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Hazardous Waste Management Program

Hazardous materials are used by nearly all of the teaching and research labs at the University, as well as in many of the construction and maintenance operations performed. Anyone working with hazardous materials must be properly trained. In addition, laboratory personnel should be well acquainted with the Hazardous Waste Management Plan, which includes the University's protocols for collection and disposal of hazardous (chemical) waste.

Complete USI Hazardous Waste Management Program

Hazard Communication Program

OSHA's Hazard Communication Standard was enacted to ensure that employees are aware of the potential hazards associated with occupational exposure to chemicals. The regulation requires employers to compile and maintain a chemical inventory and to provide training to employees concerning those hazardous chemicals.

Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) must be readily accessible to employees. Labeling requirements for containers of hazardous chemicals are also included in the regulation. Finally, the employer must have a written hazard communication program to outline how these requirements are to be accomplished. Laboratories are exempt from this standard. Please note that a separate OSHA regulation exists for employees using hazardous chemicals in laboratories. For more information refer to the Lab Safety & Research section.

Since the University uses hazardous chemicals in many areas, all departments are covered by the standard. Individual departments, where the use of hazardous chemicals is an essential function of the job, will receive specialized training on those hazards.

Specific Topic Areas: 

Infectious waste boxes are the cardboard boxes with the red plastic liners that are used for the disposal of research materials. Contaminated research materials include: tissue samples, animal cadavers, animal organs, slides, broken lab glassware, absorbent pads, pharmaceuticals and small quantities of chemicals. Sharps should be collected in the red puncture resistant collection containers. The sharps collection boxes are purchased through each department. Outlined below are the disposal instructions to be followed:

The boxes are delivered constructed (from Housekeeping). Request boxes and liners from 465-7111. All sharps must be placed in a red puncture resistant collection container inside of the red lined bag which is placed inside of the infectious waste box. Do not pour liquids in the boxes or over pack -- weight limit is 40 lbs. Use only the biohazard boxes and liners provided. Do not use for disposal of non-hazardous material

When the infectious waste box is ready for disposal:

  • Label the box with the building name and lab room number.
  • Seal the plastic liner, NOT the cardboard top.
  • Call 812-465-7111, request a pickup and a replacement box.

Used oil is defined in Title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations as "any oil that has been refined from crude oil, or any synthetic oil, that has been used and as a result of such use is contaminated by physical or chemical impurities."

Used oil is typically contaminated or mixed with dirt, fine particles, water or chemicals, all of which affect the performance of the oil and eventually render it unusable. Used oil does not include products derived from vegetable or animal fats or petroleum distillates used as solvents. Antifreeze, cleaning agents, gasoline, jet and diesel fuels are not used oil.

Complete Used Oil Program Details

Most fluorescent lamps and High Intensity Discharge (HID) lamps use mercury. The mercury is in vapor form, and is essential in emitting the ultraviolet light that makes fluorescent and HID lamps glow. Lamps that use mercury include common fluorescent lamps, metal halide lamps and high-pressure sodium lamps used for floodlights and streetlights.

Because mercury can be extremely harmful to humans and the environment, large quantities of waste mercury-containing lamps are managed under the University's Mercury-Containing Lamp Program. This plan was developed in accordance to the city of Evansville's universal waste and hazardous waste regulations.

Complete Mercury-Containing Lamp Program Details

The University of Southern Indiana uses many different kinds of batteries on campus. Determining how to dispose of dead or unwanted batteries can be tricky. The Battery Recycling and Disposal Program lists the common types of batteries used and proper disposal methods for each. If you have unwanted batteries not listed in this program, please contact Environmental Health and Safety at 812-461-5393 for disposal instructions.

USI's Battery Recycling and Disposal Program

Waste Minimization Plan

Wherever feasible, generation of waste should be reduced or eliminated as much as possible. Implementing a comprehensive waste minimization plan may reduce the generator status of the University and therefore reduce the compliance requirements. The plan can also reduce exposure to toxic materials, potential environmental liabilities and help protect the environment through more efficient resource utilization. 

From a cost savings perspective, the program reduces expenses by minimizing waste treatment and disposal costs, raw material purchases, and other operating costs. 

There are many ways to prevent or minimize hazardous waste generation. This list provides some ideas for waste minimization techniques.  

  • Maintain a limited inventory of chemicals on hand so those chemicals do not expire or deteriorate and necessitate disposal. Only purchase what is needed.
  • Develop a running inventory of chemicals on hand.
  • Use the inventory to track unused chemicals for possible use by other departments.
  • Reduce or eliminate the use of highly toxic chemicals in lab experiments.
  • Establish reasonable waste minimization goals within your department.
  • Perform laboratory experiments on a microscale whenever feasible.
  • Reuse or recycle spent solvents.
  • Recover metal from catalyst.
  • Initiate procedures to reduce mercury use; e.g., replace mercury-bearing instruments with alternatives.
  • Polymerize epoxy waste to a safe solid.
  • Replace chromic acid cleaning solutions with Alconox or a similar detergent.
  • Replace ethidium bromide with Syber Green.
  • Recycle office equipment such as computer monitors. 

Waste handling options and the priority in which they should be considered are illustrated below.

  1. Prevention
  2. Elimination
  3. Reduction
  4. Recycling
  5. Treatment
  6. Disposal