3 Hidden Business Consequences of Mishandling Hazardous Waste

It’s very easy from a business perspective to simply focus on minimizing hazardous waste expenses with the fastest carrier, in order to get rid of both hazardous and non-hazardous waste.   Another temptation is to take shortcuts or the lowest priced carrier without really checking to be sure it’s being disposed of properly. Though short-term it seems like a great solution, there are larger potential issues at stake.

There are several hidden consequences to your business should your hazardous waste or non-hazardous waste be mishandled.

Legal Vulnerability

Most companies are not aware of how legally vulnerable you are if hazardous waste is disposed of improperly. Even though state laws may vary, both federal and state government are in agreement that you are legally responsible for the disposal of waste by the company you hire- even if you’ve entered an agreement with a waste disposal company.  While the disposal company may be held accountable for mismanagement, you are still responsible for the disposal, or lack thereof.

Do Your Due Diligence in Choosing a Hazardous Waste Company

Make sure you are doing your due diligence on the hazardous waste disposal company you select. Ask for references, ask about their experience, and ask what measures they take to ensure safety and compliance.

Financial Threat

When you think of financial threat in connection with hazardous waste disposal, it’s generally about the cost of disposal, or fines if it’s not disposed of properly. These are real costs but separate from the larger financial threat.

Individual or Community Harm

Most businesses don’t think of the financial exposure from improper waste disposal. And we’re not talking about the fines, etc. in direct relation to the disposal itself.  The larger hidden cost comes from harming a community or individual as a result of improper waste disposal.

Common costs include healthcare costs, environmental or company damages, not to mention federal penalties on top of that. There are also potential legal damages and costs not covered by business or medical malpractice insurance.

Negative Publicity

The final major business consequence to mishandling hazardous waste is negative publicity. While this is intangible, it’s also priceless and very difficult to rebuild. With anyone’s reputation, it takes several years to build and only 1 mishap to make it crumble.

Today’s media operate in real time, and a negative story sells. So if your company (or the waste disposal company you choose) mishandles hazardous waste and the media discover both the mishandling, as well as any legal or financial action that’s needed as a result, expect to yourself on the front cover of your local paper. Rebuilding your company’s reputation is time consuming and expensive, in both financial, time and employee resources.

How to Protect Yourself

The most important thing you can do for yourself is take the time to research and screen hazardous waste companies before choosing one. While price is important, the small savings from a cheaper carrier is completely washed away by the larger expenses of picking up the pieces of a mishap.

Ask your hazardous waste company:

  • What’s your experience in handling (your company’s type of waste)?
  • How do you enforce safety in hazardous waste handling?
  • How do you enforce and ensure compliance in hazardous waste handling?
  • Do you have references?

Asking these simple questions can help weed out companies who take shortcuts, don’t follow safety precautions or ensure compliance to safety and environmental standards.

If you’re looking for more information or a hazardous waste disposal company, please contact us at 1-877-777-6708.