As required by the EPA, IU has established procedures to minimize the volume and/or toxicity of hazardous waste produced at the University, and to manage any waste that must be produced in the most responsible way possible. Waste minimization at IU can be accomplished through the following methods:
Often a non-hazardous or less toxic chemical can be used in place of a more hazardous chemical in a given process. Some specific examples can include:
- Citrus-based solvents instead of chlorinated solvents,
- Low VOC latex and water based paint instead of oil based paint,
- Eco-friendly alternatives for stripping instead of methylene chloride based strippers,
- Detergent or surfactant based cleaners instead of corrosive cleaners,
- Pump sprays instead of aerosol cans,
- Low-mercury “green” fluorescent bulbs or LED bulbs instead of high mercury fluorescent bulbs, and
- Baits, diatomaceous earth, borates or botanicals (like Pyrethins) instead of chlorinated pesticides or carbamates.
Whenever possible, do not mix hazardous chemical waste destined for IUEHS disposal with wastes that can be disposed through recycling, sewer or trash disposal. This increases the volume of regulated waste for off-site disposal. Another option is using micro-scale chemistry, which greatly reduces the volume of waste produced.
Carefully maintain an inventory and ordering system that reduces unnecessary or surplus containers. Check your current stock before ordering new chemicals. It may also be possible to borrow chemicals from other departments, which can reduce costs.
Also consider that many chemicals have a limited shelf life. Please check inventory before ordering large quantities of stock chemicals, and do not buy materials in bulk unless there is a true need for large volumes of a reagent. The amount saved by purchasing bulk quantities may be offset by excess, unneeded material that often ends up as waste.
Many types of waste can be recovered for recycling. This includes things like mercury, glycols, batteries, and oil. The specific materials that can be handled for recycling by IUEHS are different for each campus. Other departments collect general recycling and surplus property. Arrangements may also be made with an approved vendor for recycling materials such as scrap metal and fluorescent lamps. General recycling and surplus property are managed by Facilities Services/Physical Plant. Keep in mind, empty chemical containers cannot be recycled.