All hazardous waste generators have a responsibility to take their waste management services seriously. That obligation extends to everyone from the newest employee to upper management. There are simply too many liabilities and too many risks associated with hazardous waste to allow lax policies or insufficient handling. Unfortunately, not every hazardous waste consultant follows that same ideal. As with any other outsourced service, finding a reliable waste management business takes time and research. You need a company that complies with all local and federal regulations related to hazardous waste and a company that you can rely on to provide fast and efficient service. Before you call the first hazardous waste consultant you find, take the time to make sure their services are right for your company.

Cradle-to-Grave Liability

Unlike the average waste generator, businesses that produce hazardous waste are bound to what is called cradle-to-grave liability. This means that all hazardous waste generators—regardless of quantity—are responsible for their waste from the time it’s generated all the way through its final disposal. That process includes any storage, transportation, or treatment that happens before the waste finds its way to a permitted and appropriate disposal facility.

In accordance to policies set forth by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), this cradle-to-grave liability means that even if a company outsources their hazardous waste management, transportation, or disposal services, they are still legally responsible for any incident that happens involving their waste. It doesn’t matter if it was directly their fault or not, they will always take the fall.

To protect your business, it’s important to hire a hazardous waste consultant that you can trust to handle your waste responsibly. You’ll need to consider the company’s legal status, reputation, and logistical capabilities.

Other Considerations When Choosing a Hazardous Waste Consultant

Before signing a contract, take time to speak with a representative from your chosen waste management service. A phone call or in-person meeting are good ways to initiate a more personal working relationship, but it’ll also be beneficial to get answers to questions in writing via email. When making your decision, there are a few details to keep in mind. These include:

  • Clean-up, transportation, or disposal of hazardous waste isn’t a cut-and-dry service. An estimate can give you a general idea of the work involved and the cost, but be weary of overly optimistic offers. It’s impossible to predict everything that could happen when dealing with hazardous waste. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Avoid working with companies where there is a conflict of interest. This could cause legal ramifications down the road.
  • There are countless different types of hazardous waste. When doing your interviews, ask questions about the specific type of waste your business generates. You want a company that has experience in the exact services you require.
  • Many hazardous waste companies use subcontractors. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it’s important you know about it and do your own research.
  • Hazardous waste generators can use the RCRInfo Search to research hazardous waste consultants in their area.

Use this checklist to guide your business toward an informed decision.

CHOOSING A HAZARDOUS WASTE CONSULTING SERVICE

LIABILITY

Does the hazardous waste management company have an EPA identification number?
Is the hazardous waste transporter registered with your state?
Does the transporter deliver your waste directly to the disposal facility?
Does the company have adequate insurance?

LOGISTICAL

Can you confirm the final destination of your waste?
Does the transporter complete the Universal Hazardous Waste Manifest or other related shipping forms?
Does the company offer a written contract to clearly identify the responsibilities of each party?
Does the company have sufficient staff to handle your hazardous waste management needs?
Does the company and its employees have the necessary experience and training to safely and responsibly get the job done?

CUSTOMER SERVICE

Does the company offer an estimate on the time needed to complete their services? Is that estimate in line with your expectations and needs?
Is the company easy to get a hold of, and did they respond in a timely manner?
Do they offer a categorized bill to clearly breakdown payments?