Have Waste That Needs Special Handling? Athens Special Waste Team is on the Job

Special Waste Roll-Off Coordinator Claudia Arellano and Special Waste Manager Jaime Aleman

Waste and recycling professionals work hard every day to protect the environment for all of us. We’ve all seen the drivers who collect our waste and recycling, but there are many more workers behind the scenes. All of them deserve our thanks for the work they do.

Have Waste That Needs Special Handling? Athens Special Waste Team is on the Job

Special-Waste-Roll-Off-Coordinator-Claudia-Arellano and Special Waste Manager Jaime Aleman

Special Waste Roll-Off Coordinator Claudia Arellano and Special Waste Manager Jaime Aleman

Some waste defies easy characterization, but Athens Services’ Special Waste Team knows exactly how to take care of your unwanted materials.

Most waste and recycling choices are simple: trash goes in the waste container, recyclables in the recycling container, and organics in the organics container. But what do you do with liquid, chemical, hazardous, and toxic wastes?

California and federal law require special handling for these materials. Hazardous waste is any waste that is potentially dangerous or harmful to humans or the environment. That includes waste byproducts of manufacturing, liquids, solids, or gas containers, and discarded products – commercial or household – such as cleaning fluids, solvents, or pesticides.

Types of Special Waste - List

A good example is the case of an organics food manufacturer in La Mirada that needed to dispose of 2,307 tons of expired apple cider vinegar. The manufacturer contacted Athens Services’ Special Waste Team, who helps businesses, contractors, and homeowners dispose of all types of hard-to-handle waste.

It took 108 transfer trailer truckloads to haul the expired vinegar from La Mirada to Athens’ City of Industry Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) and transfer station. There, the bottles were fed through a specialized piece of machinery to extract the vinegar and pulverize the glass and plastic bottle containers. Athens is the only company in Los Angeles County to use this technology. The MRF team members worked around the clock to manage the material.

After the vinegar was separated from the bottles, the liquid was captured in tanker trucks and transported to a local wastewater processing facilities. There, the liquid was converted into methane gas that is used as fuel.

“Ninety-nine percent of that liquid was diverted from a landfill, where otherwise, methane would have escaped into the atmosphere,” said Special Waste Manager Jaime Aleman.

The most common material the Special Waste Team manages are asbestos and other building waste. The team also handles certified destruction loads for the Food and Drug Administration, Customs, and Border Patrol contraband seizures. These include containers of non-hazardous liquids like beer, soda, and cooking sauces.

Jaime and Special Waste Roll-Off Coordinator Claudia Arellano have more than 25 years of combined experience in managing difficult types of waste. These two individuals are the only team members to make up the Special Waste Department. While small, this department is mighty. They conduct site inspections, ensure that paperwork, labeling, and shipping manifests are complete and meet legal requirements.

To learn more or to inquire about special waste services, contact SpecialWaste@AthensServices.com.

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