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Hazardous Waste

Definition - What does Hazardous Waste mean?

Hazardous waste (also known as toxic waste), as defined by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), refers to any type of solid or liquid waste that has the potential to cause harm to human or animal health or contribute to environmental damage. Most hazardous waste comes from industrial spillage, medical waste, electronic waste, toxic wastes from power plants, etc.

Safeopedia explains Hazardous Waste

The EPA separates hazardous waste into four separate groups based on its characteristics:

  • Listed Wastes: Wastes that the EPA has deemed as hazardous. These come from common manufacturing and industrial processes, specific industries and commercial chemical products.
  • Characteristic Wastes: Wastes that do not meet the criteria for listed wastes, but that may be corrosive, flammable, reactive or toxic.
  • Universal Wastes: Common hazardous wastes found in things like batteries, pesticides and fluorescent light bulbs.
  • Mixed Wastes: Waste that contains both radioactive and hazardous waste materials.
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