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  • 5 Questions to ask your Asbestos Removal Company

    Asbestos was often used in construction up until the late 1990s. Before we knew of its risks, it was regularly used in buildings, roofs and flooring for insulation purposes. Today, asbestos is banned in the UK, but buildings constructed before 2000 may still have lingering asbestos throughout. 

    In the 21st century, asbestos is most likely to rear its head when it is disturbed in older buildings. There is also a risk that workers who have been exposed to asbestos can carry the fibres on their clothing which others could breathe in. 

    There were over 5,000 asbestos-related disease deaths in 2020 alone, including lung cancer, asbestosis and mesothelioma. With plenty of older homes still containing asbestos-related products that put us at risk of deadly diseases, it is important to know how to remove such dangerous materials safely. 

    An asbestos removal company can help, and there are many questions to keep in mind to get the best service and safest outcomes. 

    What are the main dangers of asbestos removal?

    If you need asbestos removed from your home or building, you might be concerned about the health risks. Exposure to such fibres can lead to dangerous diseases – and maybe even death. The improper removal of asbestos can send microscopic fibres into the air, causing anyone who inhales them to become incredibly ill. The body simply cannot break down the tiny microfibres due to the extreme longevity of asbestos. 

    The removal of asbestos can be so dangerous that The Environmental Protection Agency advises to not even touch damaged asbestos-containing products without the help of a specialist removal company. Professionals follow specific processes and abide by the law to safely remove or seal asbestos fibres. 

    Does every asbestos fibre need to be removed? 

    Despite its dangers, not all asbestos fibres need to be removed. The EPA states that undisturbed asbestos-containing materials are not as likely to cause a health threat. In some cases where asbestos fibres are in good condition, it’s best to leave them alone. 

    Materials that are noticeably crumbling, on the other hand, should be removed as soon as possible. This kind of asbestos poses a risk because it may break down even more and release further fibres into the air if removal is attempted. 

    Can I still live at home during asbestos removal?

    It is advised that you do not stay in your home during the removal process, but that can depend on the removal company you are working with. Some may approve your stay, depending on the amount of asbestos that is lingering. But, regardless of the severity, it’s important to consider staying away completely until the asbestos is gone entirely.

    Can I remove the asbestos myself?

    It’s not impossible to remove asbestos by yourself if you live alone, so it is recommended that you leave it to the professionals. There are currently no laws in place that prevent you from a DIY removal, but without proper training, you pose a threat of inhaling seriously deadly fibres. Overall, the risk of exposure is simply too high.

    How long does the removal process take?

    Depending on the case, an asbestos removal job will vary in time. This could be anything from a matter of days to several months – to even years if it is a serious health concern. A professional company will provide an idea of the length of a case once they have carried out an inspection. 

    The important thing to remember is that no matter how long it takes, it’s essential that the time invested will ensure your home is safe and free of asbestos. Corporate buildings may take an efficient planning process to ensure the business can operate at a safer location during the removal process. 

    All removal companies are legally required to give The Health and Safety Executive 14 days notice before the removal.

    How much does asbestos removal cost?

    Asbestos removal can cost anywhere from around £50 for an initial evaluation to well into the thousands, depending on the severity of the situation. Smaller amounts can be removed quickly and easily, and at a lower cost. Bigger projects require more materials and time, where costs will quickly add up. The best step to take is to get in touch with an asbestos removal company and request a quote.

    Asbestos disposal at McCarthy

    As a complete waste management provider, McCarthy is a fully licensed asbestos disposal site for cement-bonded asbestos waste. This means that, if required, we can come and identify and collect any unwanted hazardous asbestos or receive it directly at our transfer station in Wantage, by advanced agreement. 

    We also offer a range of skips, roll-on/roll-off and a hazardous ‘Wait & Load’ service in our 7.5 tonnes caged tipper to aid the safe disposal of asbestos waste. It’s important to note that all of these services are fully dependent upon the provision of premises codes and consignment notes.

    Dispose of any unwanted and hazardous asbestos

    If you are looking to dispose of any unwanted and hazardous asbestos, you must contact us first, so that we can prepare for the safe collection or delivery of any asbestos.

    Toxic Waste! Is it a real problem – or just in films?

    Toxic Waste! Is it a real problem – or just in films?

    Almost everyone has come across a toxic waste, ‘survival of the fittest’ style blockbuster movie, the ones that are sometimes so unrealistic that you could never believe it would occur. Yet, equally, make you wonder just how much we truly know about hazardous waste disposal and what could happen next. 

