When we discard coffee cups or water bottles in the recycling bin, getting rid of the physical container is usually at the forefront of our minds, rather than its liquid contents.
Even though water covers around 71% of the Earth’s surface, liquid waste management is often an overlooked issue that affects many workplaces, including commercial kitchens, construction sites, and the automotive industry. Domestic households must also be aware of their responsibilities to ensure the safe disposal of liquid waste.
Effective liquid waste disposal is as important as having clean drinking water. If liquid waste isn’t disposed of correctly, it can harm human health, wildlife, and the environment.
Disposing of liquid waste isn’t as simple as just flushing it away. It may be tempting to pour unwanted or unusable liquid down the sink, but our drains aren’t built to carry all liquid matter.
Here, we detail some liquid waste examples and the best ways to manage your liquid waste to ensure you are fully compliant with disposal regulations.
But first, let’s define what liquid waste is.
Liquid waste is any waste product that exists in liquid form. It could be leftover paint from a house renovation project, a by-product of a manufacturing process, or contaminated cooking oil from a commercial kitchen.
Depending on the type of liquid waste, it’s classed as either hazardous or non-hazardous. Each substance has different guidelines for its removal, but by law, all liquid waste streams must be managed and treated appropriately before discharge into watercourses, including sewers.
Liquid waste is a broad term that covers many different types of fluids produced by residential, commercial, industrial, and agricultural environments. Some of the most common examples of liquid waste are:
Legal and safe liquid waste disposal is imperative to protect humans, wildlife, and the environment. As there are numerous types of liquid waste, it’s important to understand the risk they pose to the environment and an effective liquid waste management strategy. This requires a different approach to the rest of your domestic, commercial, or industrial waste disposal.
Improper handling of liquid waste can be disastrous for the environment by causing several types of pollution, so it’s imperative you get it right.
Here are some ways liquid waste disposal can harm the environment:
Surface water pollution
If waste fluids contaminate a water supply, they can change its chemical composition. Animals and humans use groundwater and surface water sources as drinking water — if the water is contaminated, it can make them seriously ill.
If liquid waste is disposed of incorrectly, it can seep into the soil, disrupting plant growth, destroying natural habitats, and cause biodiversity loss. It can also threaten the balance of aquatic ecosystems and kill marine organisms.
The type of method used for liquid waste disposal can also harm the environment. For example, incineration can generate toxic contaminants and greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
Getting rid of liquid waste from grease, oil, and paints to raw chemicals and controlled substances isn’t as simple as pouring it down the drain. The short-term and long-term effects of incorrectly disposing hazardous liquid waste are eye-opening, which is why it’s important to do so correctly.
Four of the most common liquid waste disposal processes include:
It’s recommended to call on the assistance of a professional liquid waste management company to remove small and large quantities of hazardous and non-hazardous liquid waste. This will ensure your liquid waste disposal is carried out responsibly and complies with regulations.
Usually, you will place your liquid waste in appropriate drums for the waste management company to collect. They then transport them to a recycling facility, where it is treated and disposed of, with maximum consideration for the environment's safety. Where liquid waste goes next on its disposal journey depends on its type.
Some liquid wastes only need light treatment, while more heavily contaminated wastes require aggressive treatment before being disposed of. Many liquid wastes go directly into deep wells, industrial wells, municipal sewer systems, and saltwater disposal wells.
Most wastewater that accumulates in UK sewers daily is spread across agricultural land, while any clean enough to reuse can be disposed of in rivers or oceans. It can also be effective for commercial water needs such as flushing toilets.
Other liquid waste can be recycled to create new products or have useful material extracted from it.
If you need wheelie bins to dispose of hazardous or non-hazardous liquid waste safely, contact Wheelie Bin Solutions today to find out how we can help. Many of our bins have drip edges on the inside of the lid, and are easy to clean, maintain, and keep hygienic in-between collections.