A Designer’s Guide to Safe and Aesthetic Hazard Storage

Designing a structure—whether it’s a building or a piece of furniture—entails more than just blueprinting a design, gathering materials to execute said plans, and calling it a day. 


In reality, there’s much more to design than creating an aesthetically pleasing piece or structure. It also involves upholding proper and professional practices, especially on the waste disposal front.


As designers, it’s common to utilize general materials that don’t typically sit on the shelves of a standard household. From paint thinners to oils, these materials are often laden with chemicals that can cause ecological harm if disposed of irresponsibly.


Designers must be conscious of integrating sustainability into their practice. Fortunately, designers can adopt quite a number of environmentally friendly measures while simultaneously maintaining a piece’s beauty.


Without further ado, here are seven tips to help you properly store hazardous material and ensure the safety of you, your clientele, and the community at large.


  1. Pick Sustainable Materials

Responsible disposal practices start by being mindful of the items you’re using and their respective packaging. As much as possible, refrain from buying items or obtaining packaging with a heavy carbon footprint, such as plastic-based products.


Beyond plastics, you should consider the environmental impact of your materials too. For instance, using paint with a low amount of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) helps reduce pollutants from entering the environment, improving air quality. 


Picking non-synthetic materials for construction is also a solid option considering their naturally occurring properties. The faster the item breaks down post-use, the better. Clay, rock, and woods like bamboo are ideal materials for most construction projects.

  1. Leave Little Waste

While unavoidable at times, excessive material waste can seep into the environment and pose detrimental effects to the local wildlife.


As much as possible, try to measure how much of a certain item you’re getting and use up only that much of that resource. Don’t try to consume or buy more than you can reasonably handle.


A zero-waste approach may be difficult for designers who want to stretch their creative limits, but if you hold great concern over your environmental impact, it’s something you should definitely integrate into your practice.


So the next time you find yourself having excess material lying around, such as wood or metals, consider saving them up for a future project instead of disposing of them. 


Many DIY enthusiasts have come up with lovely creations from recycled and upcycled materials, so don’t bin everything from the get-go.

  1. Label Potentially-Hazardous Products

Throughout the designing process, you’re likely using multiple types of materials—which would eventually translate to multiple forms of waste.


If you’re generating hazardous waste, it’s important to label them after use. This can help in identification, handling, and sorting when the time comes to throw them out. This is especially useful if you’re designing an item in a shared space, like a client’s living room or a commercial center.


Furthermore, labels also help other parties act appropriately when they get their hands on the binned item. A simple label like “Dangerous Chemical: Do Not Open” can give enough of a warning to people who may come into contact with these materials, dissuading them from opening them.

  1. Sort and Specially Treat Rubbish

As a designer, it’s expected that you’ll be dealing with different types of rubbish. It’s highly urged that you categorize your rubbish in their respective bins, especially if you’re in a country like Australia. 


These categories include recyclable waste, organic waste, and non-biodegradable waste, to name a few of the more common ones.


That said, when dealing with hazardous waste, the process of disposing of them will be a bit different. Don’t mix them with your general rubbish, as this can contaminate landfills and harm human health.


Instead, use appropriate storage containers to contain these items. They must be UN-rated and tight-fitting to ensure that they don’t get exposed. For instance, if you’re dealing with a gas cylinder it must be separated and out of reach, you can look for a STOREMASTA Gas Cylinder Storage Cage


Once you’ve stored your hazardous rubbish away, store it in a designated area far from other waste and potential fire sources until it’s time to take it all out.


  1. Ensure the Waste Area Has Adequate Ventilation

Maintaining a safe environment is a top consideration for designers and most professionals working in the construction industry. This is especially true if you’re dealing with hazardous waste in a cramped and unventilated room.


Polluted air can lead to respiratory illnesses like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), coughing, and other breathing problems. This can be exacerbated if there’s a high concentration of pollutants in the air, which can often occur in unventilated areas.


Installing ventilation systems (or even keeping the window open) can help dissipate potentially harmful vapours and gases emitted from the waste product. 


Following these practices not only keeps you compliant with safety protection standards but also makes the space more liveable and eco-friendly—which can be a good way to receive a good word from your clients.

  1. Keep Rubbish Storage Bins Discreet Yet Sorted

The most aesthetic rubbish bin, one could argue, is a discreet one hidden from plain sight. Because, let’s face it, no one really wants to see or smell waste as they navigate through their newly renovated home.


That said, the challenge lies in balancing aesthetic concerns with the practical need for effective waste segregation. Designers can bridge this gap by seamlessly integrating rubbish bins into a room’s layout without being too obtrusive.


For instance, designers could make built-in compartments and minimalist colour-coded bins to maintain the visual appeal of a room while promoting environmental responsibility. 


This way, the client can keep their rubbish (and especially hazardous ones) free from sight for visitors and children.

  1. Keep Note of Collection Day

If you generate a constant stream of waste, it’s important that you keep them at reasonable levels and avoid accumulating them.


Accumulating hazardous rubbish can heighten risk around the household or work area, even if they’re just standing by in a designated storage area. This is because they can turn to vapour or attract pests, which can be bothersome for any home.


Instead, keep your generated trash at minimal levels by aligning waste disposal routines with the scheduled collection services. Timely disposal helps keep your workspace neat and tidy, making everyone’s lives cleaner and more pleasant.


That said, be sure that your waste can be collected through this method. Rubbish like batteries, aerosols, paint, fluorescent lights, and pool chemicals are generally collected during these weekly collection days.


On the other hand, some wastes like asbestos, e-waste, mobile phones, tyres, and sharp needles are not accepted these days. They’ll need to be brought and disposed of in the right facility.