How to handle laboratory waste
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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 l.jpg

How to handle laboratory waste?

Department Botany & Zoology,USF Gordon

Introduction l.jpg

  • 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 l.jpg
Waste Removal

  • Cost enormous

  • Contractor - Millenium Waste

    ( Enviroserv and Sanumed)

  • Waste removal is arrange via USRPS/USBD

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Waste management

Manage waste responsible:

  • Classification/ Characterizing hazardous waste

  • Proper packaging

  • Proper storage of waste

  • Effective labeling

  • Waste collection protocol in place

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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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.

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  • 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

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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

Storage l.jpg

  • 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

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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 [email protected])

  • USBD will arrange for contractors (Enviroserv) to pick up the drums at your department

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Dept Botany and Zoology

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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”

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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?

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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 l.jpg

  • 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

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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 ([email protected])

    • Department took the carcasses themselves to the Western Province Veterinary lab , Stb for incineration

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Ways to minimize waste

  • Good housekeeping

  • Document Procedures

  • Maintain Chemical inventory

  • Centralize purchasing

  • Spill Preparedness

  • Neutralize corrosives

  • Minimize use of solvents

  • Use alternative products

Information l.jpg





  • 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