Hazardous Waste Disposal FAQs for Owners and Contractors


There may not be any barrels full of hazardous waste on your construction site, but that doesn’t mean hazardous materials aren’t present. Hazardous waste disposal is of vital concern to building contractors — especially where demolition or remodeling is involved and fines for improper disposal may be severe. 

Below is a list of frequently asked questions pertaining to hazardous waste disposal. We’ve included some of the questions FACS experts are often asked, however, you should always determine which rules apply to your situation and locale.

What Is Hazardous Waste?

The EPA defines hazardous waste as “waste with properties that make it dangerous or capable of having a harmful effect on human health or the environment.” Of special concern to building contractors are materials containing asbestos, lead, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and such.

How Do I Identify Hazardous Waste?

Disposal sites vary in their ability to accept hazardous waste. Much depends on the type of waste your project generates. Call the disposal sites in your region to determine where the waste should be hauled. The EPA provides a tool that can help you determine which materials each site can receive, where they are located, and which licensed haulers serve the area.

Can I Haul Hazardous Waste Myself?

It is typically best to obtain the services of a licensed waste-hauling contractor, but that is not always required. There are some exemptions available, for example, for homeowners and small quantities, however, you should make sure you are clear about what requirements apply to your situation.

Who Is Responsible for the Proper Disposal of Hazardous Waste?

The owner of the waste is responsible for its disposal. Property owners should pay special attention to this detail. Hiring others to handle and dispose of hazardous waste does not relieve the owner of liability.

How Can I Reduce the Cost of Hazardous Waste Disposal?

We’ve already provided the first tip: Categorize the waste before work begins. That will allow you to know which types of waste and materials exist and how much of each is present. Pre-knowledge allows you to sort and store waste while the work is in progress. It also allows you to determine which disposal sites accept your material and develop a hauling plan to remove waste from the site in a cost-effective and timely manner.

There is one more thing to consider, though, that could be quite helpful: Recycling. Many types of waste are recyclable and hauling waste to a recycling facility rather than to a landfill or other disposal site may lower your costs, if applicable.

To check EPA regulations, consult the TSCA and RCRA websites.

For help identifying hazardous waste on your worksite, call FACS: (888) 711-9998.