Pollution Prevention

How do I manage this waste stream?

Practical advice on how to manage, recycle, or dispose of common wastes at Brookhaven National Laboratory.

Pollution Prevention Home | EPD Home

Note: Advice on waste disposal and management is for typical waste streams. Wastes contaminated with hazardous or radioactive materials may require additional controls.


Acids

Unused acids that have not expired can be made available to the laboratory community for use via the Chemical Management System’s "Chemical Exchange" program.

I. Disposal via the sink

Any material disposed to the sink constitutes a liquid effluent. Requirements for releasing liquid effluents are contained in the BNL Standards Based Management System subject area entitled, Liquid Effluents.

Some liquid effluents may contain material not listed on the sink releasable chemical list, but may be sink releasable. These effluents must be evaluated by the subject matter expert in the Environmental and Waste Management Services Division to determine whether the effluent is acceptable for sink release. The procedure for having a liquid effluent evaluated for sink release are contained in the above reference subject area, or contact your Environmental Compliance Representative for help.

Small quantities of certain acids can be neutralized by knowledgeable staff and disposed to the sink following the guidance in Neutralization. Contact the Environmental Compliance Representative for assistance in determining whether this is advisable.

II. Disposal via the Environmental and Waste Management Services Division

Acids which can not be disposed in the sink shall be accumulated, stored, labeled and disposed of per the requirements described in the BNL Standards Based Management System subject area entitled Hazardous Waste

III. Acid waste storage issues:

The following acids should not be stored together, because they are incompatible:

  • Acetic Acid, Chromic Acid and Nitric Acid
  • Acetic Acid and Perchloric Acid
  • Nitric Acid and Hydrocyanic Acid

Refer to the exhibit in the Hazardous Waste subject area "Examples of Incompatible Chemicals" for a more complete list of chemical incompatibilities, or contact your Environmental Compliance Representative or Waste Management Representative.

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Aerosol Cans

There are two options for managing aerosol cans: Either as a recycled material or as a hazardous waste.

Management as a Recycled Material

Empty and release all pressure from the can by puncturing using an approved can-puncturer.  Aerosol cans containing highly toxic chemicals (a.k.a. acute or RCRA P-wastes, or pesticides/herbicides/rodenticides) may NOT be punctured and must be managed as hazardous wastes. Additionally, generators may NOT puncture cans using other than an approved device as it may be UNSAFE.  

NOTE: Un-punctured, depressurized cans (i.e. will no longer discharge contents) should not be assumed to be, nor managed as, empty or scrap as they may still contain product.

Once the aerosol can is punctured and allowed to thoroughly drain of residual liquids, the metal cans may be recycled as scrap metal as per the Industrial Waste SBMS Subject Area.

Call your ESH Coordinator, ECR or WMR to determine if a can-puncturer is available to your group.

Management as Hazardous Waste

Instead of using an approved can-puncturer, generators have the option of managing the cans as hazardous waste (i.e. ignitable, toxic; depending on the type of contents and/or propellant).  Cans must be managed as per the Hazardous Waste SBMS Subject Area and generators may accumulate them in a satellite area or inside a 90-Day Hazardous Waste Accumulation Area.

Note: aerosol cans containing materials that transform into solids or semi-solids upon discharge (such as foam insulation, sealants, etc) cannot be punctured as it clogs the approved can puncturer. Also, cans not containing hazardous propellants and/or hazardous components (e.g. shaving cream cans) do not require puncturing and can be handled as scrap metal.

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Aluminum Cans

A recyclable material; should be disposed of in dedicated recycling containers, located in the Cafeteria (Berkner Hall) or in Building lunchrooms or kitchenettes. You may request an aluminum can recycling container from the Recycling Coordinator.

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Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM)

Waste that does not contain another hazardous material and contains asbestos becomes classified as asbestos containing material waste (ACM). Special programs on the federal, state, and Laboratory level regulate and/or manage asbestos waste depending on the form and concentration of asbestos in waste. Individuals who are involved with asbestos and ACM abatement, removal, and disposal shall obtain specific regulatory-based training and certification. BNL requires all ACM removal and waste activity to be coordinated by the Plant Engineering Division (PE). Contact PE’s Asbestos Abatement Coordinator on extension x5284 to arrange for the removal and disposal of ACM.

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Antifreeze

Antifreeze (typically ethylene glycol or propylene glycol) is usually characterized as "Industrial Waste". Collect spent antifreeze in an appropriate container for transfer to Environmental and Waste Management Services Division. Complete the Nonradioactive Waste Control Form, label the container with a 'Non-Hazardous Waste' label and move the container to the 90-Day Accumulation Area.

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Batteries

Batteries may or may not be "universal  wastes" depending on whether they have hazardous components or hazardous characteristics.

