Hygiene Services: 0330 058 2636
Zero Waste to Landfill
Local Depots
Free Site Surveys
Fully Accredited

Hazardous or Offensive Waste – What’s the Difference?

When it comes to waste disposal there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution. It can be a confusing time when a business first needs to consider the types of waste it produces and figure out how they should be handled. Particularly when trying to distinguish between Offensive and Hazardous waste.

Hazardous Offensive Waste

Professional waste management services provide a range of waste disposal services to accommodate the varying types of waste a business may need removing from their premises. Over the past 10 years of providing waste disposal services for companies of all sizes, we’ve found that the distinction between Offensive and Hazardous waste can be particularly confusing.

With a complicated web of requirements, regulations and legislation surrounding these types of waste it’s not surprising that people often get confused. Let’s look at exactly what the difference between hazardous waste and offensive waste really is and put the confusion to rest.

Offensive Waste

As the name suggests, if someone were to come into contact with offensive waste, they are likely to find it an unpleasant experience, although not a particularly dangerous one. Whilst this type of waste may be offensive, it is non-clinical, and it is non-infectious, so the health risk posed by offensive waste is considered relatively low when it’s been properly separated.

Offensive waste is produced every day by homes and businesses across the country. Common examples of things you are likely to find in offensive waste are:

  • Hygiene waste
  • Sanitary waste
  • Nappies
  • Plasters
  • Protective clothing
  • Animal waste

Whilst not always dangerous, most people would agree this is the type of waste that still needs properly handling and disposing of, particularly when it is being produced at a place of work and possibly somewhere public facing.

Hygiene measures and precautions still need taking to ensure the risk of cross-contamination and infection is kept to an absolute minimum. This is where a professional, certified waste disposal service comes into play. They will ensure your offensive waste is disposed of regularly, safely and efficiently.

Costs can be kept down on disposing of offensive waste thanks to the waste not being required to be transported as dangerous goods, unlike our next waste category – hazardous waste.

Hazardous Waste

Unlike offensive waste, if someone were to come into contact with hazardous waste, not only are they likely to find it unpleasant, but they are also going to encounter a serious health risk. The classification of hazardous waste indicates that the contents of the waste present a substantial threat to public or environmental health.

With that in mind it’s no surprise that the list of items that can be classified as hazardous is long. Common contents of hazardous waste includes:

  • Cleaning products
  • Vehicle fluids
  • Electronic equipment
  • Paints and solvents
  • Clinical waste

Clinical waste is a waste classification of its own, but it also comes under the hazardous classification due to the risk of infection it can pose. Clinical waste covers another long list of waste items which originate from medical, dental or veterinary work.

The nature of this waste means strict rules and regulations surrounding every aspect of its existence from the creation of the waste through to the collection, transportation and disposal of the waste. Businesses that produce hazardous waste are also responsible for:

  • Preventing the production of waste
  • Reusing or recycling their waste
  • Disposing of hazardous waste safely

As such, hazardous waste disposal should be considered as the final option after it has been determined that the production of the waste is necessary and the reuse or recycling of the waste not viable.

In Brief…

Offensive waste produced in the workplace is very similar to the sort of waste produced in the household every day. It’s unpleasant but doesn’t pose a serious risk to public health or the environment. As such it is relatively cheap to dispose of because it doesn’t need to treated as dangerous goods in transit.

Hazardous waste on the other hand is dangerous and poses a serious threat of infection. It needs to be handled with care and disposed of by a professional, certified waste management company. Clinical waste comes under the hazardous waste banner. Businesses should first aim to avoid producing hazardous waste, them look to reuse or recycle, before considering disposal.

For a free waste disposal audit or for free waste disposal help and advice give the team at TWC Group a call today. We are the leading
waste disposal service provider throughout the North East, Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire helping companies stay safe, hygienic and compliant.