5 things you need to know about metal waste management

By implementing proper waste management procedures, metal manufacturers can ensure they are meeting environmental compliance regulations and are also protecting their businesses against additional risks such as theft. Here are five insights to help your business implement responsible pollution and waste management practices.

1. Manufacturing by-products

Processes involved in the metal manufacturing industry produce various wastes, including the following:

  • Spent/used solvent that is left over after degreasing, cleaning and manufacturing products (such as those used in CNC machining, dipping or coating)
  • Wastewater as the result of processes involving the use of water for removing residue, grease and other contaminants. Strong acids/alkaline can be found in wastewater and are generated as a result of fabrication and forming.
  • Ignitable materials, which are flammable or combustible liquids such as hydraulic fluids and cleaning solvents

2. Hazardous waste disposal

Materials determined to be corrosive, flammable or inherently toxic are typically classified as hazardous waste and need to be properly disposed of. Metal manufacturers should consider employing third-party companies to  of hazardous waste, as they can offer the following:

  • Wastewater treatment
  • Assured destruction of products
  • Safe transportation
  • Proper containers that are designed to carry hazardous waste materials
  • Vacuum trucks/power washing
  • Knowledge of government regulations

3. On-site storage

Your company may need to keep hazardous waste products on site until they can be safely transferred elsewhere. If you are storing these materials on site, follow all safety regulations, which include the following:

  • Use only approved containers and industry-accepted storage arrangements
  • e copies of all Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) on site and keep them easily accessible
  • Keep appropriate safety items in place, including spill kits, fire extinguishers and storage cabinets
  • Have a secondary containment site in case of an emergency
  • Ensure that products are properly labelled and secured

4. Metal scrap solution

One of the most efficient and common ways to deal with metal scraps is to sell them to another company and treat scrap metal as a revenue source. The following advice is helpful when choosing a metal recycler:

  • Know the current market price so that your business gets a fair return
  • Ensure that recyclers provide complete records of all transactions with your business
  • Confirm that recyclers use  metal analysis equipment such as a spectrometer to verify the type and grading of metal(s) being recycled

5. Theft of by-product metals

As the demand for metals, such as copper and zinc, continues to rise, the supply for these metals is decreasing.

This demand puts metal manufacturers at greater risk of theft, thereby making it crucial they establish protocols to protect their business. Here are some ways to help protect your premises:

  • Control access to every location where metal scraps are being stored
  • Install a centrally monitored burglar alarm system that will immediately send an alert if there is intrusion of the building
  • Install video surveillance equipment (CCTV) to monitor all outdoor storage on the premises
  • Establish regularly scheduled pick-up or delivery of metal waste material
  • Install visible signage stating that all thefts or attempted thefts will be reported to law enforcement

Ensuring that your company consistently practises proper handling, storage security and disposal of hazardous waste material will reduce the risk of pollution and confirm your operation as a responsible metal manufacturing business.

Insurance coverage

Your insurance broker is a valuable source of information for improving operational risk management within your business. Contact your broker for additional information or for any questions you have about protecting your business. If you don’t have a broker, use our Find a Broker tool to find one in your area today.


Hazardous Waste Management: Business and Industry [Online] // Government of Ontario. - October 6, 2016. - https://www.ontario.ca/page/hazardous-waste-management-business-and-industry.

HAZARDOUS WASTE MANAGEMENT: CANADIAN DIRECTIONS [Online] / auth. Meaken Stephanie // Publications Canada. - December 1992. - http://publications.gc.ca/Collection-R/LoPBdP/BP/bp323-e.htm.

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