In the “Good Old Days” after servicing or repairing your equipment, we just threw out most things, and occasionally we might recycle a few items. Times have changed, and have gotten much more complicated. Recycling is a required part of our everyday life, at home and at work, but there are rules and regulations that govern recycling. How and what should I recycle?
Now there are several considerations:
Are you being environmentally responsible?
What are the regulations regarding proper disposal?
How much will it cost to properly dispose of it?
Can it be recycled? If yes, is there a value to it?
In our industry, batteries, oil, filters, aerosol containers, dirt, and steel are some of the bigger concerns for proper handling and responsible disposal.
For the purpose of this article, let’s concentrate on Batteries, Filters, and Oils.
Let’s talk about batteries. I’m going to concentrate on Automotive Style and Industrial Batteries. While disposing of your batteries for your flashlights and phones, etc., has to be done legally, our advice is to contact your local municipal authority with those questions, such as http://ocrra.org/programs_battery.asp . Automotive batteries are also pretty easy to take care of. Any place that sells batteries has to offer to take them back and dispose of them legally. It actually can be a money making deal, if you have enough quantity and the pricing is right, to make it economical. For example, if you have a $8/hour employee, and he spends 1 hour driving to the local parts store to get a $5 credit for the battery, it doesn’t make economical sense. On the other hand if you throw it out in the trash, the fines are extraordinary. That is why most companies have batteries changed by a supplier of the service. They let them worry about disposing of it.
Industrial Batteries can be worth a lot of money, sometime in the hundreds of dollars, but the problem is more complicated as fewer places can handle them legally. There many regulations regarding the transportation of those batteries as these batteries are considered Hazardous Materials, and any truck transporting them, has to have a driver that has a Hazmat Rider for their license. There is additional paperwork needed, and the vehicle has to be placarded properly. If the battery is waste, there are even more regulations to transport it legally! The point is while there is a lot more money in recycling the expense in handling them, and transporting them, also often surpasses the value of an individual battery.
Oils and Filters can also be an issue. Most municipalities require that all oil filters are drained and sometimes crushed, before they are disposed of. This makes great sense, draining and crushing the filters greatly reduces the amount of oil that is trapped in the filter, and usually makes it safe to be put in a landfill. The oil taken from the machine and drained from the filter also has to be handled responsibly and legally. Again the oil may be worth some money, but the handling and transporting of it has to be overcome before any money is realized. Oils also have their own set regulations, and contamination can be a real problem. When I say contamination, I’m not talking about PCP’s. Antifreeze and Parts Cleaners can change it from a waste with some value to a Hazardous Waste. Hazardous Waste is almost always very expensive to deal with. So consider: Do your homework. Know what is in your oils, before you attempt to dispose of them. Spending some money on testing, may save you big money for improperly disposing of oil, and if mixed with other people’s oil in the disposal, you could be held responsible not only for your oil, but the oil that is contaminated. Simple mistakes can be Very Costly.
The moral of the story, if you are going to handle disposing of your own batteries, waste oils, and filters, do your homework first, simple mistakes can be very expensive.
If you hire this work out, this is not a “Get Out of Jail Free Card”. You have to make sure your supplier is following the rules; your responsibility does not necessarily end when your waste leaves your property. If they illegally dispose of your waste, and you can be associated with the problem, the odds are you will share in the expense of the clean up. It is a lot cheaper to dispose of things properly than it is to clean it up afterwards. It is not unreasonable to trust your supplier, but I’d also recommend that you verify they are handling their (your) waste properly.
The other reason, and the most important reason, is everyone’s obligation to be environmentally responsible.
For more information contact your Local Municipality or your T&J Representative.
Or Contact our EH&S Manager, Dave Bennett @ firstname.lastname@example.org or at 315-413-4146.