What is Chemical Waste?

If you've ever been curious about what constitutes chemical waste, read on to learn the basics.


Chemical waste is any type of waste that is composed of noxious, potentially hazardous chemicals. Harmful chemicals and solvents that are the byproducts of large scale laboratories and manufacturing plants serve as the most common examples of industrial chemical waste. However, certain household refrigerants, batteries and cleaning products qualify as chemical waste, too. Depending on the potency of certain chemicals and solvents, as well as the potential safety hazards they present, they may fall under the category of hazardous waste.


Because of the safety hazards associated with this type of waste, most chemical waste must be disposed of in a special manner. For industrial forms of chemical waste, the disposal process typically involves sealing the waste in securely sealed chemical-resistant drums or barrels, then transporting the safely stored waste to a special landfill. For household forms of chemical waste, many municipal landfills feature areas specifically designated for this type of waste. Like many forms of hazardous waste, chemical waste tends to be toxic, flammable, corrosive or reactive-or some combination thereof-so it's important to take the proper safety precautions when disposing of it.