Pollution Prevention

All businesses generate waste, and in some cases, it could simply be wastewater or paper waste. In others, it could also be hazardous and toxic wastes. In all aspects, it is going to cost money to properly manage the wastes a facility creates.  So naturally businesses want to minimize their waste to manage costs – and protect the earth from pollution.  Doing so may be as simple as implementing two-sided printing or using email rather than printed paper for those small businesses. However, when you operate a large industrial or manufacturing facility, minimizing waste can be more complicated.

How to Prevent Waste

When waste is thrown away, it needs to be handled, treated and disposed of properly. If facilities throw less waste away, these handling, treating and disposal processes can be reduced. Prevention can include:

  • Implementing in-process recycling
  • Purchasing durable and long-lasting materials
  • Conserving water and energy
  • Efforts to eliminate raw materials that are not included in the final product
  • Reducing packaging materials
  • Using non-toxic materials

Why is Pollution Prevention Important?

Pollution prevention helps with the financial costs of waste cleanup and management, along with environmental regulatory compliance costs. If a facility strives toward pollution prevention, it will help the environment by protecting and conserving natural resources. Through pollution prevention and protecting the environment, a facility will strengthen its economic growth and can make its production more efficient.

How to Get Started

For a facility to start making pollution prevention a priority, there needs to be the reminder to start small. When a facility is determining what materials to reduce, try targeting one or two materials and move from there. In this process, start with ideas that may require minimal capital investment and involve all employees in the planning and implementation of these ideas. When starting this process, there need to be steps to follow. Initially there needs to be a determination of what wastes the facility generates. Once those wastes are determined, waste prevention measures then need to be identified. The next step will be to set the facilities priorities and goals. Lastly, the facility will hit the ground running and get started on achieving these goals. Goals are best achieved by getting all facility employees involved, and teaching them the personal and global benefits from participating. Most importantly, the policies and goals should be described to employees in an easy-to-understand way that gives them the control to change how they handle materials.



Learn more about our Hazardous Waste Services.

A Look Inside Onsite Personnel at Universities

Recently we had the opportunity to take a behind the scenes look at exactly what our onsite personnel do at Northwestern University. We got to talk to the Executive Director for the Office for Research Safety, Michael Blayney, and Heritage’s Technical Services Manager, Breanna Zamorski. Michael talked to us about what Northwestern wanted to accomplish by bringing a supplier and their personnel onsite to perform waste services. He specifically talked about what they were searching for and the benefits the Heritage onsite personnel could provide. Breanna talked to us about our Heritage team onsite at Northwestern and all the duties our team helps with each and every day.

What Were They Looking For?
Determining they needed outside help was recognizing challenges and understanding the necessity of resetting the clock. Picking a team to come in, clean up, reorganize, offer improved services and lower the barriers to help people do the right thing was very important for Northwestern. They wanted a team who paid careful attention to the details. In Heritage, Northwestern found a willingness to look at questions, work to understand those questions, and then respond to those questions. This gave them confidence and understanding that Heritage was going to be an excellent partner to work with.

About the Team
Northwestern currently has 6 Heritage employees on site, 4 at their Evanston campus and 2 at their Chicago campus. As a Heritage onsite personnel team member, they deal with many different duties. Our onsite team works with some unusual materials like, radioactive and biohazardous waste. This is not typical for Heritage onsite services and it is a great experience being able to pioneer new knowledge with these unique materials.

Onsite Duties on Campus
Heritage onsite employees perform varies tasks on a daily basis including:

  • Manage waste program including hazardous, biohazardous and radioactive wastes
  • Perform waste determinations and set up needed waste streams
  • Provide excellent customer service
  • Do waste pickups throughout the University
  • Pack or bulk all chemicals
  • Handle all shipments
    • Scheduling
    • Packaging
    • Paperwork/signing paperwork
    • Loading the truck
  • Perform inspections in our area and throughout campus for compliance
  • Provide RCRA and waste guidance to Northwestern staff and students
  • Provide regulatory training for facilities staff
  • Decontamination and cleaning of various lab spaces and facilities spaces
  • Emergency response
  • Process incoming radioactive material packages

Ultimate Goal
The ultimate goal of our onsite personnel is to be a hands-on help to the customer, and in this case: Northwestern University. Our Heritage team wants to make sure they dispose of the University’s waste safely and properly. They also want to be able to educate students and staff the best ways to handle, manage, and dispose of their wastes.

