At ERC we handle and process nearly 60,000 drums every year, so we know the ins and outs of containerized waste disposal. Whether your company produces non-hazardous or hazardous containerized waste, we ensure compliant waste storage and disposal.

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Hazardous vs Non-Hazardous Containerized Waste

All companies produce waste, and classifying waste as hazardous or non-hazardous can lead to a big difference in disposal costs. Here are the key differences between the two.

Non-Hazardous Waste

Non-hazardous waste poses no harm to personal health or the environment. It includes garbage, refuse, and sludge that are created from a variety of industries, including industrial, commercial, mining, agriculture, construction and municipalities. Non-hazardous waste comes in solid, liquid, or semi-solid states. It includes commercial products or by-products of manufacturing process.  This is type of waste usually found in roll-off containers because it is generally safe.

Hazardous Waste

Hazardous waste, on the other hand, has the potential to be dangerous or harmful to your health or the environment. This category of waste is comprised of liquids, solids, gases or sludge. It includes commercial products or by-products of manufacturing process.

Choosing the Right Containers

When choosing the proper container to store the waste that your business produces, there are a few factors that need to be considered to ensure proper safety practices.

  • Hazardous and non-hazardous waste materials can be stored and transported in pails, drums and transportation containers, like tankers or railcars
  • Containers should be durable, weather-resistant, and corrosion-resistant
  • The proper container needs to be compatible with the materials being stored. For example, highly-corrosive materials should be stored in plastic drums or plastic-lined steel drums. Steel drums work best for non-corrosive and flammable liquids.
  • If you are reusing drums for waste storage, it’s important know if the previously stored materials and current materials are compatible or non-compatible. A suggestion from the EPA, if you frequently reuse containers, consider “assigning” wastes to certain containers.

Safe Storage of Containerized Waste

Whether you dispose of your waste quickly or you bulk up waste material to be removed by the trailer load, you need to ensure it’s safely and properly stored on your premises.

  • Follow all requirements on proper labeling
  • Keep containers sealed to prevent release and other materials to enter/contaminate
  • Store containerized waste in an area that’s clearly marked, is inaccessible to unauthorized personnel, and prevents contamination
  • Ensure adequate training for all employees, even if their day-to-day tasks do not include waste management

Containerized Waste Disposal

The key to safe disposal of containerized waste, whether hazardous or non-hazardous, is ensuring that your containers are DOT shippable. That means ensuring that proper classification labels are applied and that the containers are not rusting, have no leaks, and have proper lids. For smaller containers like pails or drums, you can use an overpack to ensure they meet safety requirements for transport.

There are a number of options for sustainable disposal of containerized waste. If a company can’t find a way to reuse the waste in their own production process, other waste disposal methods include:

  • recycling, such as oil reprocessing
  • find a 3rd party that can use your waste as part of their industry process
  • waste to energy
  • landfill disposal

If you have additional questions on the proper storage and disposal of your containerized waste, contact the ERC offices at 717-393-2627 or

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