Hazardous Waste Removal Technology Improves

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(Newswire.net — November 2, 2015) — Waste is everywhere, from our homes to high-tech industrial settings. According to the Basel Convention, waste is defined as a substance or object for which the law requires disposal. While it’s easy enough for the average person to toss a piece of trash and forget about it, the story runs much deeper. The waste removal industry has worked tirelessly for centuries to keep toxic refuse away from the general population.

Waste Removal: A Historical Timeline

National waste removal practices have evolved for two major reasons. First, research and practices around public health have significantly tightened restrictions for waste management; second, advancements in environmental research have required waste removal to minimally impact the natural world.

Here’s a breakdown of how the industry has changed.

1800s. Prior to the 19th century, there were few sanitary regulations in place. Illness was rampant, but its causes were unknown. In England, sanitation theory dictated that filth contributed to human illness. Realizing that the cleanliness of water made a huge difference in public health, the United States adopted its first public health code in New York City in 1866.

As the country became more urbanized, sanitation efforts continued to focus on water management rather than waste management. As the Industrial Revolution progressed, however, more waste was produced than ever before. At the same time, the 1870s saw epidemics of cholera and yellow fever.

1900s. During the first half of the 20th century, waste management fell by the wayside as World War I, the Great Depression, and World War II ravaged the nation. Preoccupied with other matters, the government made no substantial changes to waste removal policies.

By the late 1920s, regulations finally began to prohibit certain disposal practices, such as dumping waste by rivers and streams. Instead, landfills became widespread among swamplands, while hundreds of incinerators were installed across the country.

Even during the postwar era, open dumps were commonplace, and only 37 percent of landfills actively followed regulations. However, the 1960s saw the beginning of effective recycling programs, starting with aluminum can buybacks in Olympia, Washington. Recycling became more commonplace as companies began buying back containers.

Moving into the 70s and 80s, restrictions became more stringent. Standards began dictating “cradle to grave” guidelines for waste to help reduce its impact on the environment.

Congress passed the Hazardous and Solid Waste Amendments in 1984. Landfills were required to install comprehensive gas and groundwater monitoring program to reduce pollution, and the “open dump” was history – at least, from a regulation standpoint.

Waste Management Today

Today, the EPA’s standards for waste classification have had a huge impact on the management process. Hazardous wastes, in particular, must be well contained and properly disposed of to minimize their impact on human health and the environment.

The “hazardous” label applies to waste that is corrosive, toxic, electronic, biomedical, flammable, or reactive, among others. Hazardous waste can come from any number of places, including industrial, commercial, and household sources.

Waste management is a critical component of everyday functions that you may not even realize. For example, electricity generated by fossil fuels produces a number of byproducts simply by necessity. So while a conventional municipal dumpster is good enough for the average household, industrial functions necessitate more robust technology for waste removal, as with carbon steel roll-off dumpsters.

Waste Removal Matters

Instead of garbage piling up in the streets, we have systems in place to take care of the problem efficiently, helping ensure the health of our population and the surrounding environment. Next time you take your trash and recycling out to the curb, take a minute to appreciate how far we’ve come.