Summer Break Projects in Your Facility
April 8, 2021

It is that time of year when you have to start thinking about closing down the science lab in school for the summer. Whether you are a private, public, university, or undergrad facility, as the year winds down, so does the budget that you will need a portion of to facilitate the clean-out of the lab pack from your laboratories.

In past years, state government agencies were able to assign granted funds for schools to eliminate the school’s hazardous waste and lab pack. Since then the national and state’s economy have changed, and schools are now burdened with the budgeting of their own lab pack disposals. Now is the time to begin planning how you will handle your hazardous waste issues.

Responsibility of School Lab Pack and Other Hazardous Waste at Year-End

Educational facilities store various hazardous wastes which are required to be disposed of and managed properly. Your facility most likely uses a lab pack to store an accumulation of small amounts of various hazardous chemicals that were not used throughout the year or were left over from different classes. For safety and compliance regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA,) you will need to have hazardous waste management programs in place to remove and dispose of the lab packs and any other hazardous waste materials.

The programs for proper handling include having a clear understanding of hazardous waste regulations by all those involved in your disposal and storage procedures. With the end of the year closing in, does your facility have a plan to properly handle these materials if the teachers have left the building? Will the cleanout of your lab pack be done before those trained in the handling of hazardous materials leave for the break? Will your facility need a training program for the janitorial team responsible for summer break clean-outs?

The Basics for Handling Your Lab Pack and Other Hazardous Materials

Schools are considered generators of hazardous waste and are held responsible for these materials from the beginning of generation to final destruction. All facility managers, teachers, students allowed contact with the materials, as well as the janitorial team must know how to correctly store and identify the waste generated on-site.
All personnel must follow the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or government-mandated guidelines. These guidelines are found within RCRA, federal, state, and local regulations. If your facility is unsure of these mandates, you should contact Environmental Marketing Services.

To make sure your facility is complying with all government mandates it is recommended you hire a hazardous waste disposal service such as Environmental Marketing Services. Through their services, you and all faculty or janitorial members involved with your hazardous materials and lab pack will receive compliance training. In addition to the training, your school or business will also receive pick-up and disposal services of all hazardous material and your lab pack.

What are Hazardous Wastes?

Schools and universities store hundreds, sometimes thousands of chemicals for use in classroom experiments. Some of the chemicals are used to conduct experiments, others might be used to degrease tools, control pests, and disinfect the facility. In an educational facility, many commonly used materials contain hazardous properties. Once these materials can no longer be used, they become hazardous waste.

The EPA states a hazardous waste is a material or substance that is capable of causing harm to the environment or human health. These hazardous wastes are either reactive, ignitable, corrosive or contain toxic characteristics. If you are unsure of a material’s content or whether it is hazardous or not, you can check the safety data sheet from the manufacturer, or contact Environmental Marketing Services experts.

The chemical inventory and lab packs in your school lab should be cleaned out at least once a year. Summer break is the perfect time for this cleanout as most facilities are unoccupied during this time. These are some summer break project tips for your facility to safely and cost-effectively clean out your lab packs and other hazardous wastes.

1. Prepare Comprehensive List of Your Inventory

You want to begin the cleanout of your lab packs and other chemicals by preparing a comprehensive list of your inventory. This list will not only include the lab packs and other chemicals found in the lab, but also those in the maintenance offices, science classrooms, automotive shops, and custodial closets.

Your list is going to include- at a minimum:
– Name of chemicals
– Size of your containers
– The material the container is made from whether glass, plastic, etc
– How much, or what quantity of chemicals do you have
– Chemical Abstracts Service number
(The Chemical Abstracts Service or CAS number is the numerical designation for chemicals maintained by the Chemical Abstracts Service that is a part of the American Chemical Society. Each number is unique to specific chemicals.)
– The physical state of the chemical whether gas, liquid, or solid

If any of your materials are going to be stored, you need a staff member to safely clean out the area used for storage. It should be brushed so no residue remains from past use. Use just water the first time wiping down as some cleaning products can have a chemical reaction to certain materials.

2. Know What Will be Kept

You do not have to keep chemicals because of their shelf life or are in good condition. Your facility should have an approved chemical or product list as your starting point for designating which chemicals are kept. From this point, you should know if there is any real chance they will be used. If not, check with Environmental Marketing Services if they can be donated or need disposal.

Tips for storing chemicals you will keep include:
– Do not keep more than a 3-year supply of each chemical
– Follow storage and compatibility guidelines from Section 7 of the SDS (safety data sheet)
– Chemicals should be in their original containers or appropriate secondary containers
– All containers must be properly labeled, and if possible put two rows of chemicals per shelf
– Flammables should be stored in metal cabinets

3. Get Ready for Disposal

Your cleanout process will be the disposal of expired chemicals. The same goes for your lab pack and any chemicals you’ve stored in containers other than your lab pack. Remember it is against the law to pour chemicals down the drain or put them in your regular trash bins. You will need to contact Environmental Marketing Services to properly dispose of any hazardous wastes including the lab pack.

Why Environmental Marketing Services is Your Solution to Year-End Clean Out of Lab Pack

At Environmental Marketing Services we perform expert handling of your laboratory chemicals. If you have unusable or spent lab chemicals they have a unique niche in the waste disposal process. We are able to properly handle all requirements necessary to expedite the removal of lab waste and your lab pack safely and reliably.

With the end of your school year nearing, contact Environmental Marketing Services to review your inventory list, help with the identification of chemicals, dispose of lab packs in the proper and necessary manner, and many other year-end services.

We have more than ninety combined years of experience, and understand how to develop innovative and cost-effective solutions to your waste disposal and recycling needs.

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