Class 8 Hazardous Waste Guide

Class 8 hazardous waste is one of the most destructive types of hazardous waste as it causes complete destruction of human skin within a single touch. This type of hazardous waste are the chemicals used in movies to scare you off.

If you’re a hazardous waste generator, it’s time to fully protect yourself and your employees by learning more about class 8 hazardous waste, the dangers they pose to the environment, and how to dispose of them properly.

What is Class 8 Hazardous Waste?

Hazardous waste is divided into nine classes broken up by specific hazardous properties. Each class features unique packaging, shipping, and disposal regulations, and many are separated into even smaller groups.

Class 8 hazardous waste is corrosives: materials that can eat away at skin and steel. Waste is designated class 8 depending on its chemical composition (wastes with a pH of less than 2.0 or greater than 12.5 are considered corrosive) and their ability to destroy living tissues, metals, or other materials upon contact.

Interestingly enough, the original EPA guidelines for class 8 hazardous waste suggested pH values under 3 should be labeled hazardous waste, but a common argument during these discussions was that many popular sodas would then be classified as class 8 hazardous waste.

A 2015 study revealed that many popular soda and sports drink brands featured pH levels below 3, which would have been considered corrosive materials under the original regulation suggestions.

Note that some states recognize liquid and solid waste as corrosive; the RCRA only recognizes liquid waste as corrosive.

Common Examples of Class 8 Hazardous Waste

  • Sulfuric Acid – commonly used in industrial processes, such as metal cleaning, mineral processing, and battery manufacturing
  • Hydrochloric Acid – used in various industrial applications, including metal cleaning, pickling, and pH adjustment
  • Nitric Acid -used in industries such as metal finishing, explosives manufacturing, and fertilizer production
  • Sodium Hydroxide – a strong alkaline substance used in industries like pulp and paper, textile manufacturing, and water treatment
  • Ammonium Hydroxide – solution of ammonia in water, commonly used in cleaning products, agriculture, and various industrial applications
  • Phosphoric Acid – used in the production of fertilizers, detergents, and food and beverage processing
  • Potassium Hydroxide – used in industries such as soap and detergent manufacturing, chemical processing, and pharmaceuticals
  • Battery Acid – acidic electrolyte found in lead-acid batteries commonly used in vehicles, uninterruptible power supplies (UPS), and other applications
  • Sodium Hypochlorite – corrosive liquid commonly used as a disinfectant and bleach in water treatment, swimming pools, and household cleaning products
  • Hydrofluoric Acid – a highly corrosive and toxic acid used in various industrial processes, including metal etching, glass manufacturing, and petroleum refining

Click here for a complete list of Class 8 Hazardous Waste Materials.

Is Class 8 Hazardous Waste Dangerous?

Class 8 hazardous wastes are usually strong acids (pH level below 2.0) or strong bases (pH level above 12.5). The most important property of class 8 hazardous wastes is their corrosivity. 

That means anything labeled a class 8 hazardous waste can potentially destroy skin, metals, inorganic and organic polymers, and other organic compounds.

If class 8 hazardous waste touches your skin, the corrosive materials may cause burns, tissue damage, and permanent scarring. Ingestion or inhalation of corrosive substances sometimes causes internal injuries, including damage to the digestive system, respiratory tract, and other organs.

When leaked out into the environment, class 8 hazardous waste causes detrimental effects on aquatic life, plants, and ecosystems. Corrosive substances also leach into the ground, impairing its fertility and posing long-term risks to the environment.

Sources and Generators of Class 8 Hazardous Waste

There are several industries and sectors that produce class 8 hazardous waste. These include chemical manufacturing companies that produce acids, bases, and other corrosive substances, battery manufacturers, lead-acid car batteries, and other manufacturing industries.

Electronic manufacturers, the metal finishing and plating industries, and petroleum refining industries will likely generate class 8 hazardous waste.

If you are a generator of corrosive waste, it’s essential that you work with trained hazardous waste disposal professionals to avoid severe injuries and breaking government regulations.

Handling and Management of Class 8 Hazardous Waste

All hazardous waste falls under the Resource and Recovery Act, which permits the EPA to control hazardous waste from cradle to grave.

Federal and state regulations for handling, transporting, and disposing of class 8 hazardous waste may differ. Check with local authorities on specific guidelines to avoid unnecessary fines or work alongside a professional hazardous waste disposal company that can help.

When storing class 8 hazardous waste, ensure that corrosive waste is separated from other types of hazardous waste to avoid chemical reactions. 

Do not use metal containers, as the corrosive materials can seep through the metal onto the floor or your employee’s skin. Instead, find a poly container or plastic-lined metal container.

These containers must be labeled with the Class 8 Hazardous Waste sticker to protect anyone nearby from the materials inside.

If you violate RCRA regulations, the EPA and state authorities can issue fines and order corrective actions. These situations often are found during DEP inspections.

The best way to avoid fines, penalties, and serious injuries due to hazardous waste management is to work with a trained hazardous waste disposal company. With 25 years of experience, the HWH Environmental team will help you solve your class 8 hazardous waste problems.

Environmental and Health Impacts of Improper Handling and Disposal

Corrosive waste poses a great danger for humans and animals as these materials can burn through human skin and even cause death through inhalation. Properly training your employees on how to handle and manage corrosive waste is essential to protect themselves and your business.

Different types of class 8 hazardous waste have different effects on the environment. For example, Sulphuric Acid can cause a disastrous reaction when contacting water. Other corrosive materials create harmful gasses that cause long-term health concerns when inhaled over long periods.

While all hazardous waste is dangerous, corrosive materials are unique because they can physically hurt you immediately through touch and inhalation.

HWH Environmental’s Hazardous Waste Disposal Services

HWH Environmental has delivered high-quality, fast hazardous waste disposal solutions for 25 years. 

Whether transporting class 8 hazardous waste or disposing of expired hand sanitizer, our team has the tools and knowledge to customize your disposal solution with detailed pricing and flexible scheduling.

Author: Mark Chocola

With over 25 years of experience in the hazardous waste disposal industry, Mark Chocola is one of the driving forces behind HWH Environmental that are committed to providing safe, compliant, and cost-effective hazardous waste solutions. His deep industry knowledge and dedication to customer service have made HWH Environmental a trusted partner for businesses across the United States.