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Proper Waste Disposal



Hazardous waste, whether chemical, medical or radioactive, is generated in many laboratories and requires regulated disposal to ensure safety of public health and the environment.

The regulation of hazardous waste handling must be enforced from the moment of generation until its disposal at an offsite final destination facility.

Prior to commencing any laboratory activity, a waste management system must be devised. This is often established by an institute's Environmental Health and Safety, or EH&S, office, which enforces guidelines imposed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA.

This video will illustrate the principles and typical laboratory procedures of proper waste disposal.

Efficient waste management is an important aspect of proper waste disposal. This can be accomplished by using the minimal amount of chemicals possible, by reusing surplus materials, and by recycling waste.

The generated waste must be labeled, segregated according to chemical compatibility, and stored in a fume hood or other well ventilated area. Other laboratory waste, such as sharps and glass, must be disposed with care in appropriate containers.

Now that we have discussed the principles of proper waste disposal, let's look at an actual procedure.

If applicable, keep chemical waste to a minimum by reducing the scale of operation. Furthermore, substitute chemicals with less hazardous reagents whenever possible.

In addition to minimizing the scale of operation, store only chemical quantities that will be used in the near term. You can also reduce chemical waste by recycling solvents like acetone, using a distillation.

Wear proper personal protective equipment including a lab coat, goggles, and gloves, as well as long pants and closed-toed shoes, whenever handling any chemical waste.

Collect chemical waste in suitable containers such as plastic carboys or glass bottles, and store near the point of generation in a designated satellite accumulation area.

Affix labels to the waste containers as soon as chemicals are added. Write on the labels the full names of the chemicals and their approximate compositions.

Additionally, use separate containers for halogenated, nonhalogenated, and aqueous waste to avoid potential heat or gas formation. When the containers are filled to capacity, carefully move them to a designated central accumulation area, from which they will be removed for disposal.

Dispose of chemically contaminated needles, syringes and razor blades, collectively known as sharps, inside of a sharps waste container.

For broken glass, used pipettes or test tubes, use a specialized glass waste container. If desired, empty bottles can be reused after triple rising with acetone, water, and again acetone.

You've just watched JoVE's introduction to proper waste disposal. You should now understand waste management, how to collect chemical and sharps waste, and how to store it for disposal. Thanks for watching!

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