Products containing lead are still used in a variety of applications. Disposing of lead is highly regulated and the proper precautions must be taken. This can leave people wondering how to even go about properly disposing of lead products.
We are often asked how to dispose of lead x-ray curtains when they are worn out and have reached the end of their life. If you are using our lead-free curtains, there is usually no issue with disposing of them with normal waste or recycle. However, if you are currently using lead x-ray curtains, then you must make sure the material is disposed of according to local and federal regulations.
Making Sense of the EPA Hazardous Waste Regulations
First, you must determine the category that you would fall under in the EPA’s hazardous waste regulations. You can do this by calculating how much total hazardous waste you generate in a calendar month (40 CFR 262.10(b) and 261.5). On average, most companies generate less than 100 kg. (or 220 lbs.) of hazardous waste. This includes lead x-ray curtains and any additional hazardous waste that is generated on site.
If you generate less than 220 lbs. of hazardous waste, then you would be classified as a Conditionally Exempt Small Quantity Generator (CESQG). CESQGs have minimal requirements under EPA’s hazardous waste regulations (40 CFR 261.5) and may dispose of these items in non-hazardous waste facilities, although disposal must be in state approved facilities. Some states have additional requirements for CESQGs beyond the federal minimum, so a company should always consult their state hazardous waste agency for complete information on applicable requirements.
For more information on this visit: https://www.epa.gov/hw
Common Ways to Dispose of Lead X-ray Curtains
We have outlined some of the most common ways to dispose of your old lead x-ray curtains:
1. Return to the supplier: Many equipment manufacturers or curtain suppliers will accept returns of the used product for disposal. This call should be the first call you make.
2. Contact a recycling company: Some local recycling or scrap metal companies may accept lead waste. You can find these companies in the phone directory or on the internet.
3. Contact a hazardous waste company: Certain local hazardous waste carriers or handling companies will come to you and pick-up the lead waste. These companies should have state or local licenses.
These are the most common and appropriate disposal methods, but there are other ways to dispose of lead. No matter what method that you choose for disposal, it is most important is that you should not throw lead containing products in the trash.
Alternatives to Lead X-ray Curtains
The good news is that there are alternatives on the market for lead x-ray curtains. XrayCurtains.com carries many types of lead-free x-ray curtains that offer the same protection as lead-based products. If you're looking for alternatives to your lead x-ray curtains, we offer many types of lead-free curtains in protection levels from 0.125mm to 1.0mm lead equivalence at XrayCurtains.com. Our lead-free materials use high attenuation metals like tungsten, barium sulfate, bismuth, tin and antimony.
Lead-free curtains are often a great choice for applications that require a lighter weight curtain, and are a more environmentally friendly option than lead curtains. Upgrading to lead-free curtains offers many benefits, including:
- Reducing your HSE Managers workload - does not need to worry about OSHA requirements when employees handle lead
- Reducing the risk of unintentional employee (or public) exposure to lead
- Simplifying your waste management process
- Helping your company comply with ESG mandates
If you are looking to replace your lead curtains with lead-free, please reach out to us to learn more.