The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) outlines proper hazardous waste management, placing special emphasis on waste reduction and recycling. Through waste minimization, you can help reduce unnecessary expenditure of university funds on waste disposal and material procurement by following the guidelines below.
Inventory your chemicals: The most important step you can take toward waste minimization is to maintain a running inventory of chemicals present in your lab. An inventory will prevent you from ordering more of what you already have. It also helps you to store chemicals properly and can be an invaluable tool in emergency situations.
Order only what you need: Please consider that the economy of larger sizes may be offset by the cost of disposing your excess. Before ordering chemicals, check your current stock; and it may be possible to borrow small amounts of chemicals from other labs. It pays to take the time to check.
Substitute non-hazardous or less hazardous materials: There are many non-hazardous substitutes for commonly used chemicals, such as chromic acid. Other alternatives may be much less toxic. These substitutions can be done with satisfactory results in most cases.
Do not mix hazardous and non-hazardous waste: Non-hazardous waste, when mixed with hazardous waste, will become hazardous itself. Do not mix small quantities of hazardous waste with non-hazardous waste because it will increase the volume of hazardous waste produced. Likewise, high concentration waste should not be mixed with low concentration waste.