Spring Chemical Cleanout
March 6, 2023

There are many dangerous chemicals in a school, college, or university and many are not obvious. If your facility uses, purchases, stores, or disposes of hazardous materials, you will want to learn how and when to perform a spring chemical cleanout. The first step is to understand which materials are considered hazardous.

Many of the common, yet hazardous chemical products found in teaching institutions include:
– Chemicals found and stored in your science laboratories and preparation areas, such as solvents, bases, metals, salts, and acids
– Materials used in ‘shop’ or industrial classes such as degreasers and inks
– Supplies in the art rooms such as paints, photographic chemicals, glazes, and ink
– De-icers and salt used in grounds maintenance, fertilizers, and pesticides used for building maintenance
– Materials in your maintenance department include floor stripping materials, drain cleaners, boiler cleaners, mercury switches, gauges, fuels and oils, antifreeze, or other chemicals used to repair and maintain equipment used in transportation or grounds upkeep. There are also chemicals used to treat drinking water and swimming pools
Items located in the health office, such as mercury thermometers
– Supplies used in the office, such as adhesives used for printing, inks, and solvents

If you are unsure whether or not materials are considered hazardous under EPA guidelines, you can talk to the experts at Environmental Marketing Services for guidance on how to handle disposals or storage.

From an elementary school’s maintenance area to a university laboratory, these institutions house a variety of hazardous chemicals. Understanding the importance of a spring chemical cleanout will enable your facility to be responsible with your chemical management. This information will help your facility reduce dangerous chemical use, implement responsible management, and minimize incidents of chemical spills, exposure, and emergency occurrences in your school.

Responsible Chemical Management Includes Spring Cleanout

As the end of the 2023 school year draws closer, your facility should begin planning a spring chemical cleanout of your hazardous materials. Disposal services, such as Environmental Marketing Services, find some of the busiest times are at the end of semesters. If your facility has a strict deadline for disposal services, it is time to start planning the cleanout. Before your facility closes for the summer, you want to ensure a proper cleanout has been performed.

Responsible chemical management in your facility is critical for controlling a variety of safety, health, and environmental issues. It is important you know which materials are present, how they are used, stored, and most importantly how they are disposed of. Understanding, recognizing, and controlling your hazardous materials enhances your ability to create a safe school and experience minimal or no environmental liabilities or lawsuits.

Plan your spring cleanout now to avoid delays in scheduling your disposal times and ensure service is available to meet your deadline.

Why There is a Need For Concern With Chemical Management

School administrators need to be concerned with their facility’s chemical management. These are the top five reasons:
1. Improper chemical management in your facility puts you at risk for safety and health issues with your employees and students. Behavior, learning, and health risks are especially a concern for the children attending your school as they are more vulnerable to chemical exposure than adults. Younger children especially are still growing and their body’s systems are still developing as they drink more, eat more, and breathe more. The behavior of children can expose them to more chemicals than adults.
2. Expenses your facility could face from improper disposal, spills or other incidents can become substantial. When an agency or service has to respond to a chemical incident, it can reach thousands of dollars in fines and penalties or more for just one facility. These events could also lead to fines and increased insurance premiums. As part of your chemical management, it is important for your facility’s safety to determine which unused, and expired chemicals need disposal and schedule your disposal service time soon before the summer break.
3. An improper chemical management program in your facility puts you at risk of losing your good reputation with the community. One chemical accident, spill, or explosion will break the trust those around you have regarding your safety and security. This mismanagement can lead to increased community and parental concern, an embarrassment to your facility, and negative publicity. When you perform a proper spring clean out, it will reduce or eliminate unused or expired chemicals, thus decreasing the risk of an accident.
4. If an accident involving hazardous chemicals occurs in your facility, it can result in the school having to close. This closure will be a loss of valuable education time for the students.
5. Without a proper chemical management program in your facility, there can be unintended chemical spills or discharges that will impact the environment where your parents, teachers, students, and staff live and work. These dangerous discharges can compromise sewer lines or on-site waste treatment systems. These hazardous discharges can also impact nearby streams, rivers, and the groundwater in your community.
When you implement proper chemical management in your facility, it can lead to improved learning for your students and improved health for your environment and the entire community.

Spring Chemical Cleanout Includes a Chemical Inventory

When performing your spring chemical cleanout, it should include a full inventory of the chemicals in your facility. This inventory should include all existing chemicals whether being used, outdated, or unknown. This inventory will alert your chemical management team if there are any improperly stored, poorly labeled, excessive in quantity, and most importantly which are considered hazardous.

Proper identification and removal of unused, expired, or not needed chemicals is the key for your facility to prevent accidents. The inventory should identify the quantities of each chemical, its physical location, and any potential hazards associated with it. This inventory will also serve as a reference should any emergency occur with the chemicals in your facility. Another use for your inventory list will serve as a guide when making purchases to reduce the cost of buying excess materials.

Create a policy for a chemical inventory to be performed and updated annually, unless your state or local regulations require them more frequently. Contact Environmental Marketing Services, or identify a responsible member of your staff who has been trained in hazardous chemical management to help with or perform this inventory.

For the safety of your staff and students, your facility should conduct periodic cleanouts to identify and remove unnecessary hazardous materials. These unnecessary and expired chemicals should be properly recycled or disposed of. Inventories will assist you in determining which of your chemicals are ready for proper disposal. Talk to the experts at Environmental Marketing Services to assist in this identification and disposal methods.

Your educational institute, research facility, government agency, or any other facility using hazardous chemicals, can create a safer environment by implementing measures to reduce the amount of hazardous chemicals purchased. When you perform smaller-scale or microscale experiments or look for environmentally preferred products, you will reduce your need for hazardous materials. There are products on the market that have a lesser or reduced effect on the environment and human health when compared to competing products.

Where to Learn More About Performing a Spring Chemical Cleanout

The professionals at Environmental Marketing Services welcome the chance to help your educational, or any other facility, with your hazardous waste disposal. We have more than ninety years of combined experience in the industry and are here to help you develop innovatively, and cost-effective methods to handle all your hazardous waste.

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