Indiana University Environmental Health and Safety (IUEHS) developed this Guide based on local, state and federal regulations applicable to a broad variety of waste generated at the University. In addition, this Guide supplements Program requirements for the IUEHS Waste Management Program. Read and follow this Guide carefully. Indiana University employees play a vital role in the proper management of waste through their daily activities.
Purpose and Use of This Guide
This Guide serves as a resource for IU employees who participate in activities that generate waste from various campus operations. The primary focus is on chemical waste. Several key concepts are covered, including: an overview of waste regulations; waste minimization and recycling; IU waste collection programs; disposal of specific waste streams; and handling chemical spills. Hyperlinks throughout the text provide direct navigation to additional information as needed. This Guide does not address detailed procedures for managing radioactive or biological wastes. For more information, refer to the Radiation Safety Program or IU Biosafety Manual as appropriate.
Each IU campus has unique infrastructure that requires certain procedures remain campus-specific. Therefore, some protocols are provided in campus-specific sections of this document.
Key Terms and Definitions
Accumulation – Continuous addition of waste into container(s); also refers to the time-period over which waste is collected and stored (e.g. “accumulation start date” on a waste label).
Accumulation Container – A container used to collect waste in a satellite accumulation area.
Biohazard – Biological material that contains, or may contain pathogens that can cause disease in humans or animals, or that poses any other risk requiring inactivation or disinfection before final disposal.
Controlled Substance – A drug or chemical whose manufacture, possession or use is regulated by the United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).
Consolidate/Consolidation – Mixing similar wastes together, generally from smaller containers into larger accumulation containers.
Cylinder – A container used to store pressurized liquid or gas.
General Refuse – Items that can be discarded in campus trashcans, dumpsters or compactors because they do not pose hazards that require treatment, special handling or disposal.
Generator – A person or entity that creates hazardous waste.
Hazardous Waste – Materials defined as hazardous by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) due to hazards they pose to human health or the environment; includes listed and characteristic wastes (see Regulatory Overview).
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) – Garment or equipment that employees wear to protect themselves against chemical exposure hazards. Examples include safety glasses, gloves, and lab coats.
Satellite Accumulation Area (SAA) – Any area where hazardous waste is generated and stored until containers are full, up to 55 gallons total for all waste (See Regulatory Overview).
Universal Waste – Classification of hazardous waste managed under a special exemption to encourage recycling of certain materials. These wastes are still subject to certain regulatory requirements. Materials that can be managed as Universal Waste are:
- Fluorescent light bulbs/lamps
- Mercury containing devices
Unknowns – Unidentified chemical waste resulting from lack of proper identification or labeling.
Waste Chemical – Any expired, spent or unwanted chemical or chemical mixture, including hazardous and non-hazardous wastes.
Waste Stream – Generic term for either specific waste generated by a continuous process, or for wastes that are similar, but come from various campus generators. Examples include non-chlorinated solvents, HPLC waste, used oil, etc.
The Role of University Environmental Health and Safety (IUEHS)
The principal role of IUEHS is to serve as the primary University resource for all matters pertaining to occupational health, safety, and environmental management. IUEHS provides technical guidance, compliance assistance, quality assurance, remediation oversight, and training to the campus community.
For the purposes of waste management, the main role of IUEHS is to provide waste management services in conjunction with technical assistance, training, and support resources so that all IU employees are aware of their individual responsibilities in helping the University meet the following goals:
- Ensure all waste materials are managed in a way that protects the health and safety of faculty, staff, students and visitors to the University;
- Use the most responsible and environmentally sound management and disposal methods as are practical, and that prevent release into the environment;
- Reduce the quantity and/or toxicity of chemical waste generated by the University to the lowest level possible;
- Comply with all local, state and federal government regulations regarding waste management and disposal; and
- Make hazardous waste and other regulatory determinations for all waste.
IUEHS will update this Guide as necessary to reflect any applicable changes in procedure or regulation.
Contact IUEHS for your repective campus with questions or concerns.
The success of the Waste Management Program depends on the conscientious efforts of all IU employees. When waste materials are mismanaged, they have the potential to threaten human health and pollute the environment. To ensure safety and compliance with the law, the first responsibility of all employees is to follow the procedures in this Guide. Additional individual responsibilities are to:
- Understand the hazards of all chemicals in your work area. Read the Safety Data Sheets (SDS) for all chemicals that you work with directly.
- Identify and label all chemical containers accurately and promptly so that unidentified wastes (“unknowns”) are not generated.
- Label, store and package wastes according to the procedures in this Guide until IUEHS for your respective campus can take possession of them for subsequent storage and off-campus disposal.
- Contact IUEHS for your respective campus for assistance with questions on how to handle or dispose of a waste material.
- Include the waste minimization strategies outlined in the Waste Minimization section of this Guide in written procedures when possible, and make every effort to reduce the amount of waste you generate.