Take Away
While visiting our onsite team at Northwestern, there were so many things to learn. Being on campus at such a large university, our team plays an important role in program consistency and environmental compliance. Northwestern’s campus stretches across 240 acres with approximately 150 buildings. To learn more about our onsite personnel, check out our first episode of Behind the Swirl. If you are ready to bring in our onsite team, Contact Us today to get started!

Going Digital

Going digital can save you time, improve visibility and help you stay up to date. Heritage has developed a tool to help meet the needs of customers by putting data at their fingertips. The Heritage Environmental Informational System (EIS) offers complete transparency into exactly when and where your waste is in its process. For Heritage customers they have the ability to view everything, down to the smallest detail.

Save Time
Is it important to get your information in a quick and timely manner? With an electronic system, you have the opportunity to view your paperwork via the computer, rather than waiting for documents to be sent through the mail. The Heritage EIS system can expedite many processes, including:

  • Completing, filing and updating documents
  • Finding a manifest copy
  • Downloading a copy of an invoice
  • Placing an order
  • Electronic profiling
  • Viewing your pricing
  • Running a shipping history (Biennial) report

All the features of EIS are faster than requesting the information from your Account Coordinator or Corporate Account Coordinator. The time it takes for you to utilize these features in EIS is much faster and you can access this information immediately, rather than waiting for your Heritage AC/CAC to do the same and respond via email.

Improve Visibility
As a customer, you want to access your information and paperwork whenever you need it. With an electronic system, you have the ability to search for every document the supplier you work with has on file easily. If you need to access a certain document, or print off copies of documents, you are able to do so without having to contact someone. It gives you an easy and in-depth view into all your information. With Heritage’s EIS system, you have the power to view your data wherever and whenever you need it.

Stay Up To Date
When a supplier offers an electronic system, it gives you the power to customize your account preferences. You can go in and adjust account settings to control the email updates you receive, mailing lists or other informational messages. This keeps you included in any important information that may affect new programs, rules, regulations or other things that can change the way you operate. EIS eases the access by message subscriptions, so you can adjust your account settings to opt into automated emails. This would include getting manifest copies, invoice copies, route notification emails, recertification notifications and electronic statements. Subscribing to these messages allows the emails to come to you automatically with attachments or links that take you directly into EIS. Specifically, the manifests and invoice messages save you time from having to go into EIS and search for those documents. They are emailed directly once those items are available.

Ready To Get Started?

If you are interested in the benefits of going digital, contact us today and let our team show you the benefits of EIS.

The Heritage Blog Has Moved

Heritage is proud to announce the launch of its new blog site. We are transitioning from a third-party blog host, to directly placing our blogs in our public website. The content and other resources that the site offers should help to engage visitors and educate them on the various ways in which Heritage conducts itself as a steward of the environment.

One of the biggest improvements to the blog site is the ease with which a visitor is able to navigate throughout the pages. Any user should be able to get anywhere in the site with only a few clicks. You can find our blogs by category, by date, or search for any topic. You will even see suggested similar articles below an opened blog post you are reading.

We are excited to bring our blog over to the Heritage website, and we hope that visitors enjoy the easy navigation throughout. If you subscribe to the blog, you will be notified by e-mail when a new blog is released. We also want to hear from YOU! Just use our web chat or contact us form to suggest blog topics that interest you. Submit a suggestion and watch for your topic to be featured on our blog site!

Avoid Hazardous Waste Generator Violations in 10 Simple Steps

We first distributed this blog in November of 2014, but it has continued to be helpful and useful and wanted to share it with you again! Hazardous waste generators are under constant scrutiny to avoid violating regulations set by RCRA as well as national and state government. In order to help you avoid any potential violations we have developed the following list of 10 steps. If you manage your waste with these ten things in mind you should be able to maintain a safe and compliant workplace.

