Pollution Prevention Guideline for Academic Laboratories - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Pollution Prevention Guideline for Academic Laboratories Prepared by: University of Rhode Island Kingston, Rhode Island Background Eliminate/minimize generation of unnecessary large quantities of biological/chemical waste on academic campuses

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Pollution Prevention Guideline for Academic Laboratories

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Pollution Prevention Guideline forAcademic Laboratories

Prepared by:

University of Rhode Island

Kingston, Rhode Island

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  • Eliminate/minimize generation of unnecessary large quantities of biological/chemical waste on academic campuses

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Example: University Pollution Prevention Guideline

  • Objective of the Guideline

    The purpose of this Laboratory Pollution Prevention Guideline is to present a methodology to evaluate alternatives to eliminate or reduce the generation of laboratory chemical/biological waste.

    The methodology focuses on teaching laboratories, but the methodology is also suitable for research and development laboratory settings.

The guideline is just that - a methodology. It is the responsibility of the committee to evaluate the relevant factors (safety practices, regulations, policies) and determine how these factors must be considered in evaluating the various alternatives.

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Pollution Prevention Hierarchy

  • The preferred approach is to eliminate or reduce the amount of waste generated

Source Elimination/Reduction

Substitution, microscale/scale down, alternative methods


Redistribution of unused raw materials, chemical recovery

  • The next option is to recycle, and/or recover the by-products for reuse

Treatment of By-Products

Neutralization, other methods

  • The third alternative is to treat the byproducts to make it less hazardous for disposal

Waste Disposal

Segregation, proper handling and disposal

  • The final option is to properly dispose the waste

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Six-Step Laboratory Pollution Prevention Methodology

  • Select team, define objectives and strategy

1. Planning and Organization

  • Determine criteria to evaluate alternatives

2. Develop Evaluation Criteria

  • List the possible pollution prevention alternatives

3. Develop List of Alternatives

4. Screen Alternatives

  • Select alternative(s)

  • If necessary, quantitative evaluation of alternatives

  • Pilot test

5. Detailed Evaluation of Alternatives

  • Implementation and optimization

6. Implementation

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Planning and Organization

  • Team selection

    • Knowledge of the experiment, regulatory requirements, availability of resources, cost, etc.

    • May consist of the Department Chair, Professors,Teaching Assistants, Laboratory Workers

  • Defining objectives

    • Selection of laboratory experiment

    • Ensure that the project team has been properly staffed

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Develop Evaluation Criteria

  • Determine the criteria used to assess the alternative(s)

  • Some criteria to be considered:

    • Teaching objectives

      • Does the alternative alter the experiment’s teaching objectives significantly?

    • Raw material needed

      • Quantity and characteristics of the raw materials

    • Waste generated

      • Physical state, quantity and characteristics of the wastes

    • Cost

      • Equipment, chemicals, waste disposal, etc.

    • Ease of implementation

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Develop List of Alternatives for Evaluation

  • Consider the applicability of the individual pollution prevention techniques following the USEPA hierarchy of preferred options

  • Develop alternatives using combinations of the viable techniques

  • The alternatives should include the current experiment or laboratory practice

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Screen Alternatives

  • Screen the alternatives to eliminate those that are not feasible for the University

  • Some preliminary information on each alternative will be needed

  • Screen using an evaluation matrix with the selected criteria

  • Select favorable alternatives

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Detailed Evaluation of Alternatives

  • Quantitative/Qualitative Detailed Evaluation

    • Not needed if only one alternative remains after the initial screening

    • Used as a fine tuning to determine which of the remaining alternatives might result in the most favorable for pollution prevention

  • Pilot Testing

    • Test alternative before its full implementation

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  • Monitor the implemented alternative to ensure everything is implemented as intended

    • Keep track of the amount of waste generated

    • Record the reduction in either or both the waste generated and savings in waste disposal

  • If possible, optimize the implemented alternative

    • Keep informed on new techniques for pollution prevention

    • Periodically, update/modify implemented alternative

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Illustrative Example

Pollution Prevention Guideline for Academic Laboratories

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Planning andOrganization

  • Determine objectives and strategy, e.g.:

  • Redesign experiments to me more “green”

  • Re-examine the laboratory experiments in a first-year course

  • Select experiments that either generate large amount of waste or use/generate hazardous substances

  • Select Team, e.g. :

  • Graduate Research Assistant

  • Chemistry Teaching Laboratory Manager

  • Suppport from: Department Chair, Dissertation Advisor

  • Selection examples: Two laboratory experiments were selected

    • Experiment A generated a large amount of chemical waste

    • Experiment B used and generated waste containing heavy metals and high volume of corrosive chemicals

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Develop Evaluation Criteria and List of Alternatives

Evaluation Criteria

Educational valueSafety risks

Input materialsWaste materials


Ease of implementationOthers


For Experiment A

1. Chemical substitution

2. Microscale

3. Scale down

4. Alternatives 1 and 3

For Experiment B

1. Ag identification and recovery using ascorbic acid

2. Alternative method for Ag identification using KI

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Screen Alternatives

Selected alternatives for A:

(i) Microscale experiment

(ii) Scale down and chemical substitution

Both are examples of Source Elimination/Reduction alternatives

Selected alternative for B:

(i) Ag identification and recovery using ascorbic acid

Example of a combination of Source Elimination/Reduction and Recycling/Reuse alternatives

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Conduct Detailed Evaluation

  • Perform a detailed/quantitative evaluation was performed with the selected alternatives for Experiment A

    • For each alternative, each criterion was ranked from -2 (less favorable) to +2 (more favorable)

  • Results: Alternative for A: Chemical substitution and scale down

    • Benefits: Reduction in input materials, waste generation, and cost

  • Results: Alternative for B: Ag identification and recovery using ascorbic acid

    • Benefits: Use of a less toxic chemical for Ag identificationRecovery of Ag

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Pilot Testing and Implementation

  • Test each alternative (for A and B): Graduate Research Assistant, then one class section

  • Revise as needed, roll-out to full course

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In Summary . . .

  • Pollution Prevention

    • Source Elimination/Reduction, Recycling/Reuse, Treatment, and Disposal

  • Laboratory Pollution Prevention Methodology

    • Planning and Organization, Evaluation Criteria, List of Alternatives, Screening of Alternatives, Detailed Evaluation of Alternatives, and Implementation

  • Successful implementation of the Guideline

    • Implementation of the new alternatives for pollution prevention

For more information: Rhode Island Center for Pollution Prevention

University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI 02881

(401) 874-2323 (voice) or (401) 874 - 4689 (fax)

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