Why Your School or University Needs a Chemical Cleanout
August 16, 2021

Two of the main reasons you need to perform a chemical cleanout to start your academic year out safely are your regulatory obligations and for health and safety reasons.

Regulatory Obligations: Under Section 34 of the EPA (Environmental Protection Act) it is your duty of care when chemical waste is present in your facility. The Duty of Care affects everyone who creates, carries, imports, disposes, or treats controlled waste materials.

The regulations which govern hazardous waste identification, generation, classification, disposal, and management can be found in title 40 CFR parts 260-273. If you are unsure of what your facility has or the management of these chemicals, you can also contact Environmental Marketing Services for assistance in how to handle your chemical cleanout.

Health and Safety Reasons: Spills are a common occurrence with chemical waste, and could cost your facility a lot for clean-ups. When chemicals are stockpiled, it increases the risk of dangerous reactions, fires, and explosions.

Risks often associated with chemicals depend on the level of chemical hazard, how a person is exposed to the chemical, and how long they remain exposed to the chemical.

How to Perform Your Chemical Cleanout Process

There are five basic steps to follow for conducting your chemical waste cleanout before the start of your academic year.
1. Training- Training is mandatory for anyone involved in the clean-out process. This training applies to all staff, administrators, and teachers. Everyone should be made aware of what chemicals are present in the lab. These chemicals should also be evaluated for their physical hazards and possible health hazards when being handled.
2. Inventory- Inventory should be recorded on an MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) which will list proper procedures for storing, handling, and disposing of each chemical. Each of the chemicals or chemical kits needs to have an MSDS.
3. Storage
4. Disposal- To ensure you have the proper disposal process in place, call Environmental Marketing Services and set up a schedule or appointment for the disposal methods necessary
5. Chemical Waste Management

Begin your chemical cleanout process by forming a team of school administrators, teachers, and your facility’s maintenance personnel. You can also include your State’s environmental conservation department, Environmental Marketing Services, and your local emergency response team.

Perform Screening of Chemicals Before Cleanout

Before you begin your process of chemical waste cleanout, you need to identify where the chemicals are located, how much or the quantity of chemicals are present, and what types of chemicals are present in your school’s lab.
If there are any imminent hazards these should be removed immediately before the team begins cleanout. Imminent hazards include:
– Unstable or corroded containers
– Incompatible groupings of chemicals. These include acids and bases, flammable liquids and corrosives, inorganic or organic acids, aqueous sources or water-reactive chemicals, strong phosphoric or oxidizers
– Sources of heat or water that pose a dangerous situation
– Compromised or unstable chemicals
– During this screening, the chemicals should not be handled, only assessed. If there are any dangers that require removal, a technical expert should be on hand to perform the disposal.

Perform an Inventory of Chemicals Needed to be Cleaned Out

The basic information needed on your inventory list includes:
– Name of product or chemical
– How much content is remaining in each container
– How many containers of the chemical are present
– Where the containers are being stored
– The concentration of the chemical solutions in percent amounts
– The hazardous characteristic of the chemical
– The expiration date of the chemical
– How often each chemical on the list is used

Your school or university should conduct inventories both as a short term for disposal purposes and long term for your chemical management.

– A short-term inventory will identify hazards so you are able to remove and dispose of chemicals that have been overstocked, present significant hazards, are outdated, and are no longer needed.
– A long-term inventory ensures you maintain MSDS for the entire inventory. This inventory will also maintain your tracking system of inventory and allow you to create a chemical management system to include storage, use, and disposal.

Safety is the Key for Chemical Cleanouts at Your School or University

Environmental Marketing Services can help handle all your laboratory chemical waste. Our team is experienced in dealing with spent or unusable laboratory chemicals. By sending a copy of your waste inventory list, we can send a specialized crew to complete your facility’s chemical clean-out before your new academic year begins.

Disposal and Removal of School Chemical Waste Cleanout

To begin your chemical cleanout, remember safety is your first priority.

With the inventory list you’ve created, Environmental Marketing Services can determine how many drums will be needed. Make sure all lab packing supplies are on hand or verify with our staff that supplies will be available.
Your chemicals will be packed in appropriate-sized containers with plastic liners, and a cushioning material will be used when placing into the drum. Each container will be labeled correctly with its content.

Our expert team has been trained on chemical compatibility when packing and understands that incompatible chemicals cannot be placed in the same container. All chemicals will be identified that are being placed into the drum. Once this is completed, we will ensure the safe disposal of your chemical waste materials.

Not All Substances in Your School are Hazardous

There are substances found in your school’s lab that are considered non-hazardous chemicals. Some of these include bars of soap, detergents, and vinegar. A hazardous material is chemical in quantity form that can create an unreasonable risk to safety, the environment, or health when it is used, stored, released, or transported.

Who Can Handle Chemical Waste Cleanout For Your School or University

Environmental Marketing Services welcomes the opportunity to work with your school or university as your new academic year begins. We will help you develop an innovative and cost-effective solution for your chemical waste cleanout and ensure your new year begins fresh. Talk to our specialists and learn how your facility can work with our waste management team for all your recycling and waste disposal needs.

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