Fall Chemical Cleanout- Why Now is the Best Time to Plan Your Service
September 6, 2022
Chemical Waste Disposal

A lab cleanout is the removal of any excess, unwanted, abandoned, unused, or expired chemicals left in your school, college, or any other laboratory from last year, or summer programs. This cleanout can involve bio-hazardous or radioactive wastes and any other form of hazardous chemical waste. Specifying and scheduling a fall chemical cleanout is important, and required by law. If your facility wants this service done before the year-end, now is the time to contact Environmental Marketing Services.

A fall chemical cleanout is different from your routine hazardous waste pickup and should be done to clean up any chemicals that have gathered throughout the year that are no longer needed or necessary.

Circumstances That Could Require a Chemical Cleanout

Different situations can occur within your facility that will require you to schedule a cleanout of hazardous chemicals. Some of those circumstances can include:
– Your facility has to move a lab from one physical location to another either permanently or temporarily
– Your facility is discontinuing the use of the laboratory. This situation could result from a faculty member retiring, the termination of a faculty member, the transfer of a faculty member within the university or school
– Your laboratory has accumulated an excess of hazardous chemicals that will no longer be used

Chemical wastes are required by federal law to be disposed of properly. Depending on the size of your facility, you could have hundreds or thousands of chemicals being used in your labs and within other areas of your school. These chemicals can include degreasing tools, pest control chemicals, laboratory experimental chemicals, or disinfecting chemicals. Not only is it required by law to dispose of these materials properly, but now is the time to schedule the disposal before skilled professionals trained to handle this waste become booked.

Why Schedule Fall Chemical Cleanout Now

Scheduling your fall chemical cleanout now could be in your facility’s best interest. This early scheduling will reduce your risk of having to wait for crews to be available to handle the waste disposal from your facility. If your waste includes those that require incineration, this process is being delayed across the country due to a backlog of hazardous waste waiting to be properly handled.

While the EPA has acknowledged the difficulties being faced regarding these wastes, it still reminds everyone in the community there are existing regulatory extension processes that must be followed. Your facility will want to schedule your chemical cleanout as soon as possible so you do not run into any delays regarding the pickup and disposal of your materials.

How Your Facility Should Plan For a Fall Hazardous Chemical Disposal

Chemical cleanouts can place added stress on your faculty’s resources and time. Due to this factor, your lab cleanouts should be planned in advance. Begin to plan your cleanout by preparing a chemical inventory list so you are able to organize all chemicals needing disposal. If your lab has more than 30 containers needing disposal, this number will warrant a lab cleanout. If you have chemicals you are not sure how to dispose of, contact Environmental Marketing Services for answers.

The Proper Handling of Chemical Waste

Even the most experienced and trained personnel can make mistakes when it comes to handling hazardous chemical waste. Exposure to these dangerous materials can still happen even with the best precautions taken. Exposure to some of these hazardous materials can result in illness or in some cases death. When exposure happens, it leaves your facility vulnerable to fines and lawsuits.

Anyone involved in handling the chemical waste at your facility is required to be trained in hazardous waste management. The fall chemical cleanout cannot be performed by just any student, faculty, or other staff members. Academic requirements to become a hazardous waste manager are different with varying employers.

In almost every case, the minimum educational prerequisite is to have an undergraduate degree. This degree is typically in biochemistry or chemistry, toxicology, waste management, or environmental science. With the high financial, legal, and ethical stakes involved with the handling of hazardous chemicals, you should talk to the experts at Environmental Marketing Services to ensure your chemical waste disposal project is done properly.

Preparing for Your Fall Chemical Cleanout

Before disposal services become backlogged, you should plan for your fall hazardous waste disposal. This preparation begins with a chemical inventory list so you can organize chemicals that will require disposal. If there are any materials you are unsure about, contact Environmental Marketing Services to learn how they should be handled.

1. Check Containers
All chemical containers should be checked to ensure they are properly labeled. Labels have to include the complete name of the substance, all hazard information, and the levels of concentration. If you have any questions regarding the labeling of hazardous materials, contact the specialists at Environmental Marketing Services.

2. Check CDC Guidelines for Storage Procedures of Hazardous Materials
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has guidelines your facility should be following to ensure you are following the laws regarding storage considerations of hazardous materials. These guidelines are in place to reduce the risk involved with handling these dangerous materials.

Storage considerations include ventilation, temperature, segregation, and ignition control. When going through your stored chemicals a good rule of thumb to follow is to not keep more than a three-year supply of any chemicals.

3. Record the Containers in Your Storage Area
– All the containers you have stored need to be recorded with the following information:
– What chemical is in each container
– What is the size of the container holding the chemical
– What material was used to make the container
– How much of the chemical is remaining in each container
– Which state the chemical is, such as gas, liquid, or solid
– State the location of each chemical, such as which rack it sits on or the room number where it is stored

Other Steps to Complete With Fall Chemical Cleanout

To make sure your preparations for cleaning out your chemicals this fall are complete, you should include these steps:
1. Check the Condition of All Containers
Closely check all chemical containers and make sure they are not failing. If a container has become compromised, you need to transfer the material into a new container.
2. Identify All Chemicals
A fall chemical cleanout includes identifying all chemicals you will be disposing of. To decide which materials you should dispose of, you can follow the rule that if there is no need for them, get rid of them. Use this rule even if the chemical has a remaining shelf life.
3. Check That Safety Data Sheets (SDS) are Current
SDSs have to be readily available at all times. The SDSs can be either in electronic form or as a hard copy as long as you have easy access to them at all times for employees and emergency responders. All officials in your facility should also know where this information can be found as well as everyone connected with the science department and other members of your staff.
4. Check Status of Spill Kits
Before the end of the year, or right away this fall, check that your chemical spill kits are completely equipped.
5. Ensure Chemical Storage Area is Secure
The chemical storage area in your facility should be secured. Anyone who enters this area should be documented. Create a list of everyone who has access to this area should be made, and a copy of the list should be given to your facility’s administration.

Wrapping Up Your Fall Chemical Cleanout

Your fall chemical cleanout will wrap up with a schedule for the disposal of the materials. The materials you should place extra care on are those that are in compromised containers, those without lids, and any containers that do not have a label.

It is illegal to pour any of your hazardous waste materials down the drain and you cannot put them in with your regular garbage. All hazardous chemical waste needs to be handled by a proper chemical waste disposal service, such as Environmental Marketing Services.

You are now ready to complete the lab packing of your chemical waste.

All chemicals from your lab that are being disposed of should be placed into a single lab pack, but do not take them from their storage area. Environmental Marketing Services will contact you regarding the pickup location for your facility.

– Check again that all containers have labels
– If you are unsure about any packing or labeling procedures, contact the Environmental Marketing Services

Fall Chemical Cleanout Days

Scheduling for the cleanout of chemicals in your facility will encourage labs to reduce their expired and unwanted materials and promote safer lab environments. The cleanout also encourages a review of chemical inventories and promotes less wasteful purchases in the future. Schedule your cleanout of chemicals now and ensure your disposal service is available and your staff becomes more knowledgeable about chemical purchasing and usage.

Environmental Marketing Services is available with a trained and highly qualified staff who will be more than happy to answer any of your questions regarding the cleanout of your lab.

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