Due to their chemical composition and/or other properties, hazardous wastes may pose substantial risks to human health and the environment if not properly managed or released into the environment. Hazardous wastes are generated from many sources, ranging from industrial manufacturing processes to commercial products containing hazardous substances which are discarded after use. Hazardous waste can come in different forms, namely liquid, solid, gas, or sludge.
Some examples of hazardous wastes are:
- Waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE);
- Spent batteries and accumulators;
- Chemicals and empty chemical containers;
- Pharmaceutical waste;
- Waste from petroleum refining;
- Waste lubricating oils.
The properties which render waste hazardous are set out in Schedule 3 of the Waste Regulations, which are further clarified in Commission Decision 2000/532/EC establishing a List of Waste (Click here to learn more on the Waste Classification and the European List of Waste). Due to the potential threats to human health and the environment, hazardous wastes are subject to a strict control regime covering their entire life-cycle, from generation to final disposal or recovery (the so-called “from cradle to grave” approach).
The Waste Regulations include specific obligations concerning labelling and packaging of hazardous wastes, record keeping as well as monitoring and control procedures on transfers of such wastes within the Maltese Islands. The said Regulations also prohibit mixing of hazardous wastes.