Hazardous Waste Disposal

Nearly everything we do leaves behind some kind of waste. Households create ordinary garbage. Industrial and manufacturing processes create both solid waste and hazardous waste. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates all this waste under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). RCRA's goals are to: protect us from the hazards of waste disposal; conserve energy and natural resources by recycling and recovery; reduce or eliminate waste; and clean up waste which may have spilled, leaked, or been improperly disposed of. Hazardous waste comes in many shapes and forms, from laboratory wastes to used antifreeze to spent fluorescent bulbs. RCRA tightly regulates all hazardous waste from cradle to grave. These regulations are found in the Code of Federal Regulations under 40 CFR Parts 260 - 299.

Chemical Waste Collection (top of page)

Within your work area, the following practices must be followed for proper management and collection of hazardous waste:

Environmental Management personnel collect waste from laboratories. They can be contacted at http://risk.byu.edu/. All waste containers must be labeled appropriately. EPA regulations state that lids must be screwed on waste containers when waste is not being added or removed.

Chemical Waste (top of page)

The following federal regulations apply to hazardous waste generated in laboratories. Any violation of these regulations may result in significant fines and loss of federal grants.

The following are additional rules for our convenience in disposing of your waste.

Biological Waste (top of page)

General biohazardous waste in the lab is defined as waste contaminated or potentially contaminated with pathogenic microorganisms, sharps, and animal remains.

Liquids with Biological Contamination

Solids with Biological Contamination

Glass (top of page)

Some empty bottles, such as those that contained acutely hazardous materials must be managed as hazardous waste (contact Environmental Management with questions). However, most glass waste may be disposed of as regular trash. An empty container, defined as having less than 3% of the original volume, can be discarded into the normal trash. Do not ever put glass (especially broken glass) into the regular waste containers. This has caused accidents where custodians have cut themselves while removing waste. Attach a label to the box or bucket which informs the custodians to place the container directly into the dumpster.

Paper and Plastic (top of page)

Most paper and plastic waste generated in the laboratory may be disposed of in the regular waste containers. In some cases, such as spill cleanups or contamination with very hazardous materials, it may become necessary to dispose of paper and plastic as hazardous waste. In such cases, do not place these materials into containers of liquid hazardous waste. They may be collected in containers designated for solids debris only.

Mixed Waste (top of page)

For our purposes, mixed waste is considered any waste that is:

Disposal of these wastes is extremely difficult and costly. This type of waste MUST BE APPROVED with Environmental Management before any waste is generated. Laboratories generating mixed wastes will be responsible to pay for their disposal.

Other (top of page)

Environmental Management also collects and recycles the following miscellaneous wastes:

Please detach these items from equipment that is to be discarded and contact Environmental Management for their disposal. There are other regulated wastes generated on campus that are typically managed by other entities (physical facilities, custodians, etc.) These wastes include computers and monitors, fluorescent lights, electronic ballasts, and others. Be aware that if your lab does generate any of these items for waste, they may not be discarded in the trash.