Dealing with hazardous materials is no small matter, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has recently taken steps to collect more data on improving hazardous waste requirements in the world of retail. Whether you manage in retail or healthcare facilities, you may still want to do as the EPA is doing and start gathering your own set of information to better handle hazardous waste.
Getting to know spew
The Notice of Data Availability is meant to better analyze new information and highlight widespread issues concerning hazardous waste regulation, with the EPA accepting comments on the NODA within 60 days of the notice's publication. It's looking for any insight into the handling of hazardous waste from any variety of retail stores, ranging from electronic stores to gas stations to clothing boutiques. While some of these stores may seem like unlikely contributors to the discussion of hazardous waste, it's important to remember that hazardous waste is anything that could be harmful to people or the environment, and may be any number of items, including cleaning fluids, manufacturing byproduct, pesticides, batteries, aerosols and thermostats.
As for information, the EPA is interested in how often waste is produced, what kind, how it's stored and how it's transported. It also wants to know about any sustainability efforts made by retail facilities. If you have any comments you would like on NODA, you can submit on regulations.gov.
Learning a lesson
Sending your own thoughts on regulations can be helpful because it could help other facility managers do their jobs better. However, you should also take note of NODA because you should be reviewing how you handle hazardous waste. Are you, in fact, handling and transporting waste in the most efficient and safest manner possible? Do you know what to do with batteries or flammable liquid wastes?
While you may have implemented strategies to deal with these chemicals in the past, your standards may have easily fallen if you haven't kept proper documentation or routinely evaluated your methods. In addition to making sure that you know what you're doing, you'll also want to train employees so that they know how to handle hazardous waste as well.
Computerized maintenance management software is a valuable tool in this regard. Use it to keep track of maintenance checks, to maintain an employee training schedule and even keep a checklist of the correct process for handling certain wastes. You can also use it to help out the EPA by making note of any issues you've come across while dealing with hazardous materials.