    Memorable movie moments that made us think twice 

    The Simpsons are well-known for their ‘prediction’ conspiracies. Radioactive waste is regularly shown around Springfield, and the unappealing vibrant green liquid is often portrayed in leaking barrels marked with the Radioactive symbol.

    In line with the characteristics of ‘Mr Burns’, it comes as no surprise that he is committing malfeasance crimes by wrongful disposals. There has been plenty of toxic waste focused storylines in line with this, including the terribly polluted river which caused a new breed of fish to mutate. 

    Mutant, the 1984 eco-horror is about two brothers who discover that the residents of a small southern town are becoming infected by a form of toxic waste, turning them into blood-ravenous zombies. Can you imagine the fear? The anxiety of the unknown? 

    It’s not just in the movies…

    There is some truth to what we are unsure of. In the summer of 1991, Middletown High School, 70 miles north of Manhattan, was given a handful of video cameras. The expectation was to train Fred Iseeks, a popular English teacher’s students in film-making and media production, using local subjects as a starting point. What was supposed to be a casual documentary about local life, somehow turned into an investigative journalism unit.

    The project came to a head a whopping six years later in 1997, students passing through Isseks’ high school class would film, edit, and release a feature-length documentary that would eventually uncover and expose a generation’s worth of illegal, mob-connected dumping of toxic materials in their part of New York state. The documentary picked up a huge political stem and is a prime example of how a blockbuster movie would begin.

    What is toxic waste?

    Toxic waste is classed as a chemical waste material that can cause death or dangerous injuries. Waste is considered toxic if it is poisonous, explosive, mutagenic, radioactive, teratogenic (birth defects) or even carcinogenic (causing cancer). Poisoning occurs when toxic waste is ingested, inhaled, or absorbed by the skin. 

    What waste is considered ‘toxic’?

    From what might be the seemingly less invasive kind of toxic waste in everyday life, such as pesticides, paint, car oil and even old batteries, you will find that they are just as reactive and corrosive as the more fear-mongering kind you see in films today. 

    Waste is classed as ‘hazardous’ under environmental legislation when it contains properties that might cause harm to humans or the environment. This does not always mean that an instant risk to human health is going to occur, but some toxic waste can cause terrible consequences. 

    Is your waste hazardous?

    Examples include:

    • Batteries
    • Asbestos 
    • Pesticides
    • Chemicals, such as brake fluid or print toner
    • Home electronics such as fridges or freezers
    • Car oil

    Common hazard waste disposal

    The removal of toxic waste is different in each circumstance. With common hazardous waste and items that are difficult to dispose of, there is a more advanced approach necessary. 

    Hazardous waste cannot be neglected or sent to landfill like normal waste. It must go through an efficient process and procedures to ensure that it will not have the ability to cause damage or serious harm to humans, animals and to our environment. 

    Waste disposal – leave it to the experts

    It is important to know that you should not dispose of your own hazardous waste unless you are qualified to do so and have the necessary on-site facilities. Having an understanding of what is hazardous and what is ordinary waste is key to staying safe.

    Toxic waste is only permitted to be disposed of at authorised sites. Specialists in waste management, like McCarthy, can transport hazardous waste to the correct facilities for processing.

    Going above and beyond – recycling hazardous waste 

    Thankfully, despite the fear of toxic waste, it is perfectly achievable to recycle many toxic materials, which, in turn, reduces the amount of hazardous waste ending up in landfills. Many recycling facilities will accept certain types of hazardous waste, so it is worth doing your research. 

    Toxic waste disposal can be challenging when you have to consider all safety precautions. However, you must remember that no matter how tough it can seem to comply, working with these procedures will ensure that humans and the environment can stay safe and unharmed. It doesn’t have to be difficult, toxic waste is everywhere, but with the support from McCarthy, our professional services can help keep you protected. 

    At McCarthy, we offer comprehensive hazardous waste and technical solutions that keep you compliant with legislation and deliver innovative disposal solutions, competitive prices and excellent service.

    Skip Hire for Plasterboard

    Some skip hire companies won’t take plasterboard at all, for a variety of reasons related to public health. With McCarthy, our team of professional waste disposal experts have decades of experience in plasterboard recycling – and we’re happy to help get DIY and trade waste sorted for you. The rules around placing plasterboard in a skip are simple and in this post, we outline why they are in place.

    You Can’t Mix Plasterboard and General Waste

    Plasterboard has become the most popular interior construction material – because besides being excellent for creating internal spaces quickly, it’s cheaper and more fire resistant than traditional methods of interior construction (like lath and plaster).

    Just about any kind of remodelling, conversion or renovation is going to involve plasterboard – either gutting out the old stuff or cutting and installing new board. Getting rid of waste plasterboard has to be done carefully, though.

