Waste Minimization Plan

Pollution prevention and waste minimization provides an opportunity for everyone to be environmentally responsible and is a goal of the Brooklyn College Campus Sustainability 10-Year Master Plan.

Minimization of hazardous waste is part of the hazardous waste management program. The program seeks to reduce the amount of hazardous waste generated to the lowest practical quantity in order to conserve energy and natural resources through a program of effective waste minimization procedures (including recycling, reuse, product substitution, and treatment).

Purchasing Procedures Can Minimize Waste

Good purchasing decisions are the first steps in minimizing hazardous waste. Every effort must be made to keep purchased quantities to a minimum. Stockpiling products for future use or to take advantage of unit cost savings may not be appropriate because disposal costs of unused chemicals may exceed the initial savings from bulk purchases. The average cost to dispose of unused hazardous materials and other chemicals may be two to three times the original purchase cost. Purchase only the quantity of material that will be completely used within a reasonable time frame. Other practices that help to minimize the potential for waste disposal include the following:

  • Limit the amount of ordered materials to expected volumes of use.
  • Do not stockpile chemicals unnecessarily. Many chemicals, including organic compounds, degrade over time and lose their usefulness.
  • Check inventories/ChemTracker to avoid ordering chemicals that are already in stock.
  • As a prudent practice, rotate chemical stocks to use up chemicals before their shelf lives expire.
  • Consider pre-weighed packaging options now available from chemical vendors. Particularly with highly toxic materials (e.g., carcinogens, teratogens, etc.), the purchase of pre-weighed materials avoids unnecessary handling, storage, and disposal of excess toxic materials. Micro-scale packing is also available.
  • Purchase gas cylinders only from manufacturers that will accept the return of the partially used or empty cylinders.

Source Reduction

Source reduction refers to practices that reduce, avoid, or eliminate hazardous waste at the point of generation. These practices may include:

  • Use of smaller quantities of chemicals in experiments or processes.
  • Where possible, substitution of less hazardous or nonhazardous chemicals for their toxic counterparts.
  • Borrow a chemical from a colleague to conduct an investigative research trial.
  • Plan activities/experiments to consume hazardous materials to the full extent possible, and to minimize the amount and toxicity of waste materials produced.
  • Recycle or reuse, when possible, chemicals as opposed to disposal as hazardous waste. If you have no further need of a hazardous material, determine whether your colleagues can use it.
  • Do not mix chemical wastes. Mixing reduces the likelihood that materials may be reused or redistributed and often increases disposal costs. If nonhazardous wastes are mixed with hazardous wastes, the combined volume is considered hazardous waste under state and federal regulations and must be handled and disposed of as hazardous waste at increased costs compared to regular waste. If at all possible, do not combine other chemicals with organic solvents. Acids, bases, heavy metals, carcinogens, oxidizers, cyanides, sulfides, pesticides, nonhalogenated solvents, and especially halogenated organic solvents (chloroform, methylene chloride, etc.) must be collected in separate, labeled, waste containers.

Brooklyn. All in.