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Managing or reducing hazardous waste

Home >> Business Hazardous Waste >> Managing or reducing hazardous waste

Managing or reducing hazardous waste

This advice is for Small Quantity Generators (SQGs). SQGs are businesses that:

  • Create less than 220 pounds (about 27 gallons) of hazardous waste per month and
  • Create less than 2.2 pounds (about a quart) of acutely hazardous waste** per month, and
  • Store less than 2,220 (about five 55 gallon drums) of hazardous waste

The state dangerous waste regulations, the federal Department of Transportation regulations, and simple common sense require that SQGs do the following:

  • Identify all hazardous wastes at the business site. Get information from the Safety Data Sheet (external link) or the product vendor.
  • Remain an SQG by generating less than 220 pounds of hazardous waste (or 2.2 pounds of certain wastes) per month (or batch) and accumulating less than 2,200 pounds.
  • Try to reduce, reuse, recycle, or treat, your waste instead of disposing of it.
  • If you must dispose of it, and you produce small amounts, you may qualify for free business hazardous waste disposal.
  • If you produce larger amounts of hazardous waste a vendor can help you recycle, treat or dispose of waste.
  • SQGs may transport their own waste, but they must still comply with Department of Transportation regulations (external link). You can also arrange for a transporter to haul the waste, but businesses are ultimately responsible for the waste they have produced.
  • Keep records such as receipts, bills of lading, manifests and logs showing amounts and types of wastes with destinations and dates.
  • Comply with other regulations pertaining to hazardous materials and wastes, including health and safety, fire code, air pollution, surface and ground water, sanitary sewer and solid waste regulations.

Reduce waste

The best way to deal with hazardous waste is not to produce it — or to produce less of it. A business may be able to eliminate hazardous waste entirely—or become a small quantity generator—by doing the following:

  • not using hazardous materials
  • refusing unneeded vendor samples
  • storing wastes separately to avoid contamination
  • avoiding chlorinated solvents
  • offering excess material to other businesses through the Industrial Materials Exchange, or IMEX

Recycle materials on-site or through a recycler

Recycling means there is no need to dispose of excess material as waste. To find a recycler for a specific waste, such as antifreeze, see the Waste Directory. The Directory also offers information about how to choose a reliable vendor. Call the Business Waste Line at 206-263-8899 or email them at, for information about on-site recycling, equipment, vendors and other considerations, such as warranties, fire codes and costs.

Give your waste away

Try our Industrial Materials Exchange (IMEX).

Treat the waste

Treating waste may reduce the volume of waste or make the waste less hazardous. The business that produced the waste can treat it when following the guidance from Department of Ecology. Or, a permitted waste vendor can treat it. Call the Business Waste Line at 206-263-8899 for information.

Dispose of waste through a permitted hazardous waste management facility (also called a treatment, storage and disposal facility, or TSDF).

A business can deal directly with a TSDF or use a hazardous waste broker or transporter as an intermediary. Since the business that generates the waste is responsible for the ultimate fate of that waste, it's important to select reputable companies.

Manage the waste as “universal waste”

In Washington, waste batteries, mercury-containing thermostats and most fluorescent lamps are regulated as "universal waste." Waste management requirements for universal wastes are streamlined to promote their recycling. For example, if universal wastes are recycled, they don't need to be manifested or counted toward waste generation totals. The ultimate destination must be a recycling facility or a treatment, storage and disposal facility. Generators, collectors or consolidators of universal waste are called "Universal Waste Handlers." Waste management requirements are defined by the Washington dangerous waste regulations (173-303 WAC). Although pesticides are a federal universal waste, Washington State did not include them as a universal waste. Waste pesticides require designation and the full management requirements of the Dangerous Waste Regulations.