Mixed waste is normally a mixture of radioactive, biological and chemical wastes. Removal and disposal of mixed waste is expensive and requires special handling. A mixed waste cannot be disposed of through normal vendors since most vendors must have a permit for the type of waste they are disposing of. The most used approach is to destroy or remove one of the waste types.
Handling Mixed Waste
The simplest way to handle a mixed waste is to remove one of the hazards. This could include:
- Adding bleach or another EPA-registered disinfectant to destroy a biohazard, leaving the radioactive hazard or the chemical hazard. Care must be taken so that adding bleach to a chemical hazard does not create an unforeseen reaction.
- Letting a radioactive isotope decay so that all that is left is the chemical or biohazard.
- In extreme cases, a mixed waste will be placed in a mixed waste storage bag until a proper treatment to remove one of the hazards.
Remember, RCRA hazardous waste cannot be treated to remove the chemical hazard.