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Drum It Up! Steel Drum Industry News, Trends, and Issues

The Versatility of Waste Drums

March 6th, 2014 by Lisa Stojanovich

Filed under: Safety

There is no precise definition of a waste drum; one may think of an old used barrel or garbage cans, but it can be so much more.  Think of everything from your ordinary kitchen trash bin to the specialized containers used in hospitals for hypodermic needles as waste receptacles, you can see a similar variance in sizes, configurations and needs within the more defined category of steel waste drums.  Because of a steel drum’s ability to hold and store an array of materials, and all the different possible classifications of drums, the product is often ideal as a waste receptacle, ensuring the safe transport and storage of many dangerous materials.

Depending on the type of waste that needs to be stored or transported a waste drum can be a very detailed and specific type of container.  There are many laws and regulations that determine how and when certain materials can be disposed, and these rules may change per city, state, or country.  So it is important to know what type of drum is legally required for use before disposing of any potentially dangerous materials.  In some waste streams, like highly hazardous or radioactive wastes, there are even stricter requirements at play.  The UN and 7A requirements may call for a high end drum with very specific design requirements; the average 55 gallon steel drum may not be safe enough to store the wastes, so a more detailed container is required.

It is also very important that waste drums are not just made properly, but labeled correctly as well.  As per necessity, containers should be labeled as corrosive, explosive, etc.  Those who may come into contact with the drum during shipping must be informed of the contents and safety procedures specific to the drum, and a properly printed and placed label helps with this.

A waste drum can be more than what you put out in the alley once a week.  It is sometimes a costly, high end container that meets very strict legal requirements.  To avoid fines, or worse, a dangerous situation it is important to understand what drum can safely hold a specific waste product.  On top of being the best choice, be sure the drum is properly labeled so anyone who comes into contact with the drum can have their safety ensured as well.  Although there is not a precise picture that may come to mind when thinking of waste drums, they are an important part of the steel drum industry and help keep dangerous materials safely stored.


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