Managing High School Chemistry Lab Waste

Administrators, teachers and high school students must be taught and held responsible for the safe handling and waste disposal of chemicals in their labs.

Today’s education system is increasingly focusing on science, technology, engineering, and math to help children learn important skills needed to fill job vacancies of the future. While STEM education is a terrific advancement in secondary education, administrators, teachers, and high school students must be taught and held responsible for the safe handling and waste disposal of potentially toxic chemicals in their labs.

Here are some disposal tips to keep in mind when it comes to high school chemistry lab waste.

Understand the Risks

In order to get participation in responsible disposal and storage practices, it’s important that all involved understand the risks. Improper handling of hazardous chemicals and materials can result in burns, explosions and a number of other health concerns for students and administrators and can also put the environment at risk. Education and training on laws and recommended disposal practices is an important step.

Learn Best Practices

As with any other medical facility that produces hazardous waste, educational institutions are held responsible for safe handling and storage and are subject to the same fines and regulations. For this reason it’s important that inventory is taken, that expired chemicals are safely removed and that educators are primed on safe practices if they are not experienced in handling some of the chemicals in their labs.

Set Rules & Protocols

Once an understanding of the risks and how to prevent them is in place, it’s important that school districts work together with the EPA to set rules and protocols. These should be reviewed and updated regularly to avoid fines. The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) mandates cradle-to-grave waste handling and disposal and should be taken seriously to remain in compliance and protect the public. This means that if you generate hazardous waste, you are responsible for its proper off-site transportation and disposal.  

Questions about how to keep your school or chemistry lab in compliance? Call us today.

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