Hazardous waste materials (or hazmats) are dangerous materials produced as a byproduct of industrial and domestic processes. Hazmats can cause serious harm to human health and the environment on exposure. For this reason, the transportation and disposal of hazmats are heavily regulated by the EPA.

For transporting hazmats for your business, consider hiring Go Hazmat Hub, a bespoke, innovative, and affordable 3PL solution to ensure your operations are fully-complaint with waste disposal regulations and industry standards.

There are many types of hazmats, and you might have seen many types of hazard warnings on hazmat cargo. But do you know that, according to EPA regulations, there are only three basic types of hazmats? Yes, that’s right! The EPA has classified hazmats in an easy-to-understand manner for everyone at the surface level.

In this article, we will cover the three major types of hazmats so that you can familiarize yourself with hazmat classification.

What Makes a Material Hazardous?

According to EPA regulations, any material that fits into the criteria of solid waste can be termed hazardous waste material. Solid waste is any garbage material released from a waste treatment plant, a factory, or a resource extraction process. In short, if we make or break something, hazmats are sure to be around.

An important thing to remember is that the term ‘solid waste’ is not restricted to only physically solid materials. Solid waste also includes semi-solid materials and harmful gases in solid containers.

The EPA has further grouped solid waste into three types of hazardous materials – Listed, Characteristic, and Mixed Radiological and Hazardous Wastes, respectively.

The Different Types of Hazmat Waste

Listed Waste Materials

Listed materials fall under four categories: F, K, P, and U lists.   

F-Listed: These materials come from non-specific sources that are components of manufactured products in factories. Examples are wastewaters that form sludge of industrial byproducts and spend chemical formulations. There are 39 F subcategories in total.

K-Listed: These materials have specific sources that can be traced back to industrial sectors. Examples of K-listed materials are waste from wood processing, explosives manufacturing, and oil refining. There are more than 180 K subcategories across 13 industries. 

P-Listed: These represent pure raw chemicals that are acutely toxic. Containers of P materials are considered harmful and need to be carefully disposed of. There are over 200 subcategories of P-listed materials.

U-Listed: U-listed materials are unused materials that need to be disposed of in a similar manner to P-listed materials. There are hundreds of materials that fall in this category.

Both P and U lists contain commercial chemical products used in industrial processes that pose serious environmental and human health risks if not handled properly. You can learn more about the lists here.

Characteristics of Waste Materials

These materials are defined by the 4-property characteristics of chemical hazards: ignitability, corrosivity, reactivity, and toxicity. When we talk about hazmats, characteristic waste is what we usually refer to.

Ignitable Materials: These are highly flammable materials that catch fire under room temperature conditions or temperatures below 60 degrees C. Many compressed gases, liquids, and reactive solids are included in this group.

Corrosive Materials: Corrosive chemicals can erode other surfaces on contact. These include strong acids (pH less than 2) and bases (pH greater than 12.5). Corrosive materials can cause significant bodily harm and, in some cases, damage steel, which can increase the risk of contamination.

Reactive Materials: These are non-stable materials that can react with water or other chemicals to cause an explosion. Examples include explosive materials and alkaline materials in batteries.

Toxic Materials: These materials pose a risk to living beings when ingested. They can be in the form of solids, liquids, and gases. Care should be taken while handling toxic materials as there is a risk of death to humans and animals.

Mixed Radiological and Hazardous Wastes

This category refers to waste materials that include radioactive substances. Radioactive waste requires specialized handling because of the health risks associated with radiation. In addition to full compliance with EPA regulations, radioactive hazmats need to be handled according to Nuclear Energy Commission rules.

Get Compliance for Hazmat Processing for Your Business with Go Hazmat Hub

Go Hazmat Hub is a specialized hazmat transportation provider that serves the entire US region.

Our specialized and certified 3PL hazmat brokerage agents can help your company meet all necessary safety regulations. From segregation and management of hazmat waste to safe transportation to compliance and documentation, we handle everything so that you can focus on your business.

Let’s talk today to get started!