1. Remember to mark storage containers with an accumulation date.

Containers of hazardous waste in a 90 or 180-day storage area must be marked with an accumulation date. Check that yours are each week during your inspection of the storage area. You could also consider using a log or spreadsheet to track wastes in addition to review of dates during your area inspections.

2.  Make sure used oil containers are properly labeled.

Remember, “Used oil is defined as any oil that was refined from crude oil or any synthetic oil, and that is used and as a result of such use is contaminated by physical or chemical impurities.” Any container holding used oil must be marked “Used Oil.” Additionally, pipes used to transfer used oil to a UST must be marked “Used Oil.”

3.  Ensure that your containers are kept closed.

Except in the instances of adding or removing waste containers should always remain closed. This means closing and latching funnels, screwing in bungs, using drum rings, and tightening bolts. Remember, if the contents would spill if the container was overturned, then the container is considered open.

4. Keep tabs on your universal wastes.

Make sure you understand the regulations for universal wastes (things like batteries and used lamps). Properly label the wastes as “Universal Waste Batteries” and “Universal Waste Lamps.” Check your local state regulations as well.

5. Label all containers in your storage areas.

Containers in a 90 or 180-day storage area must be marked with the words “Hazardous Waste” as well as listing: generator name and address, accumulation start date, contents, physical state, and hazardous properties.

6. Have a contingency plan in place.

Whether you’re a small quantity or large quantity generator, you must have a contingency plan in place. You can help make sure you avoid violations by designating an emergency coordinator, keeping information up to date and on-site, ensuring all required elements are included in your plan, and for LQG’s, document submittals to local authorities.

7. Have a hazardous waste reduction plan on-site.

A hazardous waste reduction plan (often referred to as a waste minimization plan) is required for all hazardous waste generators. To keep yourself compliant make sure you keep a copy on-site, update that copy annually to ensure accuracy, make sure it’s signed by management, and ensure all applicable elements are included.

8. Properly label waste in satellite accumulation areas.

Utilizing satellite accumulation areas can be very beneficial to hazardous waste generators but it is imperative that all requirements listed in 40CFR are followed. Keep yourself violation free by reviewing and understanding the definition of a satellite accumulation area and by labeling your container once the first drop of hazardous waste is added.

9. Perform weekly inspections of hazardous waste storage areas.

Ensure consistency in your inspections by designating one day a week to perform them. Remember that Monday’s and Friday’s are not typically the best choices since they are often spent catching up from the weekend or readying for the weekend respectively. Have a back-up inspector and make sure that all inspections are documented in an inspection log.

10. Always make a hazardous waste determination.

You must make a hazardous waste determination for all wastes generated on your site. You should also make a list of each kind of hazardous waste generated. Determine if any exemptions apply to your wastes and figure out if your wastes are listed or characteristic hazardous wastes. Treat any unknown waste as hazardous until a determination has been made. Document everything and hold on to the documentation.  

Importance of Industrial Maintenance

What Is Industrial Maintenance?

Industrial Maintenance is a combination of regular housekeeping, preventative, episodic, and emergency cleaning of equipment and work areas in a manufacturing or other industrial setting. Maintenance personnel are typically responsible for making sure your equipment is functioning properly and efficiently at all times. By keeping equipment properly running, you improve the safe work environment for all personnel. Even though you have Maintenance personnel onsite, at times you may need outside help. For example, once waste will be generated by a maintenance project, it may be time to bring in an Industrial Maintenance Contractor.


What Do Industrial Maintenance Teams Do?
Depending on the company you use, many different tasks can be done. Usually, specialty industrial maintenance includes performing duties in hazardous or unsafe conditions. It may make sense to look for a contractor with specialty safety equipment and even specialized machinery. One thing that an industrial maintenance contractor may be trained to take care of is emergency spill response. In a situation where there may have been an accident, causing waste or other materials to spill, having a safety plan and contractor arrangements in advance are key. A cleanup team will first assess the situation and make sure to stop any further damage from occurring. Another very important job you can have completed is tank cleaning. When a tank has waste or materials in them, they will need to be cleaned periodically in order to comply with OSHA standards. An Industrial cleaner will wash, scrub and sanitize your tanks to ensure they can be used safely moving forward. The cleaning team may also do hydro-blasting, which is a technique that allows them to use high-pressure water to clean hazardous and non-hazardous material from machinery.


