Lead – Lead is a highly corrosion-resistant, machinable metal. Piping and paint symbolise some of its use cases. It was utilised as an anti-knocking delegate in gasoline. It was later discovered that its by-product could cause serious health complications. You will find lead in car batteries, ammunition, lifting weights, radiation protection, and cable sheathing.
Mercury – Mercury is a naturally-occurring chemical element found in rock in the earth’s crust, including in deposits of coal. On the periodic table, it has the symbol “Hg” and its atomic number is 80. It exists in several forms.
Elemental or metallic mercury is a shiny, silver-white metal, historically referred to as quicksilver, and is liquid at room temperature. It is used in older thermometers, fluorescent light bulbs and some electrical switches. When dropped, elemental mercury breaks into smaller droplets which can go through small cracks or become strongly attached to certain materials. At room temperature, exposed elemental mercury can evaporate to become an invisible, odourless toxic vapor. If heated, it is a colourless, odourless gas.
In its inorganic form, mercury occurs abundantly in the environment, primarily as the minerals cinnabar and metacinnabar, and as impurities in other minerals. Mercury can readily combine with chlorine, sulphur, and other elements, and subsequently weather to form inorganic salts. Inorganic mercury salts can be transported in water and occur in soil. Dust containing these salts can enter the air from mining deposits of ores that contain mercury. Emissions of both elemental or inorganic mercury can occur from coal-fired power plants, burning of municipal and medical waste, and from factories that use mercury. Inorganic mercury can also enter water or soil from the weathering of rocks that contain inorganic mercury salts, and from factories or water treatment facilities that release water contaminated with mercury.
Although the use of mercury salts in consumer products, such as medicinal products, have been discontinued, inorganic mercury compounds are still being widely used in skin lightening soaps and creams. Mercuric chloride is used in photography and as a topical antiseptic and disinfectant, wood preservative, and fungicide. In the past, mercurous chloride was widely used in medicinal products, including laxatives, worming medications, and teething powders. It has since been replaced by safer and more effective agents. Mercuric sulphide is used to colour paints and is one of the red colouring agents used in tattoo dyes.
Human exposure to inorganic mercury salts can occur both in occupational and environmental settings. Occupations with higher risk of exposure to mercury and its salts include mining, electrical equipment manufacturing, and chemical and metal processing in which mercury is used. In the general population, exposure to mercuric chloride can occur through the dermal route from the use of soaps and creams or topical antiseptics and disinfectants. Another, less well-documented, source of exposure to inorganic mercury salts among the general population is from their use in ethnic religious, magical, and ritualistic practices and in herbal remedies.
When inorganic mercury salts can become attached to airborne particles. Rain and snow deposit these particles on land. Even after mercury gets deposited on land, it often returns to the atmosphere, as a gas or associated with particles, and then redeposits elsewhere.
As it cycles between the atmosphere, land, and water, mercury undergoes a series of complex chemical and physical transformations, many of which are not completely understood. Microscopic organisms can combine mercury with carbon, thus converting it from an inorganic to organic form. Methylmercury is the most common organic mercury compound found in the environment and is highly toxic.
Cadmium – Cadmium (Cd) is a soft, malleable, bluish white metal found in zinc ores, and to a much lesser extent, in the cadmium mineral greenockite. Most of the cadmium produced today is obtained from zinc by-products and recovered from spent nickel-cadmium batteries. First discovered in Germany in 1817, cadmium found early use as a pigment because of its ability to produce brilliant yellow, orange, and red colours. Cadmium became an important metal in the production of nickel-cadmium (Ni-Cd) rechargeable batteries and as a sacrificial corrosion-protection coating for iron and steel. Common industrial uses for cadmium today are in batteries, alloys, coatings (electroplating), solar cells, plastic stabilizers, and pigments. Cadmium is also used in nuclear reactors where it acts as a neutron absorber. While lithium-ion batteries have made significant gains in popularity for lightweight electronic devices, new market opportunities for industrial applications of Ni-Cd batteries will continue to fuel cadmium use.
Cadmium and its compounds are highly toxic and exposure to this metal is known to cause cancer and targets the body’s cardiovascular, renal, gastrointestinal, neurological, reproductive, and respiratory systems.
Others – Whilst the above are the most common forms of toxic metals there are plenty more out there, including Nickel, Chromium, Cobalt, Manganese, Beryllium and so on.
Rare Earth Metals
There are 17 different types of rare Earth metals and the most common one found is Neodymium, commonly found in older style hard drives and used predominantly in hybrid cars and guided missile systems. The whole list of rare metals is: lanthanum (La), cerium (Ce), praseodymium (Pr), neodymium (Nd), promethium (Pm), samarium (Sm), europium (Eu), gadolinium (Gd), terbium (Tb), dysprosium (Dy), holmium (Ho), erbium (Er), thulium (Tm), ytterbium (Yb), lutetium (Lu), scandium (Sc), and yttrium (Y).
Why use Priority Waste?
- Can plan your waste area for you
- Assistance in educating your employees and providing training information on correct waste disposal
- Fast response from your initial contact, followed by collection and provision of legal documentation
- Guaranteed collection dates
- Legal documentation provided and stored on your customer portal for ease of access
- All waste streams can be managed sustainably and legally
- Cost effective solutions
- Waste Hierarchy always followed
- Detailed monthly reporting structure for total waste management
- Monthly invoices
- Ad-hoc collections carried out within 8 working days
- Emergency back-up for failed regular collections
- National Coverage
Skips – 6 – 20 yard – Usually used for Irons, steels, aluminium’s
Cut-Top IBC’s – Suitable for smaller users.
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This depends on quantities generated and/or the types of metals, Transport and processing costs are always taken in to account.
Yes – we can initially have a discussion to find out what types of metal you are generating, and if necessary, we can attend site and even sample and analyse higher grade metals with the view of providing rebates.
I have some electrical waste that is predominantly made up of scrap metal – Can I put this in a metal skip?
No, this waste stream is classed as WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) and must be disposed of under the WEEE Directives (See our WEEE Pages). This would contaminate pure metal loads
Most metal is recyclable as long as it is not contaminated with hazardous substances.
We can offer ad-hoc on-off collections and arrange ongoing regular waste services throughout the UK.
Yes, we provide Waste Transfer notes and Hazardous Waste Consignment Notes subject to collection type. This information is permanently available for you to view and download on our customer portal.
Extremely simple to use, we have recently carried out a survey (December 2022) on the ease of use and accessibility of our portal amongst over 2000 customers and we didn’t receive a single negative comment. The feedback received was a mix of 4 and 5 stars.
Regular collections are arranged at the outset of your agreement and are logged on to our customer portal with a start and end date. You will then be able to view the agreed collection dates during the entire service. Ad-hoc collections can be arranged via our customer portal, email or the trusted way of phoning in to our customer services team who will then arrange the service quickly and efficiently.
We had great difficulty contacting our current/previous provider whenever there was an issue and had very long waiting times. We felt that we were not valued customers. How is your customer services rated?
Our fully trained customer services team are trained to handle any issues. We do not have extremely long waiting times and usually answer the phone within a few moments. We take great old-fashioned care in looking after our customers, and therefore we retain them. Try us and see.