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Operational Practices to Minimize Hazardous Waste

  • Centralize the purchasing of chemicals through one person in the lab.

  • Take inventory of your chemicals regularly. Note the dates on the chemicals and dispose of any aging chemicals in a timely manner.

  • Use all of your older chemicals before purchasing or opening new chemicals.

  • Do experiments on as small a scale as is feasible, and periodically review procedures to see if the scale could be reduced.

  • Prevent students from over-dispensing chemicals.

    • Pre-weigh/pre-dispense chemicals that are needed for experimentation.

    • Store stock chemicals in small nozzled bottles

    • Prepare stock solutions prior to each experiment or on a regular periodic basis (for example, on every Monday) rather than keeping them constantly on the shelf.

  • Accurately label all waste bottles.

  • Detoxify or neutralize waste products if possible.

  • Substitute instrumental methods for wet chemistry whenever possible.

  • Purchase compressed gas cylinders or lecture bottles only from manufacturers who will accept the empty cylinders back.

  • Avoid mixing wastes.

    • Keep non-hazardous chemical waste separate from hazardous waste.

    • Avoid experiments that produce waste that is both radioactive and chemically hazardous.

    • Keep chemical waste separate from normal trash.