Stay Earth Smart: Two Of The Most Common Environmental Mistakes Made By Small Companies

Anyone who operates a small business knows that there's a sea of laws to be aware of. But one legal area that many small businesses don't take into consideration is the environment. Unfortunately, it's especially easy for a small business owner to run afoul of environmental laws. Here's a look at two of the most common mistakes that small companies make when it comes to the environment - mistakes that could potentially lead to huge fines and even imprisonment.

Not Disposing of Toxic Waste Properly

Many small companies don't deal with hazardous waste too often, so they don't really have a proper method to dispose of it. All too often, they simply turn to the most convenient disposal method: their city's public sewer system, a nearby body of water, or even just the ground. But a casual attitude of "they'll never catch one time" could land a company with a huge fine, as this is one of the easiest violations for the EPA to investigate, and one of the most common offenses. Depending on the quantity and makeup of what was dumped, illegal dumping could even be a felony. Many cities now have complex sensors in sewer systems that can identify all sorts of chemicals, and can trace them to their point of origin.

Not Marking Hazardous Materials

Because it could be something as simple as a cleaning agent, almost every business has at least one hazardous material in their building. And if a hazardous material is present, it needs to be marked. But in many cases, this is something that gets missed. It could be because an issue of an employee being too busy, or it could be an issue of "everyone knows it's dangerous, so why bother marking it?" But this is definitely one area where shortcuts can be costly. It seems fairly innocuous, but failing to properly mark a hazardous material could lead to a fine of up to $30,000 if that material is later shipped without proper markings. Hazardous materials need to be marked not only in their storage area, but also in any "collection points" where packages are dropped off or organized.

If you have a small business, it's a good idea to make sure you have an environmental law attorney look over your records periodically to make sure everything is in line. After all, the cost of hiring their services is tiny compared to potential fines you could face should you find yourself on the wrong side of the law. To learn more, speak with someone like Moore Smith Buxton & Turcke-Chartered.