Management of Chemical and Bio-wastes

Hazardous wastes of all forms generated during laboratory activities must be identified and managed in a manner to ensure acceptable personnel exposure and environmental disposal as specified by regulatory bodies []. Some recommended practices are as follows [Ref. 10; and]:

  • Laboratory activities should be consciously planned to help minimize generation of wastes, particularly those which are hazardous
  • All students / staff handling wastes need be fully informed of the associated hazards
  • Safe practices for handling, storage, labelling and disposal of hazardous materials must be identified and documented and displayed prominently in each laboratory
  • The maximum quantity of hazardous waste that may be stored at any time for disposal must be regulated by the laboratory with due reference to any standard that may be available
  • The maximum time of storage of hazardous wastes must be fixed and adhered to in order to ensure timely disposal
  • While storing hazardous wastes special caution and effort must exercised for identifying container materials compatible with the waste
  • In the instances when no adequate treatment / disposal facilities are available at the laboratory level it is essential to label and store wastes in a safe manner and identify
  • contractors to whom the materials may be transferred for treatment and disposal¬†
  • Highly hazardous wastes such as radioactive materials must be handled and disposed off in accordance to guidelines from concerned regulatory bodies
  • Special disposal methods must be resorted to wastes generated in bio-laboratories, including broken glassware which may be contaminated hazardous bio-materials
  • Wastes whose chemical nature is not known may need specialized disposal procedures and in all such instances expert advise must be sought and documented for any future use
  • All laboratories must display a prominent signage containing a list of unused or waste materials that may be permissible for disposal into sinks; these may include: very weak
  • acids and base (5 < pH < 12), sugars, amino-acids, soaps / detergents, buffer solutions, metal-free solutions, disinfected bio-matter, etc.
  • Disposal of all other forms of unused / waste chemicals / wastewater into laboratory sinks should be strictly controlled and avoided