From entrepreneurs with a side hustle to enthusiastic hobbyists, a surprisingly high number of home businesses generate not just waste but hazardous waste. With regulations passed by the Environmental Protection Agency and enforced on a state level with various laws, as a business, you need to treat your home business’s hazardous waste differently than as a resident. Learn what to do with hazardous waste generated from a home business, including specific laws for Massachusetts. [Read more…]
The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) requires all businesses that generate hazardous waste to properly manage, store, and dispose of them. The issue comes with scale: while large businesses can have the budget to use the required hazardous transportation and disposal companies, small companies that only produce a handful via cleaning solvents, oils, inks, paints, acids, or alkalines can’t afford those same costs. This is where MA’s Very Small Quality Generators (VSQG) program comes in, which allows for a significant reduction in cost for small MA VSQG generators when using NEDT’s Household Hazardous Products Collection Centers for the disposal of hazardous wastes.
Know the VSQG Requirements and Get Registered in MA
Does your MA business qualify as a VSQG? Here are the basic requirements:
- Hazardous Waste Per Month: Generates less than 220 pounds (about 27 gallons) of hazardous waste or waste oil per month and no acutely hazardous waste.
- Total Hazardous Waste Cap: May accumulate up to 2,200 pounds (about 270 gallons) for an indefinite period of time.
Getting Registered for MA’s VSQG Program
You’ll need to visit the MassDEP Hazardous Waste Generation & Generators page and obtain an EPA ID via the online myRCRAid portal (RCRA is the EPA’s Resource Conservation and Recovery Act) to start the VSQG process. You can find more information, including wait times, on the above page.
Know the Self-Transport Limits and Stay Safe!
Once you’ve got your VSQG registration, you can start to self-transport your hazardous waste to a certified disposal or recycling facility. Make sure to follow these requirements:
- Keep a copy of your VSQG registration in the vehicle.
- Transport no more than 55 gallons of hazardous waste at one time.
- Do not transport incompatible wastes (such as alkaline cleaner and battery acid) together.
- Keep all waste in sealed and labeled containers secured to the vehicle.
You also have to adhere to the US Department of Transportation (DOT) and Massachusetts Department of Public Safety (DPS) shipping restrictions and container, label, placard, and permit requirements. In the event of a spill, you need to call the MassDEP’s Emergency Response line at 1-888-304-1133. Learn more about the reporting thresholds here.
Before Your Self-Transport, Contact Your Disposal Facility
While self-transporting costs significantly less and allows you to transport on your own schedule, don’t forget to contact your disposal or recycling business first before loading up. Depending on what you have and quantities, certain restrictions may apply or materials may not be accepted. Make sure to know before you go!
Through our Small Business Quick Serv Program, NEDT Household Hazardous Products Collection Centers accept commercial hazardous waste from MA very small quantity generators (VSQG) that are registered with the Mass DEP and have a valid EPA ID number. Call NEDT at 1 (866) 769-1621 prior to delivering your materials as important restrictions apply. Learn more about what we accept and where we are located. If you’re an SQG or LQG business, reach out to us on our commercial site.
When you encounter a product you can’t pour down the drain or throw in the garbage to dispose of it, chances are you’ve got a hazardous household product. Depending on where you live, you’ve got different options. Below are the most common ways homeowners dispose of hazardous products they accumulate, including helpful links for Massachusetts residents for disposing of household products.
City and County Household Disposal Events
Many cities and county municipalities host events for disposing of household hazardous waste. These usually occur once or twice a year with set drop-off points. These can generally be found on your city’s website under their trash and recycling programs. Many have a restricted list of what they’ll accept or have weight limits, so make sure to review it ahead of time.
For residents of Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) has put together this page with handy links for city and town websites: https://www.mass.gov/lists/massachusetts-city-town-recycling-links
Note that due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, many events have been canceled until further notice.
Charity and Non-Profit Donation Programs
If you’ve got products that you don’t want but are still usable, such as CRT monitors, cleaning supplies, or construction materials like paint, you might check in with your local charities and other non-profits. Each program will take only certain things, but they can often help with pickup. Make sure everything you’re looking to provide is still safe for use.
For Massachusetts’ residents, MassDEP has put together a list of non-profit donation and reuse programs here: https://www.mass.gov/lists/donation-reuse
Household Hazardous Waste Disposal Facilities
If you can’t wait for the next community events and have waste that can’t be donated, it’s time to turn to garbage and disposal facilities.
- The Local Dump: While some products can be disposed of at home in the garbage, most “hazardous” household waste are products that can’t be thrown away. While larger items can be taken directly to your city’s dump, if it’s hazardous, it will be turned away.
- Disposal Programs: While it varies from city to city, some waste management companies also provide hazardous disposal services. These are usually on certain days, have restrictions, and have additional costs.
- Disposal Businesses: Residential hazardous disposal businesses are rare, but it’s always worth looking into them for increased convenience, including hours, pick-up services, and expanded lists of what they accept.
NEDT’s Household Hazardous Products Collection Centers came out of the desire to provide alternatives to the often complex and rare opportunities for residents to get hazardous products out of their homes. Our tagline is “Because Household Hazardous Waste Shouldn’t Be Difficult,” and we stand behind it. Learn what we accept and our locations and times, and make sure to reach out if you have any questions.