As generators of hazardous waste, it’s critical for universities to have written, documented hazardous waste disposal guidelines for their employees. These help ensure safety regulations are known and used not just in some but every department that has anything to do with hazardous materials. If your university is without this document, start seriously looking into your options to create one.

Hazardous Waste Disposal Guidelines for Universities: An Invaluable Document

Why Are Hazardous Waste Disposal Guidelines Important?

These documents are critically important for their educational value. Everyone who has anything to do with your generated hazardous waste (identifying, storing, or transporting) should have this document and know exactly what it says. Because it details exact safety regulations as well as the university’s specific hazardous waste protocol, it can be used across the school in the following areas:

  • Laboratories (currently functioning or recently decommissioned).
  • Shops.
  • Maintenance areas.

Depending on what your university’s medical facilities produce, you might even have some hazardous medical waste that this document could address.

It is common for large universities to have these documents in place because they tend to have the resources and manpower to dedicate to creating these guidelines, but smaller universities still might be without.

Note, a hazardous waste disposal guide is sometimes required in order to secure certain grants and confirm proper standard operating procedures. If you’re a smaller university and want access to those kinds of funds, consider talking to your local hazardous waste disposal company. A knowledgeable provider could help you put together an accurate and comprehensive guideline.

What Hazardous Waste Disposal Guidelines Include

  • Term Definitions: What Is RCRA Hazardous Waste?

For general safety, everyone at the university must know what RCRA hazardous waste means and what categories of waste that includes. Identifying hazardous waste takes expertise and skill, but nobody should think it’s permissible to dump potentially hazardous material down the drain or throw it in the trash. Defining these terms within a document can help give everyone the base level of knowledge needed regarding RCRA law as well as the specifics of RCRA regulations.

  • Identification Factors: Characteristic Hazardous Waste and Listed Hazardous Waste

These guides should also break down all the various types of hazardous waste and make it clear it’s not just one waste stream that’s hazardous. A characteristic hazardous waste chart is always helpful, including D-listed waste with their accompanying D waste codes. (The RCRA 8—hazardous RCRA metals—falls under this umbrella.)

The definition and regulations of F-, K-, P-, and U-listed waste should also be included.

  • Proper Hazardous Waste Storage Protocol

Every university is going to have slightly different policies regarding hazardous waste storage, but these guidelines can also outline your legal responsibilities in terms of what kind of containers to use, what materials not to store together, what hazardous waste labels to use, and how long you can have that waste on site before shipment.

This section should also detail safe hazardous waste collection protocol.

  • Universal Waste Disposal Protocol

Universal waste is anything that is technically hazardous but appears in common items. Some examples include the following: batteries, light bulbs, pesticides, anything with mercury, etc. Due to their universal nature, municipal and commercial recycling programs for these items are common. Your university still needs to dispose of universal waste properly, but the protocols are less complicated than with other hazardous waste.

Why Your University Should Reach Out to Hazardous Waste Disposal Companies

Feeling overwhelmed by everything that must go into these guidelines? Consider working with your local hazardous waste removal companies. They have the experience and hazardous waste disposal expertise to help you create a thorough document that improves the overall safety of your university.

If you find a full-service university waste management company, they can also help you with the proper stages of disposal, from identification through to transport and treatment.

For more information about safe and legal hazardous waste removal and how these guidelines can help your university, please feel free to reach out to a representative of MCF Environmental Services, an Atlanta waste management company.