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Lab-pack Management: Removal of Waste in Schools, Laboratories, and Government Agencies
May 8, 2023

Government agencies and educational institutes with laboratories create hazardous waste materials that are required by law to be disposed of properly. The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has guidelines these facilities are required to follow to reduce and eliminate risks to human health and the environment. Lab-pack management is a method for disposing of these materials. This method is a cost-effective dismantling process for your hazardous lab waste, so it can be disposed of under EPA regulations.

Lab packs are an excellent choice for disposing of hazardous wastes in USDA labs, educational institutes, county/city wastewater treatment plants, and other government agencies such as police departments.

What is Lab-Pack Management?

A lab pack is a term used to describe a container, which is typically a fifty-five-gallon drum. The drum is constructed from fiber or steel and contains smaller containers holding hazardous waste. The smaller containers inside the drum are typically packed in a material that is chemically inactive, such as vermiculite, that allows for the safe transport of these hazardous chemicals.

Lab packs are an accumulation of obsolete or unwanted chemicals. These chemicals are placed into approved containers by the DOT (Department of Transportation) and hold anywhere from less than 2 ml up to 5 gallons. Two primary federal agencies oversee the transportation, shipping, and disposal of these obsolete chemicals, the EPA and the DOT. The chemicals in lab-packs are typically hazardous, however, some do contain non-hazardous materials.

With lab-pack management, once the pack reaches its destination at the waste disposal facility, such as Environmental Marketing Services, the materials will be consolidated further. The chemicals and substances inside the lab pack will be prepared for disposal, and your facility will have peace of mind knowing that expired hazardous materials were taken care of according to the law.

Why Use Lab-Packs?

A lab pack’s main purpose is to keep people and the environment protected from hazardous materials. If hazardous chemicals are dumped down a drain, or thrown in with regular garbage, they become risks to human health and can damage the environment. These materials create serious health risks when improperly disposed of.

When hazardous chemicals are disposed of improperly into landfills, they contaminate the surface waters and surrounding ground. Numerous health risks surround the mishandling of hazardous chemicals, which is why organizations and companies are required by law to make it a priority to dispose of their hazardous waste materials properly.

Lab-pack management organizes unwanted and unused chemicals that you are not allowed to throw in with your regular garbage. Federal standards for lab packs ensure these hazardous chemicals are properly moved, treated, and disposed of. Federal guidelines must be followed by your facility to ensure the protection of employees, the community, and the environment. Not following these federal guidelines opens your facility to possible punitive measures and fines.

Educational institutes such as community college labs, high school chemistry labs, and labs found in universities use reactive, toxic, corrosive, flammable, and poisonous chemicals. These chemicals are used for demonstrations and classroom training during academic terms. It is the responsibility of the facility to dispose of these dangerous lab wastes at the end of each school year or term.

USDA labs, police departments, and county/city wastewater treatment plants also use hazardous chemicals in their testing procedures. These facilities are also regulated by federal guidelines and are responsible for the proper disposal of hazardous waste materials. If you are unsure of how to handle the disposal process or have questions about lab-pack management, contact Environmental Marketing Services.

Regulations for Lab-Pack Management

The EPA has created guidelines and there are also federal laws concerning the disposal methods allowed for hazardous chemical wastes. These are two of the EPA regulatory acts required by law that generators of hazardous chemical waste must follow in their disposal methods:

Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)
– The RCRA grants the EPA full authority over controlling hazardous waste from the time a generator creates it, and through to how it is disposed of. The EPA monitors facilities to make sure they are complying with the guidelines and laws that govern hazardous chemical waste disposal.
– There have been amendments to the RCRA to increase the EPA’s ability to enforce its authority. One of the most prominent mandates is the Land Disposal Restrictions Program (LDR.) The LDR places protective measures on hazardous wastes that are disposed of on land. The program was created to eliminate any possibility that hazardous contaminants are allowed to enter water supplies or pollute groundwater.

Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability (CERCLA)
– The CERCLA is also referred to as the ‘superfund’ which regulates chemical waste disposal. CERCLA designated a federal ‘superfund’ that is to be used for cleaning up uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous wastes. This ‘superfund’ covers accidents, spills and emergency release of contaminants, and pollutants into the environment.
– Through this act, the EPA is allowed to find any facility responsible for releasing hazardous materials improperly. If determined your facility did not follow proper guidelines on disposal, the EPA can then make sure you cooperate in the cleanup process.

Lab-Pack Management Regulations

Through the RCRA, and LDR, the EPA has established strict guidelines your facility is required to follow for lab-pack management and disposal. There are also local and state guidelines that are applied to lab-packs. If you are not clear on these restrictions, talk to the experts at Environmental Marketing Services. We assist educational facilities with labs, county/city wastewater plants, USDA labs, and any other state or federal agency with labs generating hazardous waste learn how to follow these strict guidelines.
There are other strict government laws regarding lab packs. One of these laws pertains to who is allowed to combine the chemicals in these packs. The law requires a licensed chemist to oversee the process with proper monitoring to avoid violent eruptions.

State organizations and the EPA also enforce strict rules regarding how a facility decommissions these dangerous chemicals. Other agencies involved in the management of lab packs include the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Department of Transportation (DOT.) The guidelines to follow through OSHA and the DOT are different from those set forth by the EPA. Talk to Environmental Marketing Services to make sure your facility is following all agency’s regulations.
It could save your facility money and time to ensure you are following the stringent regulations placed on lab-pack management. Environmental Marketing Services is a federally licensed hazardous waste disposal service and can advise and assist with your disposal process.

Both federal and state agencies are allowed to conduct surprise inspections on generators of hazardous waste materials to ensure they are following guidelines and laws. These surprise inspections have found facilities to be in violation of disposal, labeling, and storing of chemical materials. Other violations discovered through inspections include improper training for those handling materials, improper dumping of mercury, or improper storage of hazardous chemicals.

Lab-Pack Management Disposal

When you are looking at disposal methods for your lab packs, you must use a service that is EPA-compliant, certified, and up-to-date on all regulatory requirements. Environmental Marketing Services is your solution as we provide cost-effective and innovative methods for all your disposal and recycling needs. Talk to our experts today and have peace of mind that your facility is compliant with all state and federal regulations for lab-pack management disposal.

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