Why Is Industrial Cleaning Important?
When your equipment and machinery is clean, it is safer and more efficient. Chemical storage tanks hold all types of materials from acids, caustic, petroleum, food, pharmaceuticals, and even paint. They require cleaning for various reasons including housekeeping, mechanical problems, mixer failure, new chemistry, as well as for inspection. Typically, whenever this time comes around, sludge has accumulated inside the tank and must be removed, by regularly cleaning and inspecting, you can cut down on time spent for unscheduled maintenance and repairs. It will also keep your equipment properly working by reducing wear and tear. Not only does industrial cleaning help your machines, but it helps your personnel. By keeping equipment clean and performing at its best, it will create a safer work environment for your employees who are working with that equipment.


How Can Heritage Help?
When it comes to industrial maintenance, cleaning, and waste removal, trust is not just valued. It is required. From day one Heritage brings world class reliability and consistency to put your mind at ease. You can trust our safety records, with employees that are rigorously trained and retrained several times per year. Heritage industrial maintenance field crews perform this work daily across the country. Our crews have the right knowledge and training to safely enter, remove any remaining material, and clean your tanks and equipment to whatever level is required. No matter what material you’re dealing with, we can help:

  • -Vacuum services-DOT spec high velocity vacuum trucks
  • -Hydro-excavation
  • -Confined space entry/rescue
  • -Hazardous/non-hazardous chemical removal
  • -Pressure washing
  • -Hydro-blasting
  • -CO2 ice blasting
  • -Soda blasting
  • -Pit, pond & lagoon clean out
  • -Tank cleaning
  • -Paint booth cleaning
  • -Building decontamination & decommissioning
  • -Onsite dewatering
  • -Emergency spill response, (USCG OPA/OSRO contractor)
  • -Container rental

 Contact us today and we will work towards a plan that can take care of your cleaning needs, large or small.


Learn more about our Hazardous Waste Services.


The Clean Air Regulation for Hazardous Waste Incinerators:

While it makes good sense for people and industry to reduce, reuse or recycle waste, there will always be residuals, byproducts and spent materials that must be disposed of in compliance with the nation’s hazardous waste disposal rules and requirements. Whether landfill or incineration, disposal facilities must follow a demanding array of regulations to ensure that the waste is managed properly. The regulation for managing air emissions from an incinerator is our focus here.

Various industries producing everything from acrylics to wool fiberglass products are subject to industry-specific regulations of the federal Clean Air Act. These are called the Maximum Achievable Control Technology standards, known simply as MACT. Hazardous waste incineration is one of the industries subject to MACT because the process, like others under the MACT rules, emits substances identified by the U.S. EPA as hazardous air pollutants, or HAPs. Among the 187 HAPs, some of the more familiar ones are: benzene, dioxin, toluene and metals such as cadmium, mercury and lead compounds.

MACT standards for controlling HAP emissions from an industry group, such as hazardous waste incineration, are based on performance of the top 12 percent of that industry group’s facilities that are operating currently. In other words, the minimum standard for hazardous waste incinerators is based on the results of the top performers in the industry. That is how the “Maximum Achievable” part of the rule came about.

“Control Technology” refers to the technology, processes, techniques and work practices that are employed to reduce and control emissions of HAPs. Examples include limits on feed rates, pressures, temperatures and the flow rate of a material as it passes from combustion through the emissions-control system.

The U.S. EPA began work on the rule in the late 1990’s. It was made final in 2005 following input from the public, the various industry sectors, academia and government.

Once set, facilities began conducting required Compliance Performance Tests, or CPTs, to demonstrate compliance. These restrictive tests stress how the facility performs while incinerating larger-than-usual amounts of waste.

