Good Practices in Waste Management

Waste management can be a real headache especially if you work in a hospital or university! In Quebec, the legal and regulatory framework has evolved for more than 50 years and in 2017, several municipal, provincial and federal laws and regulations are in force. Let’s see how we can classify and demystify the different types of waste.

Waste Management

Credit photo Joseph Barrientos via unsplash

Good practices in waste management

To properly manage waste, it is imperative on one hand to be well aware of the characterization of your waste and on the other hand to know the regulations that apply to your situation.

Safe Handling

The safe handling of waste, whether at the time of its production, handling, storage or disposal, must be accomplished with appropriate protective measures for your own safety, safety of of others and protection of the environment.

Communication

Each department must also be informed of the way in which they dispose of the waste they produce in a safely manner. That’s why a good communication plan is also important!

Reduction at source

Take action by initiating gradual changes in how you manage your residual materials on the basis of the 3RV-E principle that promotes source reduction, reuse, recycling and valorise until residual materials must be eliminated.

  • Reducing at source is the fundamental principle of management to decrease the quantity of goods consumed, which necessarily decreases the amount of natural resources consumed.
  • Reuse is to give a second life to objects and use what others do not need anymore.
  • Recycling is the process of converting a residual material into a raw material for the manufacture of a new product
  • Valorisation is to give a second life to the products but in different ways, usually this is done by the biological way for example compost or energy like biofuels
  • Elimination when all efforts have been made in the 3RV and waste is finally disposed of.

Classification of waste by category

In industrial and institutional environments, waste is generally grouped into 7 categories:

  • General Waste
    • Non-recyclable waste with no reuse or recovery potential
  • Biomedical waste
    • Human anatomical waste
    • Animal anatomical wastes
    • Non-anatomical waste
      • Piercing, sharp or breakable objects that have been in contact with blood
      • A liquid or a biological tissue
      • Biological tissues, cell cultures, cultures of micro-organisms;
      • Live strain vaccines;
      • Containers of blood and blood-soaked equipment, etc.
  • Pharmaceutical waste
    • Hazardous pharmaceutical waste
      • Drug residues
      • Toxic expired drugs
      • Cytotoxic drugs
    • Non-hazardous pharmaceutical waste
      • Other drug residues
      • Non-hazardous expired drugs
  • Chemical waste
    • Chemicals from laboratories
      • Laboratory reagents
      • Laboratory solvents
    • Pressurized containers
  • Radioactive waste
    • Residues containing radioactive isotopes above standard
    • Syringes, reactors, lead cylinders (nuclear medicine)
  • Electronic waste (or with heavy metals)
    • Hardware
      • Computers
      • Screens
    • Cell phones
    • Battery
    • Articles containing mercury
      • Thermometers
      • Fluorescent or compact fluorescent bulbs
  • Recyclable waste
    • Paper
    • Cardboard
    • Plastic
    • Glass
    • Metal
    • Food and compostable residues
    • Organic waste
    • Construction debris
      • Brick
      • Concrete
      • Unpainted gypsum board
      • Metal
      • Wood

Legislative and regulatory framework for waste management in Quebec

  • Loi sur la qualité de l’environnement (chapitre Q-2)
  • Règlement sur l’enfouissement et l’incinération des matières résiduelles (c. Q-2, r. 19)
  • Règlement sur la santé et la sécurité du travail (chapitre S-2.1,r. 13)
  • Code de sécurité pour les travaux de construction (chapitre S-2.1,r. 4)
  • Règlement sur les déchets biomédicaux (c. Q-2, r. 12)
  • Code de la sécurité routière (chapitre C-24.2)
  • Règlement sur le transport des matières dangereuses (c. C-24.2, r. 43)
  • Règlement sur les matières dangereuses (c. Q-2, r. 32)
  • Règlement sur la récupération et la valorisation de produits par les entreprises (c. Q-2, r. 40.1)
  • Code de sécurité pour les travaux de construction – amiante (chapitre S-2.1, r. 4)
  • Loi sur la sûreté et la réglementation nucléaires (L.C. 1997, ch. 9)
  • Règlement général sur la sûreté et la réglementation nucléaires (DORS/2000-202)
  • Règlement sur la radioprotection (DORS/2000-203)
  • Règlement sur l’emballage et le transport des substances nucléaires (DORS/2000-208)
  • Règlement sur les substances nucléaires et les appareils à rayonnement (DORS/2000-207)

Learning, Understanding, Implementing, Enhancing

Have you enjoyed this post and would like to learn about this topic or about hygiene and sanitation in general? Great! Why not check out our training and consulting catalog now?

Source: Guide de gestion des déchets du réseau de la santé et des services sociaux

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