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How to handle laboratory waste? Department Botany & Zoology, US F Gordon Introduction Safe, healthy & productive workplace environment Responsible and effectively handling o hazardous waste Good lab etiquette

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how to handle laboratory waste

How to handle laboratory waste?

Department Botany & Zoology,USF Gordon

  • Safe, healthy & productive workplace environment
  • Responsible and effectively handling o hazardous waste
  • Good lab etiquette
  • Municipal and government laws exist to regulate and control hazardous waste disposal
waste removal
Waste Removal
  • Cost enormous
  • Contractor - Millenium Waste

( Enviroserv and Sanumed)

  • Waste removal is arrange via USRPS/USBD
waste management
Waste management

Manage waste responsible:

  • Classification/ Characterizing hazardous waste
  • Proper packaging
  • Proper storage of waste
  • Effective labeling
  • Waste collection protocol in place
types of waste
Types of waste
  • Normal Municipal waste (general)
  • Recyclable waste
  • Broken Glass
  • Biological / Medical waste
  • Chemical waste
  • Sharps, Broken Glass
  • Radioactive material waste
  • Electronic and computer waste
hazardous waste
Hazardous Waste
  • Any waste that directly or indirectly represents a threat to human health or to the environment by introducing one or more of the following risks:
    • Explosion or fire
    • Infections, pathogens, parasites or their vectors
    • Chemical instability, reactions or corrosion
    • Acute or chronic toxicity
    • Cancer, mutations or birth defects
    • Toxicity or damage to the ecosystems or natural resources
    • Accumulation in the biological food chain, persistence in the environment or multiple effects
sabs code 0028 id classification dangerous goods and substances
SABS Code 0028ID & classification dangerous goods and substances
  • Class 1 Explosives
  • Class 2 Gases
  • Class 3 Flammable liquids
  • Class 4 Flammable solids
  • Class 5 Oxidizing substances and organic peroxides
  • Class 6 Toxic and infectious substances
  • Class 7 Radioactive Substances
  • Class 8 Corrosives
  • Class 9 Other miscellaneous substances
segregate chemical waste
Segregate chemical waste
  • Proper segregation =good chemical hygiene + safe workplace environment
  • Only put compatible chemicals in a container
  • Also do not store the following near each other
    • Acids and bases
    • Organics and acids
    • Powdered or reactive metals and combustible materials
    • Cyanide, sulfide or arsenic compounds and acids
    • Mercury or silver and ammonium containing compounds
  • Do not mix solids and liquids
  • Halogenated with non-halogenated chemicals
chemical waste compatibility 1
Chemical Waste Compatibility (1)
  • Incompatible chemical waste not be mixed or store together
  • If it must be store in same area – separated secondary containment
  • Container must be compatible with the waste:
    • Mineral acids - plastic
    • Bases -Plastic
    • Oxidizers - Glass
    • Organics (incl Acetic acid) - Glass
chemical waste compatibility 2
Chemical Waste Compatibility (2)

Take special care

  • Nitric acid:

Reacts with organics-heat & gas

Be sure container is rinse thoroughly

  • Perchloric acid, Organic Peroxides:

Highly reactive with organics and organic material (wood). May react with metals

  • Hydrofluoric acid:

Dissolves glass containers

packaging of chemical waste 1
Packaging of chemical waste (1)
  • Place hazardous waste in sealable containers
  • Enviroserv supply different plastic and metal containers
  • Sized from 25L to 200L, plastic or metal.
  • Containers must be kept closed.
  • Do not leave a hazardous waste container with a funnel in it.
  • Glass bottles with waste must be packed with vermiculite into bigger containers.
packaging of chemical waste 2
Packaging of chemical waste (2)
  • The container should not react with the waste being stored (e.g. NO hydrofluoric acid in glass)
  • Similar wastes may be mixed if they are compatible
  • Wastes from incompatible hazard classes should not be mixed (e.g. organic solvents with oxiders)
  • Be aware that certain metals also cause disposal problems when mixed with flammable liquid or other organic liquids.
  • Must be labeled as HAZARDOUS WASTE
  • Should be accurate, legible and fully explained
  • Contain name of the department, lab group name, contact person details, content and concentration, hazard class, date
  • Use Enviroserv /Sanumed self adhesive labels or your own.
  • Waste vs. used
  • No old labels
waste classification by enviroserv
Waste classification by Enviroserv

Specific codes for different departments (BOTZOO)

