Hazardous Waste Minimization Guidelines-Environmental Health & Safety - Carnegie Mellon University

Hazardous Waste Minimization

Incorporate these steps when starting a project where hazardous materials will be used:

When designing your experiment, activity or project:

  • Micro-scale whenever possible, to reduce amount of hazardous materials used
  • Substitute less hazardous materials where possible (i.e., latex for oil-based paint, biodegradable cleaner for solvent)
  • Include bench-top neutralization as part of experimental protocol, where possible
  • Consider recycling, re-use or reclamation of hazardous materials as part of your work; contact EH&S for assistance
  • Eliminate arsenic, barium, cadmium, chromium, lead, mercury, selenium or silver

When obtaining your chemicals:

  • Check your inventory first, to see if you have the material already
  • Contact EH&S to use the campus inventory to locate and borrow chemicals for first time or one time use
  • Purchase the smallest quantity of chemicals needed; the cost savings when buying larger quantities is lost if disposal costs are added for unused material
  • Investigate the possibility of returning of unneeded and unopened material to the supplier

When handling or storing your chemicals:

  • Store chemicals properly; poor storage may allow a chemical to deteriorate, become unstable, to leak or to spill, increasing the amount of waste and cost of disposal
  • Segregate waste materials properly; mixing of waste types (such as chlorinated wastes and PCBs) increases the amount of waste and the cost of disposal
  • Check your chemical inventory regularly; use older material before newer to prevent an expiration date from passing before the item can be used
  • Ensure that containers are in good condition and properly labeled; damaged containers and unknowns are expensive and difficult to dispose of.

Office: FMSB 3rd Floor
Phone: (412) 268-7501
Contact: Jeff Harris


Office: FMSB 3rd Floor
Phone: (412) 268-3221
Contact: Michael Patrick

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