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Hazardous Waste Management
The use of some hazardous materials is unavoidable on college campuses. Batteries, fluorescent lights, plastics, paints, and many other substances use toxic chemicals that can cause serious harm if they are allowed to contaminate the ecosystem. Colleges and universities are more than merely educational communities; these institutions should also set an example of social and environmental responsibility by properly disposing of toxic waste.
Organizational Assistance  Best Practices

Old paint can be mixed together to make different colors, and redistributed to classrooms that use it.
  • Switch to Non-Toxics
    Almost every department at a University can contribute to the toxic chemical use of an institution. Cleansers, solvents, pesticides, paints, inks, and other commonly used chemicals can all have toxic components. Sometimes non-toxic substitutes may be available for these commonly used products. The use of these products can further reduce the toxic waste stream. Soy based ink is an example that is now readily available.
  • Exceed Hazmat Requirements
    The EPA and OSHA have very detailed requirements for dealing with hazardous materials. However, these requirements are minimums, and to act as a leader in sustainable practices, a university should exceed minimum standards whenever and wherever possible. When a campus publicly demonstrates that they exceed these minimum requirements, it greatly improves that campus’s green image.
  • Educate Generators
    Ensure that the university community is well aware of any potential hazards posed by materials used on campus. Educate all employees who may need to handle toxic chemicals. Taking steps to ensure that the campus understands and can demonstrate how to properly dispose of these materials may prevent unnecessary and costly retroactive measures to correct mistakes.
  • Develop Tracking
    Hazardous materials on campus should be thoroughly accounted and cataloged. Track the location of hazardous materials on campus, as well as which employees have access to them, what they are used for, and how they should be properly disposed. Exercising caution is important for protecting faculty, students, and the surrounding population from exposure. In the event of contamination into an environmental medium, having the ability to track hazardous waste streams can reduce a campus's liability. If an institution comes under suspicion of causing a nearby toxic spill, meticulous records can clear the university as a culprit.
  • Implement Swapping
    One way to help reduce the amount of toxic waste is to use a chemical swapping program. This can be effectively orchestrated as an on-line program where different departments and faculty can post spare quantities of chemicals. For example a biology or chemistry department can exchange needed chemicals for excess substances in their inventory. These measures cut down on chemical waste.
  • Recycle and Recover CFCs
    Chlorofluorocarbons or CFCs are extremely dangerous chemicals which destroy ozone. CFCs are used as refrigerants, solvents, and propellants. If your campus utilizes CFCs, properly dispose of them and find a replacement.
  • Ensure Proper Disposal
    All hazardous materials that are used commercially can be disposed of in a way that negates or minimizes their environmental impact. Ensure that personnel follow these procedures in order to minimize campus environmental impact.
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