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Oregon State University

Waste Costs

GENERAL

  • The cost to dispose of hazardous chemical waste will often exceed the original purchase price of a chemical or chemical product
  • EH&S is funded for disposal of most hazardous waste costs. EH&S strongly encourages waste generators to use waste reduction techniques
  • Techniques listed below will help reduce the volume and disposal cost of our waste
  • Check with EH&S for current disposal rates if interested
  • Fines from regulatory agencies may be assessed for not properly handling waste materials and can be substantial

PURCHASE CHEMICALS to match anticipated needs.

  • Substantial portion of hazardous waste generated at OSU consists of unused or partly used chemicals that are in original containers
  • Per-unit savings from purchasing larger sized chemical containers are often offset by costs for disposal of unused portions, especially those with limited shelf life
  • Even if it isn't possible to exactly determine future needs, any effort will be beneficial

CHANGE PROCEDURES

  • Hazardous substance procedures can often be modified to lessen the hazard or amount of waste products. A less hazardous material can be substituted and perform as well
  • Example: substituting a commercial lab glass cleaner (e.g. NOCHROMIX) in place of chromic acid cleaning solution. The resulting mixture is still hazardous because of its corrosive properties, but has no toxic chromium and can therefore be neutralized
  • Reactive substances--those that react with water or air or are unstable--are especially troublesome disposal items. Disposal costs associated with picric acid, for example, can be as much as ten times the original purchase price

UNKNOWNS

  • Difficult and expensive to dispose
  • Prevent by good record keeping and labeling, including designating constituents and percentages.
  • Responsible departments must make every effort to identify unknowns
  • If this is not possible, then the responsible department may be asked to share the cost of identification or classification required for disposal of unknowns

CHEMICAL RECYCLING

  • Possible if material is in unopened containers or partially used original containers and of high quality
  • Materials available to interested parties at OSU
  • Do not obliterate any parts of labels
  • Chemicals and chemical products should not be given or sold to the general public or offered as surplus property
  • Commercial chemical products may be offered for surplus if reasonable cautions are followed

SEGREGATE

  • Mixing a low-cost disposal item with a higher one makes the entire lot a higher-cost item