Dangerous waste basics

Most businesses in Washington generate some type of dangerous waste — waste that’s potentially harmful to health and the environment. You are responsible for handling and disposing of your waste properly.

This page offers videos, guidance documents, and posters to help you better understand this topic.

What is dangerous waste?

Washington uses the term "dangerous waste," while federal law uses the term "hazardous waste." Washington's Dangerous Waste Regulations, while based on the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), are more protective than federal rules. The term "dangerous waste" includes more wastes than the federal definition.

Read or request the Dangerous Waste Regulations


​Unable to access YouTube? Request a free DVD copy of any of our videos.

Designate Your Waste - Is It Dangerous? (watch all three parts, or select one below)

Part 1: Get Ready to Designate
Part 2: Assign Correct Waste Codes
Part 3: Review and Wrap Up

Businesses must determine whether their waste is dangerous. These videos explain the waste designation and handling process step-by-step.

Dangerous Waste Basics - A Guide for Small Quantity Generators

Many Washington businesses generate small amounts of dangerous waste. Even small amounts can be harmful. Learn whether your business is a small quantity generator and know the requirements. 

Dangerous Waste Containers: An Open and Shut Case 

Dangerous waste containers must be kept closed except when adding or removing waste. Open containers are one of the most common violations our inspectors come across. Watch this video to learn more.

Publications and newsletter


Our dangerous waste and pollution prevention newsletter is called Shoptalk. This publication comes out three times a year with information on training, best practices, rulemaking, and reporting deadlines. We recommend businesses subscribe to Shoptalk to get email updates and read the latest issue.

Guides for businesses

Businesses may find the following publications helpful. This is by no means an exhaustive list of our publications about dangerous waste, but these offer essential guidance in one publication: 


Inspect your dangerous waste drums

This poster provides quick reminders for employees doing routine inspections of dangerous waste containers. Post this near your dangerous waste accumulation area.

Download or request a copy

Inspeccione sus tambores de desechos peligrosos

Spanish version of our "Inspect your dangerous waste drums" poster.

Download or request a copy

Check your central accumulation area

Post these guidelines near your dangerous waste accumulation area. This helps employees verify that all necessary equipment and signs are there.

Download or request a copy

Revisa sus áreas de acumulación central

Spanish version of our "Check your Central Accumulation Area" poster.

Download or request a copy

Managing Dangerous Laboratory Waste

If your facility has a laboratory, it's a good idea to post these safety, labeling, and storage reminders where lab workers will see them. 

Download or request a copy

Labeling Dangerous Laboratory Waste

Dangerous lab waste must be labeled according to specific requirements. Post these guidelines where dangerous lab waste is generated.

Download or request a copy

Common Environmental Reports for Facilities in Washington

This two-sided mini poster (8.5 x 11 in) provides a brief overview of the most common reports, their due dates, and where to find more information.

Download or request a copy or read a plain text version