  • Alkaline batteries - Currently manufactured alkaline batteries (post-1995) do NOT contain hazardous constituents above regulatory levels and are NOT considered Universal Wastes, and may be recycled via the “BIG GREEN BOX” (see the ECR for access). Old stockpiled batteries (pre-1995) that usually contain mercury should be disposed of as “universal waste” (see note below describing new “Universal Waste” regulations).
  • Button Cells (silver oxide and/or mercury oxide = calculator, watches, etc.) - These batteries are typically characterized as "Universal Waste" due to the silver or mercury content. These batteries should be segregated by content in the satellite accumulation area. Complete the Nonradioactive Waste Control Form, label the container as per the above and move the container to the Universal Waste Accumulation Area.
  • Lead Acid batteries (automotive type) – automotive batteries should be transferred to the BNL Motor Pool (Building 423) for proper recycling using proper PPE and secondary containment. Note: Do not empty the liquid contents of the battery.
  • Lead Containing batteries (D-cell type) – typically characterized as "Universal Waste" due to the lead content. Collect batteries as per the universal waste requirements below and  transfer to Environmental and Waste Management Services Division. Complete the Nonradioactive Waste Control Form, and move the container to the Universal Waste Accumulation Area.
  • Lithium batteries – typically characterized as "Universal Waste" due to the lithium content. Collect batteries in an appropriate container for transfer to Environmental and Waste Management Services Division. Complete the Nonradioactive Waste Control Form, label the container as per the above and move the container to the Universal Waste Accumulation Area.
  • NiCad (nickel/cadmium = power tool batteries/power packs) – typically characterized as "Universal  Waste" due to the cadmium content. Collect batteries in an appropriate container as per the above for transfer to Environmental and Waste Management Services Division. Complete the Nonradioactive Waste Control Form, and move the container to the Universal Waste Accumulation Area.
  • NiMH – nickel metal hydride (found in consumer electronics, plug-in vehicle batteries) – typically characterized as “Universal wastes” due to their hydride (reactive) content. Collect batteries in an appropriate container as per the above for transfer to Environmental Protection Division. Complete the Nonradioactive Waste Control Form, and move the container to the Universal Waste Accumulation Area.

NOTE: New York State Department of Conservation regulations regarding batteries containing hazardous constituents (e.g. lead, lithium, mercury/mercury oxide, nickel-cadmium, silver/silver oxide, etc.) have changed to facilitate recycling. These batteries are considered “universal wastes”, a special classification of hazardous wastes. Storage containers for waste batteries must meet the following requirements:

  1. Labeled with “Universal Waste-battery(ies)” or “Waste Battery(ies)” or “Used Battery(ies)”,
  2. Marked with the type of battery (e.g. mercury, lithium, mercury, etc.),
  3. Dated when the first battery was added to the container,
  4. Compatible with the battery(ies) stored (e.g. plastic container for lead-acid batteries),
  5. Structurally sound without major defects, and
  6. Closed at all times unless adding a battery(ies)

Generators may keep the above batteries for up to six (6) months from the time the first battery was placed into the container until shipped off-site for disposal/recycling.

Leaking batteries and shattered fluorescent light bulbs must NOT be handled as “universal wastes”. Since batteries may contain hazardous materials, contact the ECR for guidance. Batteries that are Universal Waste must be segregated by type in the Universal Waste Accumulation Area.

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Bottles (Beverage)

A recyclable material; should be disposed of in dedicated recycling containers, located in the Cafeteria (Berkner Hall) or in Building lunchrooms or kitchenettes. You may request a yellow bottle/can recycling container from the Recycling Coordinator.

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Bottles (Empty Chemical Bottles)

See "Empty Chemical Containers"

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Broken Glass

To protect janitorial and waste handling staff from injury, place all broken glass into dedicated lab glass bags or containers (e.g. ECOLO-Bag or equivalent). Unbroken glass containers used for food (such as beverage bottles) can be placed in recycling bins located in hallways, lounges and food areas. If the waste glassware was used to store a chemical, see “Empty Chemical Containers” for guidance on proper disposal.

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Caustic Wastes

I. Disposal via the sink

Unused bases that have not expired can be made available to the laboratory community for use via the Chemical Management System’s "Chemical Exchange" program.

Any material disposed to the sink constitutes a liquid effluent. Requirements for releasing liquid effluents are contained in the BNL Standards Based Management System subject area entitled, Liquid Effluents.

Some liquid effluents may contain material not listed on the sink releasable chemical list, but may be sink releasable. These effluents must be evaluated by the subject matter expert in the Environmental and Waste Management Services Division to determine whether the effluent is acceptable for sink release. The procedure for having a liquid effluent evaluated for sink release are contained in the above reference subject area, or contact your Environmental Compliance Representative for help.