For example, MACT requires incinerators to demonstrate 99.99″ destruction of hazardous compounds contained in the waste. An incinerator would not be permitted to operate if it could not demonstrate this level of destruction removal efficiency during the rigors of the CPT.

To demonstrate ongoing compliance, incinerators must conduct these comprehensive tests, which take up to a week to complete, every five years. They must also conduct a specific test every 2.5 years to demonstrate compliance with the MACT limit for emissions of dioxin. A facility’s permit limits will be adjusted accordingly following analysis of the test results.

Visit Hazardous Waste Combustor MACT for more information about this important rule.

PPE Levels of Protection

In honor of our first HAZWOPER training for the year this past week, we want to take this opportunity to reshare a popular article we originally posted in January of 2016. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to protect the body against contact with known or anticipated chemical hazards has been divided into four levels. These levels have been established and agreed upon by the US EPA, US Coast Guard, OSHA, DOT, NIOSH, and other agencies.

Level A

Level A protection must be used when the highest level of skin, eye, and respiratory protection is required based on measured levels or potential for high concentrations of atmospheres, vapors, gases or particulates, or when a high potential for skin contact with harmful materials exists. Level A equipment includes:

  • Pressure-demand (positive pressure) full-face self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) or airline respirator with escape SCBA;
  • Totally encapsulating vapor tight chemical-protective suit;
  • Hard hat;
  • Gloves – outer and inner, chemical resistant;
  • Boots – chemical resistant, steel toe, and shank; and
  • Two-way radio (worn inside suit).

Level B

Level B protection must be used when the highest level of respiratory protection is required (as in Level A), but a lesser degree of skin protection is required. Level B equipment includes:

  • Pressure-demand (positive pressure) full-face SCBA or airline respirator with escape SCBA;
  • Hooded, chemical resistant clothing, such as one or two piece splash suit or disposable chemical resistant coveralls;
  • Gloves – outer and inner, chemical resistant;
  • Boots – chemical resistant, steel toe, and shank;
  • Hard hat; and
  • Two-way radio (worn inside suit).

Level C

Level C protection must be worn when airborne contaminants are known and the criteria for using air purifying respiratory is met. Level C equipment includes:

  • Full-face or half-mask air purifying respirators with cartridges approved for the type of exposures likely to be encountered;
  • Hooded, chemical resistant clothing, such as overalls, and long-sleeved jacket, one or two piece splash suit or disposable, chemical resistant coverage;
  • Gloves – outer and inner, chemical resistant;
  • Boots – chemical resistant, steel toe, and shank;
  • Hard hat; and
  • Two-way radio.

Level D

Level D is the basic work uniform that should be used whenever necessary. It provides only minimal protection. Level D equipment, used as appropriate, includes:

  • Boots – chemical resistant, steel toe and shank;
  • Gloves;
  • Safety glasses; and
  • Hard hat.

Additional PPE

If you work in a position that poses other or additional risks it may be beneficial to use added PPE such as a face shield (if you are working near sparking activity), noise canceling earmuffs if you are working around loud equipment, a dust mask if you will be around non-hazardous flying particulates, and a reflective safety vest to help ensure you are always seen.

Today and every day, talk about your facility safety culture and how to promote the use of PPE at all times to protect the safety and health of yourself and your co-workers.


Learn about our Hazardous Waste Services.

Lab Packing

Easy to Use, Complete Technical Waste Disposal Service

Whether you work in a lab, research facility, or are a small generator, you may have small chemical containers needing disposed. Accumulating different chemicals can be overwhelming because there can be uncertainty about how to dispose of each chemical, hazardous or non-hazardous. Using a lab pack service gives you the peace of mind that all your hazardous and non-hazardous chemicals are being handled properly.

What is Lab Packing?
During a lab pack, qualified professionals will begin by assessing the customers needs. An inventory will be taken, and the contents of each container be determined; even unidentified chemicals. When all chemicals are identified, the lab pack team will pack compatible chemicals from small containers into a larger DOT (Department of Transportation) approved container. The lab pack process ensures the safe handling of chemicals to be taken for proper removal.