Code Type Disposal Method

  • 3A Flammables ABW
  • 3B Toxic compounds E
  • 3C Polyethelene Glycols TA
  • 3D Contaminated Broken Glass TC
  • 3E Contaminated tips, tubes TC
  • 3F Mineral acids ITP with Lime
  • 3G Concentrated organic acids TWC
  • Select the correct container (glass / polyethylene) for storage
  • Use original containers if possible
  • Use appropriate sized container
  • Do not make containers too heavy to lift by the contractors
  • Containers must be tightly sealed and not leak
  • Containers correctly labeled
  • Container compatible with chemical being stored -separate containers for each type of waste
  • Do not store longer than 90 days
collection procedures
Collection Procedures
  • Pack all waste in drums provided by contractors
  • Ensure glass bottles are prevented from breaking by adding vermiculite
  • All drums must be properly classified and labelled as HAZARDOUS WASTE
  • When drums are full, fill in a pick-up form and forward to USBD (Piet van Deventer, email
  • USBD will arrange for contractors (Enviroserv) to pick up the drums at your department


Dept Botany and Zoology

special waste 1
Special waste (1)
  • Ethidium Bromide
    • Electrophoresis gels < 0.1% - trash
    • Electrophoresis gels >0.1% - biohazard box
    • EtBr solution- charcoal filtration
  • Mercury
    • Spilled-pooled droplets, gloves & paper-puncture resistant container –label “mercury spill debris”
special waste 2
Special waste (2)
  • Silica gel
    • Not grossly contaminated – normal lab trash
    • Heavy contaminated- disposed as hazardous waste
  • Batteries
    • Classified as universal waste rather than hazardous waste
    • Contain mercury, cadmium, lead, silver, lead-acid
    • Alkaline (no Hg) - not to be put in the normal trash.
    • South Africa Recycle program?
unidentified chemical waste
Unidentified Chemical waste
  • Should be considered unknown hazardous waste.
  • Unknown waste cannot be legally transported or disposed.
  • To dispose them safely and properly it need to be characterised by Enviroserv which is a costly affair.
  • Find out as much as possible about how the waste was generated.
  • Please DO NOT

Pour unknown chemicals down the drain

Mix unknown chemicals with any other chemicals

Bring unknown chemicals to a regular waste pick up

Abandon unknown chemicals in the work area.

biological waste
  • Definition: Waste generated from biologically-cultured stocks and plates, molecular material, blood, animal and plant tissues etc.
  • All sharps e.g. glass implements, needles, syringes, blades, glass Pasteur pipettes
  • Separate biological waste from chemical hazardous waste
  • Treat to eliminate biohazard by sterilization or incineration
  • Label correct, use biohazard tape
biological waste cont
Biological waste cont.
  • Animal Bedding waste
    • Bagged – not be mixed with other waste
    • Labelled as animal bedding waste
    • Are to be autoclaved before being placed in medical waste boxes – disposed in the medical waste stream
  • Animal carcasses
    • Are kept frozen
    • Get an order number from Elmarie King –USBD (
    • Department took the carcasses themselves to the Western Province Veterinary lab , Stb for incineration
containers 1 biological
Containers (1) –Biological
  • Biohazard/medical waste boxes
    • Disposal of non-sharp bio hazardous waste
    • Cardboard box lined with a red 45 micron plastic bag
    • Two sizes 50 and 142 litre-max 15kg
    • Seal bag with cable tie, seal box with biohaz .tape
    • Sanumed destruct it by high temp. incineration
containers 2 biological
Containers (2) –Biological
  • Biohazard Sharp containers
    • Disposal sharp bio-hazardous waste
    • 100% puncture proof
    • Available in 4, 7.6, 10, 15 and 25 l
    • Destruction by high temp
containers 3 biological
Containers (3) –Biological
  • Specimen bins
    • For safe human and animal tissue disposal.
    • Ideal for wet waste
    • Available in 2.5, 5 and 10 l bin
    • Destruction by high temp
points to remember
Points to remember
  • No bio-hazardous waste shall be stored for longer than 24 hours without being decontaminated
  • Decontaminated bio-hazardous waste stored up to 30 days
  • No storage public areas
  • Store under refrigeration if necessary to prevent odors
  • Sharps containers treated as regular bio-hazardous waste
bio hazardous waste pick up procedures
Bio-hazardous waste Pick-up Procedures
  • Seal red bags when ¾ full with cable ties provided by contractor
  • Seal Biohazard/Medical waste boxes with biohazard tape
  • Complete chemical/biological waste pick-up request form
  • Forward electronically to USBD
  • USBD will arrange for contractor (Sanumed) to pick up waste and replace containers as needed
ways to minimize waste
Ways to minimize waste
  • Good housekeeping
  • Document Procedures
  • Maintain Chemical inventory
  • Centralize purchasing
  • Spill Preparedness
  • Neutralize corrosives
  • Minimize use of solvents
  • Use alternative products
  • Minimum requirements for the handling, classification and disposal of hazardous waste. Department of Water Affairs and Forestry, RSA, 2nd edition 1998
  • CRC Handbook of Laboratory Safety 5th Edition-Keith Furr
  • Laboratory Safety: Practice and Principles-Flemming Diane