General Hazardous Waste Minimization

The Office of Environment, Health & Safety believes in the minimization of all wastes so we have developed the Hazardous Waste Minimization Program on campus. The objective of this program is to minimize the costs, health hazards, and environmental impacts associated with the disposal of hazardous waste.

Waste minimization is accomplished by establishing both administrative and operational laboratory procedures. Review the usage of chemcials in your area and identify practices which can be modified to reduce the amount of hazardous waste generated. For example, evaluate experimental or process protocols to ensure they will be carried out in a manner that minimizes the generation of hazardous waste. While best way to minimize the volume of hazardous waste is to not to generate it, we understand that this is not always possible. Below are some general guidlines to assist in waste minimization.

  • Use the Envrionment, Health and Safety (EH&S) Surplus Chemical Redistribution Program to obtain free chemicals.
  • Order only exact volumes to be used.
  • Establish a centralized purchasing program for your area to monitor chemical purchases and avoid duplicate orders.
  • When ordering chemicals, be aware of any properties that may preclude long term storage.
  • Use supplies who can provide quick delivery of small quantities.
  • Order only exact volumes to be used.
  • Promote sharing among common users.
  • Rotate chemical stock to keep chemicals form becoming outdated.
  • Locate surplus/unused chemicals- attempt to redistribute unused chemicals to other users through the Surplus Chemical Redistribution Program.
  • Attempt to return unused gas cylinders to vendor.
  • Review experimental protocol to assure that chemical usage is minimized.
  • Reduce volumes used in experiments - use microscale procedures.
  • Use less hazardous or non-hazardous substitutes when feasible.
  • Instead of wet chemcial techniques, use instrumental methods - these generally require smaller amounts of chemicals.
  • Consider using off-site analytical services.
  • Reuse spent solvent for initial cleaning, use fresh solvent only for final rinse.
  • Substitute specialty detergents for sulfuric acid/chromic acid cleaning solutions. Distill and reuse solvents.
  • Avoid mixing hazardous and non-hazardous waste.
  • Review literature for additional techniques applicable to your particular processes.