Small quantities of certain bases can be neutralized by knowledgeable staff and disposed to the sink following the guidance in Neutralization of Corrosive Wastes.

II. Disposal via the Environmental and Waste Management Services Division

Caustic wastes that cannot be disposed of to the sink shall be accumulated, stored, labeled and disposed of per requirements described in the BNL Standards Based Management System subject area entitled Hazardous Waste Management

Refer to the exhibit in the Hazardous Waste subject area "Examples of Incompatible Chemicals" for a more complete list of chemical incompatibilities, or contact your Environmental Compliance Representative or Waste Management Representative.

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Chemicals

Unused chemicals that have not expired can be made available to the laboratory community for use via the "Chemical Management System’s "Chemical Exchange" program.

Please search the list of waste management techniques for the specific type of waste stream that you have.

General disposal instructions for chemicals:

  • Waste chemicals must be accumulated, stored, labeled and disposed of per the requirements described in the BNL Standards Based Management System subject area entitled Hazardous Waste.
  • Refer to the exhibit in the Hazardous Waste Management subject area titled "Examples of Incompatible Chemicals" for a list of chemicals that should not be stored together.
  • Refer to the exhibit in the Hazardous Waste subject area titled "Sink Releasable Chemical List", for guidance regarding chemicals that can be discharged to the sink.

Questions? Contact your Environmental Compliance Representative or Waste Management Representative.

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Chlorinated Solvents

See Solvents

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 Compactable Radioactive Waste

  • Compactable Radioactive Waste refers to items that are easily crushed in a compactor. Examples include paper; rags; clothing; respirators; empty glassware; easily crushable, empty, lightweight metal labware; and empty crushable plastic labware.
  • Compactable Radioactive Waste shall be shall be accumulated, stored, labeled and disposed of per requirements described in the BNL Standards Based Management System subject area entitled Radioactive Waste Management.

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Computers & Related Equipment

Computers and related equipment are considered sensitive items, which are controlled and inventoried by Property Management, and hence need to follow a specific protocol for transfer/disposal.  The first thing to do is contact your Department’s Property Representative (see https://sbms.bnl.gov/SupportServices.cfm?SS=P).  The Property Representative will aid you in determining the proper SOP’s to follow.  The hierarchy of computer / electronic equipment disposal is:

  • Internal division transfer – transferred to another individual with the Department
  • Intra-Lab transfer – transferred to another Department
  • Transfer to excess – usable equipment which may be transferred to a non for profit school participating in the Computers for Learning Program
  • Sent to a recycler for disposal

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Controlled Substances

Controlled substances designated as waste are rarely managed by BNL and are handled on a case-by-case basis. When you designate controlled substances as waste, send a complete inventory (Chemical Name, CAS No., and Weight (solid) or Volume (liquid) of Waste) to a Environmental and Waste Management Services Division Generator Services Supervisor. Environmental and Waste Management Services Division will contact the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) on your behalf. You will be required to complete a DEA Form 41 and may be interviewed by a local DEA Agent. Although Environmental and Waste Management Services Division will arrange transportation and disposal of the materials on your behalf, Environmental and Waste Management Services Division does not fund disposal of controlled substances. You will be required to pay for transportation and disposal costs. You may also be required to witness the destruction of the controlled substances at the disposal facility.

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Corrosive Wastes

See Acids and/or Caustic Wastes

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Neutralization of Corrosives for Sink Disposal

If you have corrosive waste that is rad contaminated, see Neutralization of Radioactive Corrosive Waste.

Small quantities of acids or caustic waste can be neutralized by knowledgeable staff to a pH of 6-8 in the laboratory and disposed to the sink, if safe practices are followed during the neutralization. The following guidelines apply:

  • The concentration of the solution being neutralized should be <1 Normal.
  • The volume of the solution should be < 1 Liter.
  • The acid/caustic cannot contain contaminates, especially halogenated organics, oils or metals such as arsenic, barium, cadmium, chromium, lead, mercury, selenium, or silver.
  • All constituents of the neutralized solution must be listed on the Sink Releasable Chemical List. As per this list, some uncontaminated acids can be discharged into the sink directly, with running water.
  • Acids that cannot be neutralized and sink disposed are chromic acid, hydrofluoric and fluoboric acid.

Any liquid disposed to the sink constitutes a liquid effluent. Requirements for releasing liquid effluents are contained in the BNL Standards Based Management System subject area entitled Liquid Effluents.

