Hazardous waste, as its name suggests, is not to be taken lightly. Its potential impact often extends beyond human health to our planet's fragile ecosystems. Inadequate management of hazardous materials can lead to environmental disasters with lasting consequences.

To ensure responsible hazardous waste management, the Canadian government has introduced the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations (TDG). These regulations apply to all shippers, carriers and handlers of dangerous goods. They specify that hazardous waste must be accurately identified according to class.

In this guide, the hazardous waste management professionals at Enviro Urgence explain the 9 classes of dangerous goods in Canada.


9 classes of dangerous goods according to the TDG

There are many different types of dangerous goods, and each requires specific treatment to protect the environment and public health from serious harm. To manage hazardous products properly, they must be categorized within specific classes, which include chemical, biological and other types of hazardous waste. Understanding this classification is crucial to implementing proper waste treatment.

The TDG classifies dangerous goods into nine categories according to the types of risks they present. These categories also apply to waste and recyclable materials that are hazardous to humans and the environment.

Class 1: Explosives

Since explosives are a highly dangerous product, their transportation is regulated by a separate law in addition to the TDG: the Act respecting explosives and its associated regulations.

Explosives have a high potential for dispersion and are very dangerous, thus the necessity of a double regulation. Having the authorization to purchase this type of product does not mean you can dispose of it yourself. You will need to contact an expert in hazardous waste management for safe, effective waste disposal.

Class 2: Gases

Gasses are divided into three categories: flammable gases, non-flammable and non-toxic gases, and toxic or corrosive gases.

Although non-flammable gases may seem less dangerous than the other two categories, their transportation and handling must still be carefully controlled, as these substances could be potentially harmful to humans if they get into the air. 

Class 3: Flammable Liquids

This class includes liquids, or liquids containing solids in solution or suspension, that release flammable vapours at a temperature of 60.5°C or less using the closed-cup method, or 65.6°C using the open-cup method.

Examples of dangerous goods in this class that are used every day are fuel products, solvents and other consumer products.

Class 4: Flammable and water-reactive substances

This category is used to identify flammable solid wastes with high risk of ignition from friction during transport or by contact with water. These include:

- Flammable solids

- Substances with a high risk of spontaneous ignition

- Materials that generate flammable gases when coming into contact with water.

Some dangerous goods will spontaneously heat up once they come into contact with air, or will produce dangerous quantities of flammable gases once they come into contact with water. The latter are classified as water-reactive materials.

Class 5: Oxidizing Substances and Organic Peroxides

Oxidizing waste materials emit oxygen and can provoke or contribute to the burning of nearby materials. These hazardous materials can speed up the spread of fire and aggravate it.

Organic peroxides are unstable, oxygen-containing organic compounds that may decompose explosively and react dangerously with other materials, causing significant damage.

Class 6: Toxic materials and infections substances 

Substances included in this class can cause death, serious injury, or harm to human health if swallowed, inhaled, or brought into contact with skin.

“Infectious materials” refers to substances containing microorganisms or toxins which can cause disease in animals or humans.

Understanding hazardous product labels can reduce the level of risk when dealing with them. 

Class 7: Radioactive materials

Radioactive materials, like explosives, are subject to additional strict regulations. There are 4 distinct classes of radioactive materials:

-    Low-level radioactive waste (LLRW)

-    Intermediate-level radioactive waste (ILW)

-    High-level radioactive waste (HLW)

-    Uranium mine and mill tailings

Radioactive materials and waste are regulated by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission

Class 8: Corrosive substances 

Contact with corrosive waste substances can cause serious damage to human tissue. These materials can also seriously damage or destroy other goods or equipment during transportation or handling.

Choosing appropriate equipment or packaging for hazardous materials is critical to prevent corrosion or burns. 

Class 9: Miscellaneous products, substances or organisms

Wastes that are considered hazardous but do not meet the criteria of any other category are identified as class 9 dangerous goods.

These substances are subject to the same transportation requirements as other hazardous materials.

Hazardous waste disposal

Hazardous waste can be managed in different ways, depending on class and type. Common disposal channels include:

- Recycling and material recovery

- Physico-chemical treatment

- Biological treatment

- Thermal treatment

- Storage.

Each of these processes aims to reduce the environmental and health risks associated with hazardous waste. The choice of process depends on the type of waste and whether it can be recycled.

Obligations of producers and holders of hazardous waste

Producers and holders of hazardous waste must adhere to strict obligations, which include describing any waste in their possession, packaging it appropriately, and labelling containers accurately. Waste must be treated in authorized facilities, and holders remain responsible for hazardous waste until it has been fully processed.

In addition, when hazardous waste crosses a border, transportation professionals must use appropriate shipping documents to track their movements and the treatment of the waste.

A hazardous waste register must be maintained to ensure traceability.

There are specific guidelines to follow for each type of hazardous waste, including used oil, batteries, electronic waste, end-of-life vehicles, and more. Current hazardous waste management regulations must be respected, which may require the assistance of a hazardous materials (HAZMAT) technician.


Let Enviro Urgence manage your hazardous waste

There are different types of hazardous waste, all of which represent a variety of risks. They must be classified and managed accordingly.

The transport of dangerous goods also requires special accreditations and accredited training in TDG.

You can trust EBI Enviro Urgence with the transportation and disposal of your hazardous waste. We will ensure it is handled with care and will not pose a threat to the environment.