but it is also dangerous. As a home or business owner, you should know the classifications of hazardous waste and how to dispose of it. Here is a description of hazardous waste management and disposal methods.

List of Hazardous Waste

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has four classes of hazardous waste.


According to the EPA, there are four types of ignitable hazardous waste. This is waste that is highly flammable. Liquids, such as gasoline, alcohol, oil, and acetone, fall into this category. All these liquids have a flashpoint or an ignition rate of 140 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. Other ignitable wastes on the list are solids that light on fire — or spontaneously combust — without being set on fire. Compressed gases, such as oxygen, are on the list as well because they are fire hazards. Oxidizers, such as a peroxide, also make the list because they can potentially cause fires.


Corrosive agents are products that can rust or make holes in containers, usually because of their acid levels. Corrosive agents have a pH of less than 2 or greater than 12.5. The material can also be corrosive if it can corrode steel. All corrosive substances have the ability to eat through containers and cause leaks of poisonous materials. Corrosive agents are almost always acids. Some acids include sulfuric acid, nitric acid, battery acid, and hydrochloric acid. Corrosive agents can cause burns on the skin and lung damage as well.


Reactive agents are unstable. They tend to explode when they come into contact with other agents. They can also experience violent changes in their composition without exploding. Sometimes, this change can happen in a split second. Many of the agents have the potential to explode or experience violent changes when water touches them. During the rapid chemical change, they might also release toxic gases. People can fall ill from the gases during the reaction. The toxic gas can cause pneumonia and lung damage in people who breathe it in.


When the EPA considers a substance toxic, it can have long-term effects on the environment. Some of the hazardous materials on the list pose immediate dangers to human life. The effects of toxic agents show up over time and can permanently damage human and animal health. In order to identify toxic agents, the EPA performs a test called the Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure (TCLP).

Sometimes, the information about hazardous materials does not immediately come from the evidence of a spill. Instead, the evidence might come from looking into old records of land usage. This is especially true in New Jersey, where residential homes sometimes sit on land that used to house factories.

How Can I Dispose of Hazardous Waste?

You cannot dispose of hazardous waste yourself. You have to use hazardous waste disposal companies. Hazardous waste disposal companies can identify the hazardous agent causing the problem. They, then, safely dispose of the hazardous materials. Often, a hazardous waste company uses vacuum truck services to remove the agent from the area. Vacuum trucks are specialty trucks used to carry hazardous waste. After the company removes the waste, it will, then, clean up the area. Sometimes, it will remove different agents, such as toxins or reactive agents, and remediate the soil. There are lots of precautions companies can take to ensure your property is safe once it has removed the waste.

If you want to learn more about types of hazardous waste and disposal or have concerns about hazardous waste on your property, contact All American Environmental in NJ