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Hazardous waste (HRW) is generally the leftover or unused portion of any hazardous materials or chemicals. Any product labeled with Dangers, Warning, TOXIC, VIOLENT, CURSE, LAUNCHING, CRUISE, etc. is regarded as a hazardous waste product. There are several types of hazardous waste that include oil, biodegradable material, hazardous waste generated through activities such as mining, demolition, and construction, hazardous waste caused by inadequate safety systems, and other hazardous waste materials that may be disposed of in an uncontrolled way.

The San Diego County Environmental Health Services (SDECHS) has been dealing with hazardous waste disposal for more than 20 years. SDECHS is a division of the San Diego Natural Heritage Trust. If you have a waste management issue, contact SDECHS right away. Their mission is to work in partnership with its community members, businesses, regulatory agencies, and others to effectively manage all forms of hazardous waste. They provide essential information and implement regulations that protect our environment and help you make informed decisions.

The maximum amount of household San Diego hazardous waste that can be disposed of is fifteen gallons for each one hundred pounds of merchandise. This is the maximum acceptable amount determined by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Any waste exceeding this maximum amount is considered unacceptable. Some examples of acceptable items are food waste, sewage waste, and yard waste. Homes and businesses that surpass the maximum allowable amount are required to sign a comprehensive agreement with San Diego County to mitigate the risk of another potential problem.

When discussing hazardous waste with environmental specialists from the San Diego County Health Department, they will evaluate the amount of waste in your facility and determine whether or not it is classified as hazardous waste. For example, if a hazardous waste area contains diesel fuel or oil, the health department will consider the type of fuel (liquid or solid) and the number of gallons used over a period of time. If it is determined that hazardous waste exists, the health department will provide you with a list of options for managing the waste including storage in secure containers, having the waste disposed of in an environmentally safe manner, having the waste buried or placed in a hazardous waste site, and/or having the waste tested for safety. If you have questions regarding the management of hazardous waste in your facility, you should consult with the waste administration departments in the different counties surrounding your home. They will assist you in determining what is acceptable in your area.

It is your responsibility to properly dispose of hazardous wastes. Inappropriate disposal may result in serious negative effects, such as environmental contamination, injury, and death. Be sure to follow the regulations established by the Environmental Protection Agency and your local and state hazardous waste disposal requirements. You should consult with your local and state hazardous waste coordinators for further information on proper disposal.

As discussed above, there are two main categories of hazardous waste; those that are considered hazardous waste based on their hazardous nature and those that are created in a workplace. There are also those hazardous wastes that can be considered from a safety and environmental standpoint. In this case, the term "hazardous waste" would apply to all waste materials that can cause harm to people, animals, and the environment. The phrase "business-generated hazardous waste" is used to describe materials generated by businesses other than landfills or curbside. This includes industrial wastes produced by businesses other than manufacturing.