What are the Various Types of Hazardous Waste?

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If you work with hazardous wastes, then it is essential that you know what the different types of hazardous wastes are, as well as how to deal with them. Moreover, if you are running a company or working at a company that works with any type of hazardous waste, then you also need to know what the rules and regulations sound surrounding that waste are.

Now, with that being said, there are of course many different types of hazardous waste out there and how you deal with them depends on what type it is. What we are here to do today is to provide you with definitions and examples of the various types of hazardous waste out there.

So first and foremost, hazardous waste is technically defined as any type of substance or material that may have harmful effects on the environment or people. Of course, in order to identify the proper treatment and disposal method for hazardous wastes, you do need to first know the types of hazardous waste.

Four Main Types of Hazardous Waste

The first thing that you need to know here is that there are four main types of hazardous waste. As defined by the EPA or Environmental Protection Agency. Keep in mind that each type of hazardous wastes comes with different risks and hazards, as well as different treatment and disposal methods.

All of the types of weights that we are about to discuss can be extremely toxic to both the environment and to people, which means that proper disposal is of paramount importance.

Now, in terms of the four different types of hazardous wastes, these include listed wastes, characteristic wastes, universal wastes, and mixed wastes. Let’s take a closer look at what each of these types of hazardous waste are.

Listed Wastes

The first type of hazardous waste that you need to know about is a listed waste. This type of waste is usually the result of an industrial or manufacturing process. What you need to know here is that there are four subcategories of listed wastes. These include F list, K list, P list, and U list hazardous wastes. Let’s take a quick look at all four subcategories.


First off, we have the F list waste class, which is generally produced from industrial and manufacturing processes but also have on specific sources. What is important to know is that this list can also be further divided into seven different categories, depending on the exact industry in which it was created in. The seven different subcategories of F list waste include the following.

  • Spent solvent waste.
  • Would preserving waste.
  • Chlorinated aliphatic hydrocarbons production.
  • Petroleum refinery wastewater treatment sludge.
  • Dioxin bearing waste.
  • Electroplating.
  • Multisource leachate


The next type of listed waste is the K list waste, and these also come from industrial and manufacturing processes, but unlike F list wastes, these ones do have specific sources. There are a variety of treatment processes that result in wastewater and sludge being created that is then defined as hazardous waste.

There are many different industries that create this type of hazardous waste with the most common ones listed below.

  • Ink formation
  • inorganic pigment manufacturing
  • Explosives manufacturing
  • Iron and steel production
  • Petroleum refining
  • aluminum production
  • Pesticide manufacturing
  • Organic chemicals manufacturing
  • Veterinary pharmaceuticals manufacturing
  • Wood preservation
  • Inorganic chemicals manufacturing

Something to keep in mind about both F and K list wastes that is important to know is that they are all assigned an EPA specific code depending on what they contain. These fall into the following categories.

  • Acute hazardous waste
  • Toxic waste
  • Ignitable waste
  • Reactive waste
  • Corrosive waste
  • Toxicity characteristic waste

P-List & U-List

Here we are combining the P and U list hazardous wastes as they are specific chemicals or products that are disposed of after having been used for a variety of production and manufacturing purposes.

There is a list of about 1000 different chemicals, if not more, that fall into this category. There are some criteria that must be met to fall into this category.

The chemical must fall into the list of P or U listed chemicals, the waste’s chemical must be unused, and the waste must come in a commercial chemical form.

Types of Hazardous Waste

Characteristic Wastes

Characteristic wastes are identified depending on the type of characteristics that they display, as opposed to what they contain or what process that they are a result of. There are four main types of characteristic wastes out there.

  • Ignitable waste that is flammable and can create fires
  • Corrosive waste that can rust, decompose, and eat through metals. These are usually bases and acids.
  • Reactive waste is any type of waste that is explosive and very unstable even under normal conditions.
  • Toxic waste is any kind of waste that is poisonous when ingested or absorbed through the skin. This type of waste is fatal.

Moreover, if you need to test what kind of waste you have, then you can go to a variety of certified laboratories that can test for the characteristics of the specific type of ways to have, therefore helping you identify what type of characteristic waste it is.

Universal Wastes

Another term for universal waste is commonly generated waste, and this is another classification for hazardous wastes. This type of hazardous waste generally includes things like batteries, mercury containing equipment, light bulbs and pesticides. This type of universal waste is also identified as dangerous goods.

What you need to know is that there are nine different types of universal wastes.

  • Flammable liquids
  • Gases
  • Flammable solids or substances
  • Explosives
  • Toxic and infectious substances
  • Oxidizing substances and organic peroxides
  • Corrosive substances
  • Radioactive
  • Miscellaneous dangerous substances and articles

Mixed Wastes

The last type of hazardous waste that you need to know about is known as mixed waste, and it is called mixed waste because it generally contains both hazardous waste and radioactive materials. These mixed ways fall into one of three specific categories, including low level mixed waste, high level mixed waste, and mixed transuranic waste.


There you have it folks, everything that you need to know about the four main types of hazardous waste out there.

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