How Do You Choose the Right Company?
What are some things you should look for when choosing a company to take care of your chemicals? First you need to ensure EPA compliance. Being compliant to all rules and regulations set by the EPA makes sure that you are working with a company that is properly handling or disposing chemicals. Another important aspect is that a lab pack service crew are properly trained. Having appropriately trained professionals is important because you want to make sure each team member knows what each chemical does, and what chemicals are dangerous if they were to come into contact with each other. There are also benefits if you choose a company who does in house disposal. By using a company who does the lab pack and disposal, you are eliminating the middle man. You are trusting one company and don’t have to worry about improper disposal done by a separate company. When you use one trusted company, you can know that every step is handled by the same team with the same goals.

How Heritage Can Help
If you want to make sure you are following all the regulations set by the EPA, Heritage can help. Here’s how it works:

  1. Our highly trained personnel will meet you on-site to handle all your waste materials. They will help you identify any unknown materials to ensure you everything is being handled appropriately.
  2. We supply all materials and labels needed to ensure regulatory compliance.
  3. We haul everything away for you.

We give you better visibility because you will know exactly what you are dealing with and exactly where it is going. We make it easy! We can save time because all you have to do is make the call to us and we do the rest. Contact us today to get started on your lab pack!

Zero Waste to Landfill

Eliminating the Waste Sent to Landfills Every Day

Amid sustainability discussions, the topic of a circular economy and even a “zero waste economy” occur frequently. Yet business waste is still transported into this country’s more than two thousand active landfills daily. Have you ever stopped to ponder ways to reduce what we throw away – personally or in your business? Is there a way that we can change our habits to minimize the trash sent to landfills? Industry leaders in environmental sustainability know that there are many options to reduce, reuse, and recycle the things we simply throw in the trash and to send Zero Waste to Landfills.

Benefits of Zero Waste to Landfill

You may ask yourself, “How would it benefit my business to eliminate or reduce waste sent to landfills?” By reducing waste and increasing recycling, the benefits to the environment and your company’s financial statements will probably outweigh the costs. First off, it could save your business money. Reduced waste and increased recycling can mean reduced disposal costs and increased revenues. A second benefit is meeting customer expectations for responsible manufacturing and improved life cycle assessments. Another benefit is that the process of reviewing your waste creation may identify ways to improve your manufacturing process. These efficiencies could be conserving human or supply resources, and conserving energy. Your business will be seen by investors, customers and competitors as industry leaders in environmental responsibility.

Steps to Become Zero Landfill

  1. Select a waste management team. These individuals will look over your current situation, determine your goals and develop an implementation plan. The right team should be committed to the goal of sending zero facility waste to a landfill. This can be an internal team or include help from an outside organization.
  2. Assess the current waste management and disposal methods of your company. By conducting a waste audit, you will receive an in-depth analysis of the company’s waste generation/management and disposal covering a certain period of time.
  3. Develop waste reduction and elimination strategies. After setting your goals, implement a plan to achieve short and longer term steps. Strategies can include looking at landfill alternatives like converting waste to energy (e.g. converting waste to fuels via certain incinerators or other outlets) or reusing resources through a recycling center or specialty outlets. To reduce your carbon footprint, you may need to look at your packaging and even consider the redesign of process flow and equipment.
  4. Engage employees. To reach zero waste to landfill, you need the help and cooperation of your employees. Raising awareness and providing training to your employees ensures that everyone is on the same page.

How Heritage Can Help

Every business generates waste and much of that waste can be considered by-products that still have value. By reducing, reusing, or recycling those byproducts, your company can save money or even create a new revenue stream. Heritage works with companies to attain their sustainable goals by building customized programs to reduce waste generation, improve recycling rates, and achieve Zero Waste to Landfill. Having a diverse industrial and commercial expertise, Heritage has the ability to adapt to changing environmental standards and definitions. Heritage embraces broad goals so when one goal is achieved, they can begin the process of reaching the next. We have a world class research and development team that has shown significant success in finding ways to turn waste into new products. Heritage takes pride in being a preferred partner in the process and helping 175 sites to achieve zero landfill status. Are you ready to take that next step to bettering your business and the environment? Contact Heritage today to get started.