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Environmental Health and Safety

Hazardous Waste Disposal Procedures

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To prevent injury, minimize environmental health hazards and meet regulatory requirements, campus laboratories, studios, shops, etc. must comply with the following chemical waste disposal procedures.

  • Individuals may be held criminally liable for violations of applicable laws and regulations.
  • Do not dispose of chemicals in the sink or the trash cans.
  • Do not use fume hoods to intentionally evaporate chemicals for disposal purposes.

How to Handle Chemical Waste

Minimize Initial Generation:

  • Review each protocol to assure that hazardous chemicals are used efficiently and that excess purchases are minimized.
  • Conduct microscale processes to minimize hazardous materials used and waste generated.
  • Use substances which can be neutralized or stabilized, either physically or chemically. 
  • Substitute materials presenting the lowest degree of hazard for materials presenting a greater hazard.

Comply with Requirements for Waste Storage:

  • Ensure all chemicals are stored in containers designed for those chemicals.
  • Liquid waste in screw top containers only (do not fill containers more than 80%).
  • Containers must be completely sealed to prevent spillage (no open beakers or rubber stoppers!).
  • Outer surface of containers must be clean and free of any contamination.
  • Food containers are not acceptable for storing chemicals.

Appropriately Label each Container:

  • Do not lose track of container contents!  All unknowns must be analyzed and their contents identified (the cost of this analysis may be charged to the generating department).
  • Label each container clearly with the chemical name(s), being as specific as possible (no abbreviations or formulas).
  • All constituents in mixtures-solids and liquids-must be identified and their concentrations stated as accurately as possible.
  • Other labels must be removed or lined out.

Properly Segregate the Chemicals:

  • Segregate solids, liquids and gases.
  • Segregate chemicals into the following categories:

     Acids of pH<2 (do not mix)
     Alkaline solutions of pH>12.5 (do not mix)
     Alkali metals and other water reactives
     Heavy metal solutions and salts
     Chemical carcinogens
     Halogenated organics
     Non-halogenated organics
     Peroxide-forming chemicals
     Strong oxidizers
     Other toxic materials

Dispose of Properly:

  • To arrange for a chemical waste pick-up, please contact EH&S at 2252 or 2338.
  • EH&S will not accept responsibility for improperly labeled and/or improperly sealed containers and will not pick them up.
  • Transferring waste into appropriate containers is the generator’s responsibility.
  • Waste containers become the property of EH&S and will not be returned unless previous arrangements have been made.
  • To discuss waste minimization and disposal procedures, contact EH&S at 2252 or 2338.
  • For situations involving chemical spills call 2252 or 2338 for technical assistance.  EH&S will advise and assist personnel in handling spills.  It is the responsibility of those working with the materials to be prepared for emergencies and to clean up small spills and contain larger spills.  Appropriate spill kits must be readily available in all areas using hazardous materials.
  • Do not throw cleanup material that has been contaminated with chemicals into the trash.  Label appropriately and treat as hazardous waste.

Contribute to a safe working environment.  Your cooperation is appreciated.

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