If you are in charge of your university or school's hazardous waste stream, it's incredibly important you have a sound and legally compliant hazardous waste management plan. Depending on the severity of the offense, noncompliance brings with it any number of unpleasant consequences, from fines to loss of university accreditation to legal action. With that in mind, the following provides an overview of the steps involved in creating and following a fully compliant plan.


Hazardous Waste Management Plan: What Every University Should Know


Step 1: Acknowledge the Necessity of Hazardous Waste Management Plans


The first important step in any waste management plan is realizing that much of the waste created in your university—especially in labs or medical teaching areas—is actually hazardous and requires special hazardous waste disposal.

Odds are your university has these waste streams, and you cannot legally throw the items away in the normal trash, and you certainly cannot dump anything along these lines down the drain.


If you're a smaller university or some variety of startup school, you might not have the necessary experience or personnel to determine if you are or are not being fully legally compliant, which is why a plan becomes so important.


Some common examples of items that should be included in your hazardous waste management plans include the following:

  • Paints
  • Oils (even latex paints, which are not hazardous, must still be properly disposed of)
  • Solvent
  • Gasoline
  • Expired chemicals


Step 2: Contact Your Local Hazardous Waste Management Companies


Once you acknowledge that you do produce this kind of waste, reach out to your local waste management companies. Select carefully, being sure to determine that the company can properly and knowledgeably manage all your particular waste streams.


Step 3: Work with a Hazardous Waste Disposal Company to Make a Comprehensive List of Your Waste


Working closely with that company, go through department by department to ascertain all the waste you create and determine what of that cumulative waste needs to be properly disposed of.

University Waste Management: Sample Departments and Waste Types

  • Art Department: expired paints (latex and oil), flammable solvents
  • Maintenance: groundskeeping chemicals, paint, oxidizers for pool treatment
  • Teaching Laboratory: expired chemicals, pathological waste (dissection specimens)
  • Medical Labs: biohazardous waste


Step 4: Select the Right Waste Management Company for Your School


Always consider full-service hazardous waste disposal companies, as working with one company almost always ends up being a more time-effective and cost-effective strategy. Rather than having to coordinate with many companies, one full-service business will be prepared and able to remove any and all hazardous and non-hazardous waste streams.


A reputable company will also provide invaluable waste disposal tips, such as how often you need to ship your waste according to your EPA generator status. As with most aspects of proper waste disposal, violation of this policy could result in negative consequences.


Also remember to put a premium on waste disposal companies that are willing to do an onsite visit at your school. This allows the company to actually see in person what you do and don't have. It also gives that company the opportunity to discover and offer solutions for waste streams you didn't even realize were hazardous.


For more information about hazardous waste management in your university or other waste management tips, please feel free to contact a representative of MCF Environmental Services, a waste management Atlanta company.