Stay up to date on the latest Legislation governing Lab Waste Disposal
Laboratory Waste Disposal Guidelines:
Container labelling and management
– Labels should contain the following information:
– The words “Unwanted Material”
– A bar code to track the container
– Accumulation start date
– General information about the laboratory generating the unwanted material (person generating the material, department, building, room number, phone number)
– If possible, use the original manufacturer label. This label is located on the original container. However, it is important to clarify that it can be used as an alternate label only if it is in good and legible condition.
– Good condition means that it is clearly readable, not torn or missing information. The laboratory worker must add the words “Unwanted Material” to the container, plus the accumulation start date. This is not an approved option if any chemical materials other than the ones stated on the original label are stored in the container.
– Two types of containers should be used in the laboratory to hold unwanted materials: working and nonworking containers.
– The working containers (maximum size one gallon) should be smaller and used at benches or work stations to collect unwanted material from experiments or procedures.
– Nonworking containers (maximum size five gallons) are larger and should be sealed, unless they are being used to decant the unwanted material.
– For the safe and suitable handling of all unwanted lab waste, it is essential to select the appropriate containers. The following provides guidelines for the appropriate selection of containers to be used for the handling of unwanted materials at laboratories:
– The most appropriate container for the different types of unwanted materials should be used.
– Separate containers should be used for non-hazardous lab waste, biomedical, and radioactive waste mixtures, among others.
– Separate containers should be used for liquids, solids, and gases.
– Containers should be compatible with the properties of the materials to be contained (e.g., acids must not be stored in metallic containers).
– Plastic and glass containers should be used for unwanted materials handling. They can either be new or reused containers of chemical substances used in the laboratories. Containers must be clean and free of polluting agents and must have their original caps.
– Plastic containers should be made of polyethylene (HDPE or LDPE), polypropylene, polystyrene (PET), polymers of vinyl, or TEFLON (e.g., polyetrafluorethylene (PTFE) and fluorinated ethylene propylene (FEP)).
– Glass containers of chemical substances can be reused (e.g., soda lime) or glasswork made especially for laboratory use by known brands, such as Pyrex, Kimax, Corning, and Kimble.
Training for laboratory workers
It’s highly recommended that all lab workers be familiar with the laboratory management plan and be capable of working to it. Workers can be students, professors, employees, and anyone who has access to and use of the laboratory chemicals.
Removal of lab waste:
– Unwanted lab waste will be removed from the laboratory using a rolling six-month approach—that is, each container will be removed within six months of its accumulation start date.
– Only a fully licensed waste management company may be called in to collect and dispose of the chemical waste. A copy of the company’s waste disposal license should be kept for your records.
– It is also important to ensure that collection is carried out in keeping with the latest legislative paperwork. This can be checked by contacting your relevant environmental agency, and copies of the paperwork should be kept for as long as possible, as proof that the lab waste was disposed of properly.
– It is not recommended that a laboratory accumulate more than 55 gallons of unwanted material before arranging a lab waste collection.
– Some of the above are in fact compulsory for educational labs choosing to have their hazardous waste disposal regulated by the Academics Laboratories Rules, while others are suggestions.
– As previously mentioned, the regulations and rules governing lab waste disposal do vary from country to country, but the underlying theme would have to be that wherever possible, whether a lab is industrial, government-run, or academic, common sense best practices really are the best policy.
For further information about our lab waste disposal guidelines or to arrange the safe disposal of your lab waste please do get in touch and we’ll be happy to help.