Hazardous waste is a waste with properties that make it dangerous or potentially harmful to human health or the environment. In regulatory terms, a RCRA hazardous waste is a waste that appears on one of the four hazardous wastes lists (F-list, K-list, P-list, or U-list), or exhibits at least one of four characteristics—ignitability, corrosivity, reactivity, or toxicity. Most of our wastes at Creighton are "characteristic" wastes. Hazardous waste is regulated under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Subtitle C.
More information can be found on the EPA's Hazardous Waste information site.
Please note that bottles that contained P-listed chemicals are also considered to be hazardous waste and must be disposed of as such. Common P-list lab chemicals include sodium azide, potassium ferricyanide, nicotine, 2,4-dinitrophenol, potassium cyanide (and other cyanide compounds). Please see the Electronic Code of Federal Regulations for complete details. The link may change so please see 40 CFR §261.33 if necessary. The University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center keeps a good list that also explains the necessity of disposing of the empty containers properly.
Hazardous waste is picked up on a quarterly basis. Your waste inventories will be due approximately 1 1/2 weeks prior to the pickup , and we will be around the week before the actual pickup date to collect your waste.
An email is sent to people wishing to be informed of this and other chemical issues. Please contact Mary Duda to be added to that list. EH&S personnel will be around the week before the scheduled pickup to collect your waste for labpack by the waste contractor.
A few things to keep in mind about hazardous waste:
All containers must be labeled with the following information
Labels are available here for your convenience (Word document). They can be printed on to standard Avery labels or plain paper and attached to your bottles.
Waste containers must be closed except when material is being added. This includes HPLC machines. Parafilm is not considered an appropriate lid for containers.
Keep hazardous waste in a specially designated area that is not on the floor. Consider using secondary containment -- place your waste bottles in a storage bin or a tray with a lip around the edge. This will contain your waste in the event of a spill or broken bottle.
Make sure a proper lid is always on the container, except when filling it.
The Department of Environmental Health and Safety is pleased to announce that it will no longer be charging generators for their hazardous waste shipments. Please understand, however, that in cases of willful neglect, hoarding, or materials that are extremely difficult to dispose properly, charges may still apply. A document outlining these special circumstances is available here.
This only applies to chemical hazardous waste; individual departments will continue to contract directly with Stericycle for medical and/or biohazardous waste disposal.
Hazardous waste disposal charges are not cheap; care must be taken to include these charges in your budgets. One way to reduce these charges is to order less to begin with. While it may seem more economical at first to order the 4L bottle instead of the 1L bottle, it may wind up being much more expensive in the long run. Determine how much of a substance you will actually use in your research, and only order as much as you will need. Excess can be placed in our "chem exchange," but if no one wants it, it remains your problem to dispose of it. Try to find less hazardous alternatives, if possible.
Check out the EPA's Enforcement Alert regarding the management of Laboratory Waste.
Check out our new webpage discussing planning ahead when purchasing chemicals. There are tips regarding items that may be expensive or difficult to dispose of.