    The one rule? Don’t mix it with anything else. 

    But why?

    Plasterboard is made of gypsum powder – a natural, chalky mineral that’s soft and moldable. This is the base material of plaster, a material used since ancient times to decorate buildings, for sculpture and until recently, to make casts for setting broken bones.

    To make plasterboard, wet plaster is sandwiched between thick sheets of paper, thoroughly dried and then treated to reach optimal humidity. Too dry and it’ll crack, too wet and mildew can form – but additives can be mixed into the plaster to help strength and reduce mildew formation.

    Once set, the boards are strong enough to build with.

    But gypsum has drawbacks. While it’s perfectly safe as a material on its own, it can react with other organic compounds in general waste to release hydrogen sulphide, in a process called putrefaction.

    Hydrogen Sulphide

    Hydrogen sulphide is colourless, poisonous, corrosive and explosive. It also stinks of rotten eggs. In short, it’s bad news. It’s denser than air, so it sinks in the atmosphere and can form gas pockets underground or in landfill, contributing to pollution.

    This dangerous gas is the reason that plasterboard cannot be mixed with general waste – and so if you need to dispose of plasterboard in a skip, you have to make sure it’s separated from everything else.

    Disposing of Plasterboard in a Skip

    The Environmental Agency changed the rules on disposing of gypsum-based materials in 2009. Plasterboard can’t be sent to landfill – instead, it should be separated for recovery and recycling, to avoid contamination with other waste and the release of harmful hydrogen sulphide.

    If you’re undertaking a DIY remodelling project, we suggest hiring more than one skip. For example, use mini skip hire to store and dispose of plasterboard – and hire a builders skip to take care of bulky, general construction waste.

    As long as the separated plasterboard is kept clean and dry, it’ll be safe to take away and recycle!

    Skip Hire Experts – Helping You on Every Project

    Hire a skip now from McCarthy, for quick and convenient disposal of all kinds of waste – including separated plasterboard. Need help choosing the right size of skip for your project? Call us on 01235 760555 or fill out our contact form and our waste disposal experts will guide you.

    Burning Waste? Don’t Make These Mistakes

    Burning rubbish might seem like a quick, easy way to get rid of waste. But, as with most things, it’s not quite that simple. Burning the wrong kind of waste can be damaging to your health, the environment – and it could land you fines.

    What Household Waste is Safe to Burn?

    ✅ Solid wood items
    ✅ Timber
    ✅ Dry leaves

    Solid wood, dry leaves and timber are all safe to burn. MDF, chipboard and composite particle boards that behave and look like wood should never be burned, and neither should any furniture made from those materials. That’s because the bonding agents used to glue all the particles or layers together becomes a toxic vapour when burned, which can severely impact health if inhaled.

    Paper’s okay to burn (as long as it isn’t the glossy, magazine type) but you can recycle or even compost paper, which is much easier and better for the environment. And that’s about it – it’s safe to burn solid wood and printed, non-glossy paper. Everything else is restricted.

    Restrictions and Regulations

    As the government puts it, you can legally build and light a bonfire on your property, as long as it doesn’t harm or pollute. Household waste is not allowed to be burned, and if your bonfires become a nuisance, then the law will be brought into action.

    To be safe, always make sure NEVER to burn:

    ❌ General household waste
    ❌ Plasterboard or other DIY waste
    ❌ Plywood, particle or chip boards
    ❌ Electronics or plastic items

    Burning harmful waste can produce thick, opaque and seriously harmful smoke – and if this is allowed to drift over traffic, it could cause an accident. There are heavy fines in place if you allow this to happen. Plastics and electronics burn with acrid, toxic smoke and should never be added to a fire – these must be responsibly disposed of at a recycling centre.

    When to Hire a Skip or Tipper

    Burning isn’t actually a very good way to deal with waste, and should only be done if there’s no way to reuse, recycle or recover it. Burning waste for energy – like for barbecues, kindling or in a wood burner – is slightly better, but not everyone has the kind of waste that would lend itself to those jobs (or the need for dirty heat).

    Instead of burning, dispose of your waste with McCarthy. We can collect most waste types in a convenient way that fits your needs.

    If you live in a densely packed area, where burning could cause a nuisance or risk to traffic, then you could hire a skip or use our man with a van service. In cases where you need bulky waste taken away quickly, without permits or taking up space on your property, hire a man with a van – for longer jobs, hire a skip.

    We recycle 95% of the waste we collect – so you can be sure your waste won’t be waste for long.

    Want to know more? Call us today on 01666 505800.