Did you know that improper disposal of lab materials can be dangerous? Lab security is not an afterthought, but a proactive and necessary part of the research. This blog guide discusses the most effective and cost-efficient ways to dispose of lab waste, keep your lab clean, and avoid the big fine for improper disposal methods.
Types Of laboratory wastes
Knowing these types of waste is your first step in streamlining the process and cutting out what doesn't work. But wait, there's more! The next step will show you how to get rid of the waste once and for all.
Chemical Waste (organic solvents and their residue, waste acids, alkalis, and other corrosive materials, discarded process chemicals or laboratory reagents, etc)
Contaminated Containers (containers with residue)
Bio-hazardous Waste (Sharps & Waste like needles, scalpels, broken glass and razors, pathological waste such as human tissue, blood, and fluids)
Electrical Waste (outdated computers, lab equipment, oscilloscopes, signal generators, printed circuit boards, etc.)
Radioactive Waste (solids or liquids contaminated with radioactive material)
How To Dispose Of Lab Waste The Right Way
Lab waste is a huge problem, especially in labs that work with hazardous materials and other dangerous substances. By reducing the amount of waste generated and altering how it's managed, you can prevent health and safety risks and improve the efficiency of your system. Here are 7 tips that can help you manage your lab waste before its disposal.
1. Identify the type of waste (and label it).
Make sure that each container holding hazardous laboratory waste has a label that identifies what's inside. This labeling system should be standardized. If you don't know what's in the bottle, don't open it or pour it into another bottle. Leave it as it is. When you set new items in, update the label to include the new material being placed inside. Do not use abbreviations when labeling, write the full names of all materials.
If you are generating a large amount of any kind of waste, it is best to have a separate container for the material. Make sure the container is compatible with the waste you are collecting. Laboratory waste that is not hazardous and is not contaminated with hazardous material can be sent for recycling. If you feel that moving the chemical is dangerous, don't move it. Labeling first reduces the risk of an unknown material being placed into a container.
3. Keep chemicals separated.
Store waste in containers with screw-top lids, and keep those containers closed except when adding waste to them. Put liquid chemical wastes in containers so they do not react with the chemical waste they contain. For example, it's best to avoid storing acids or bases in metal containers; hydrofluoric acid in glass; and gasoline products in light polyethylene containers like milk jugs. Whereas, dry chemicals should be stored in the original container, labeled with a hazardous waste label, and stored in a secure location.
4. Decontaminate bio-hazardous waste.
First, determine whether the waste is hazardous or not and whether it is regulated by legislation. This is where you categorize or classify waste. Bio-hazardous waste can be treated before disposal by using different methods. The state pollution control board and WHO guidelines recommend several techniques, including chemical decontamination, thermal decontamination (autoclaving), and incineration.
5. Store radioactive waste correctly.
Before disposing of potentially contaminated materials, monitor them for radiation. If you detect no radioactive material; dispose of the item as non-radioactive trash. Make sure to separate radioactive materials from other solid wastes. If you have aqueous or solvent waste that includes radioactive materials, put it in a glass bottle and immediately put a radioactive waste tag in it.
6. Don't forget empty containers.
It is important to clean all empty chemical containers following specific guidelines and regulations. Before disposing of them, clean the containers three times with a compatible solvent. The first rinse can be disposed of as chemical waste and the second and third rinses should go down the drain. Allow the containers to air dry (in a fumehood if done inside), then remove labels and all indicators or warning signs such as "flammable" or "hazardous." Write "Empty" on each container. If you reuse an empty container, it must be cleaned before storing hazardous waste and other chemicals in it.
7. Get help from specialists.
Don't let lab waste accumulate. Get help from a certified hazardous waste management company that can help you stay on top of your lab waste disposal requirements and keep you in good standing with the law.
# Tips And Reminders For Lab Waste Management
1. Train the lab workers
The lab worker who performs the procedures should be familiar with the characteristics of the waste and any necessary precautions.
2. Keep a record of all your waste disposal
Make sure you have proof of the correct waste management in your records.
3. Try to reduce waste by looking for reliable suppliers.
Ask for small quantities of chemicals at short notice. Ask if you can return unused chemicals when you run out.
Different types of laboratories produce different types of waste. Regardless of the purpose and sector of your lab, any waste generated needs to be disposed of properly--even if it is recycling packaging materials. Carefully follow these 7 tips for lab waste management, and you can make sure your lab and surroundings are protected against harmful substances present in the waste.