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learn how to manage waste

manage dangerous waste

What is Dangerous Waste?

It’s more common than you think. Most businesses in Washington generate some type of dangerous waste—waste that’s potentially harmful to our health and environment. You are required to determine whether the waste your business generates is dangerous.

Washington State uses the term dangerous waste, while federal law uses the term hazardous waste. Washington’s rules are more protective of the environment and cover some wastes that are not included in the federal definition.

These are some examples of common business activities that generate dangerous waste:

Business Activities

Common Dangerous Wastes*

Construction and Demolition Adhesives, aerosol cans, paint, solvents, solvent-soiled rags, asbestos, mercury-containing thermostats or switches, cleaners, thinners, treated wood
Printing Inks, solvent-based inks, solvent-soiled rags
Electroplating and Metal Finishing Solvents, paint strippers, thinners, still bottoms, paint booth filters, cyanide, acid, aerosol cans
Vehicle repair and maintenance Solvents, waste oils, antifreeze, transmission fluids, brake fluids
Medical care and dentistry
Laboratory work
Lab chemicals, waste pharmaceuticals, dental amalgam, developing solution
Dry cleaning Perchloroethylene (PERC), still bottoms, used filters, wash water or lint contaminated with PERC
Painting and coating Furniture and wood refinishers Paint and paint products, cleanup water, solvents, and thinner
Machinery and plant maintenance and operations Oil, antifreeze, solvents, paints, and thinners
Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance Fertilizers, pesticides, cleaners, and disinfectants
*If you don’t have a use for something and it will be discarded, it’s a waste. If it's a product that will be used, it may not be waste. Learn the difference between wastes and products.

Dangerous waste includes these examples and many other waste types. Even discarded cleaning products and light bulbs can be dangerous waste. You can start by taking a look at the materials you use and the wastes that remain. If you have products labeled “DANGER,” “FLAMMABLE,” “WARNING,” or “POISON,” and they become a waste or are mixed into a waste – you might have a dangerous waste.

Determine whether your waste is dangerous from our step-by-step guide and video: Designate Your Waste—Is it Dangerous?