Everything you need to know about waste management

Man produces a huge mountain of waste. And this waste must be transported, treated and recycled. Preferably in a safe manner and with limited impact on the environment. This is why it is important to establish clear rules. In the United States, several rules govern the collection, transportation, reporting and recycling of all materials. Current legislation bases waste management on a cyclical approach: ideally, a raw material or an auxiliary material must be able to be reused in an unlimited manner.

Some important topics that are addressed in the legislation: delineation of the waste phase: What is waste, actually?How are materials classified as waste or raw materials?

Extended producer responsibility: is linked to the take-back obligation imposed, for example, on producers of waste tires, end-of-life vehicles, used oil, expired medicines, but also batteries. , etc. Companies are required to fulfill this obligation via the individual waste prevention and management plan or by affiliating with a waste management or dumpster rental organization.

Material cycles: the legislation consists of general and specific requirements.

Waste is therefore classified into three categories: household waste, agricultural waste, and industrial waste. Some waste is hazardous waste. In the specific regulations, mention is made, among other things, of the use of raw materials as building materials, as a foundation or as a sealing layer. Selective collection is the norm. Also in businesses. The principle that “the polluter pays” applies, and a whole series of obligations for specific waste streams such as waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE), batteries or cells are defined more precisely.

Waste collection and transport: Collecting, transporting or exporting waste is not done just like that. The waste collector, trader or broker must register. There are therefore rules, also in matters of international transport.

Recording and reporting: Companies are obliged to keep waste registers and material registers for substances that are not waste. In addition, there is also mandatory reporting on the use of raw materials and waste treatment.

Finally, provisions also concern environmental contributions and taxes on waste treatment. Not just for big companies. Small businesses must also respect the rules regarding waste. The local watchmaker or bicycle dealer, for example, must respect a take-back obligation for the products they sell. Some small businesses may receive an exemption for waste and materials records if their waste stream is comparable to that of a typical household.

The treatment and recycling of waste are also subject to detailed regulations. This must happen in the right circumstances, with the correct permits, and be monitored in detail. It therefore makes sense for a company to let specialized companies and organizations meeting all the conditions of current legislation take care of the treatment and recycling of waste.

Cells and batteries are special household waste

The term special household waste includes waste that has no place in the conventional household waste cycle because it must be treated in a safer manner. Think for example of printer cartridges or certain chemical products but also of batteries.