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Develop a System for the Legal, Safe, and Ecologically Acceptable Disposal of Chemical Wastes

Mon, 12/10/2012 - 9:04pm

We recommend the establishment of a chemical management system. This system provides for the safe procurement, storage, use, and disposal of chemicals. The system begins with the assumption of responsibility. Management needs to have written policies for the safe use and disposal of chemical and biological materials.

A hazardous waste coordinator needs to be appointed to oversee the process and be thoroughly familiar with the state and federal regulations. The facility needs to function as a single site. Safe disposal of hazardous wastes needs to be everyone's responsibility.

Today, more than 40% of the chemical disposed of from laboratories are perfectly good unopened containers. A good chemical inventory is essential to avoiding the purchase of unneeded materials. Next, it's more effective to buy small quantities and discard empty containers. When the cost of disposal is factored in, the larger size may no longer be the most cost-effective.

Adopt strategies for waste minimization. Exchange unwanted surplus materials, recycle and reclaim by-products, substitute less hazardous materials and use smaller scale reactions when possible. Acid and base streams can be neutralized. Hazardous wastes can be processed in the collection vessel.

Dr. James A. Kaufman is the founder and president of The Laboratory Safety Institute (LSI) www.labsafety.org – an international, non-profit center for safety in science and science education. LSI provides workshops, seminars, onsite training programs, lab safety program development consultations, facilities inspections and regulatory compliance assistance. Contact LSI with all your lab safety questions: 800-647-1977 or info@labsafety.org.

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