There are special cases when an effluent that contains material not listed on the sink releasable chemical list is sink releasable. These wastes must be evaluated by the subject matter expert in the Environmental and Waste Management Services Division to determine whether it is acceptable for sink release. The procedure for having a liquid effluent evaluated for sink release is contained in the above referenced Liquid Effluent subject area. If you have questions regarding liquid effluent, or require help identifying potential sink releasable effluents, contact your Environmental Compliance Representative or your Waste Management Representative.

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Corrugated Cardboard

Corrugated Cardboard is a recyclable material; if large quantities, locate the dumpster labeled as "Cardboard Only" and dispose of therein – if small quantities, leave the contents outside of your office door and custodial services will recycle it.

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Cylinders (gas)

Unwanted, Non-Radioactive cylinders, including lecture bottles, may be managed in one of the following ways. For cylinders that are in good condition and are properly marked to identify the contents, contact the Cylinder Warehouse (ext. 2964) managed by the Procurement & Property Management Division to try and arrange for return of the cylinder(s) to the supplier/manufacturer.  See the Supply & Material group procedure for tagging and control of gas cylinders.

If the cylinder cannot be returned to the supplier/manufacturer, then cylinders must be disposed through the Environmental and Waste Management Services Division. See the Hazardous Waste Management subject area for guidance. If the cylinder is in poor condition and/or its contents are uncertain, contact the Environmental and Waste Management Services Division for characterization/disposal guidance.

Degreasing & Part Washing Wastes

The two most common broad categories of part-washing methods are;

  1. Aqueous-based cleaning
  2. Solvent-based cleaning

Use part washing solutions in this order of preference:

  1. Aqueous cleaning solutions, like alconox, trisodium phosphate (Spic & Span), Simple Green, etc.
  2. High flash point mineral spirits cleaners, like kerosene
  3. Non-Chlorinated solvent cleaners, like ethanol or isopropanol. DON'T use toluene, methyl ethyl ketone (MEK), benzene, 2-ethoxyethanol, or 2-nitropropane if at all possible. These compounds are listed hazardous wastes.
  4. Chlorinated solvent cleaners should be the last resort. These are typically all hazardous wastes.

Disposal of part washing wastes varies depending on the type of cleaner used and what has been cleaned off the parts. Certain parts washers are Hazardous Wastes when disposed while others are Industrial Wastes. Additionally, rags and wipes contaminated with certain degreasers are also considered Hazardous Waste. See the guidance below to determine the best method for disposal of the materials used.

Aqueous-based Part Washing Wastes

Typically involves;

  • Detergents and water
  • Aqueous solutions of acids or bases

Typically disposal recommendations are;

  • Detergent-based aqueous cleaning solutions are typically not hazardous wastes. Often they are releasable to the sanitary system with the approval of the Environmental and Waste Management Services Division (see the Liquid Effluents subject area). If they were used to clean gross amounts of oil and grease, they may require disposal as industrial wastes, unless it is contaminated with hazardous or radioactive materials in which case it should be managed accordingly. A secondary option to disposal as an Industrial waste is to contact your ECR to see if the waste can be disposed of through the Central Shops evaporator.
  • Aqueous solutions of acidic or basic cleansers are hazardous wastes IF the pH is less than or equal to 2.0 or greater than or equal to 12.5. You may neutralize the pH to 6-8 range, in which case the solution could be handled as an industrial waste, unless it is contaminated with hazardous or radioactive materials in which case it should be managed accordingly.

Solvent-based Part Washing

  • High flash point mineral spirit based cleaners (e.g., kerosene) should be collected for disposal as industrial waste, unless it is contaminated with hazardous or radioactive materials in which case it should be managed accordingly.
  • Non-Chlorinated solvent cleaners (e.g., ethanol, isopropanol) should be collected as hazardous waste due to ignitability. Rags and wipes contaminated with these solvents may be disposed in the trash PROVIDED THEY ARE DRY. Saturated rags/wipes should be collected and disposed as hazardous wastes.
  • Halogenated Solvents (e.g., freon, 1,1,1-Trichloroethane, perchloroethylene, etc.) must be disposed of as Hazardous Wastes. In addition, any rags or other items contaminated with the halogenated solvents must be disposed of as Hazardous Waste

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Drums

Empty drums from virgin products (which have a deposit fee) may be sent back to the manufacturer if:

  • the drum is kept in a secure location;
  • the user can certify that the drum is not contaminated with other product (i.e, no other materials were placed in the drum for short-term storage);
  • the drum was not stored in a “suspect area”; and
  • the drum  is not activated or contaminated with radioactivity

In order to be able to ship the drums back, the user will need approval and authorization from both PPM and EWMSD.  You may contact your ECR for more information.

Drums, which are not activated or contaminated with radioactivity, were not stored in a “suspect area” and did not contain hazardous constituents, may be sent to the clean metals scrap yard for recycling.  The user will need to provide PPM with a Process Knowledge Certification Form.

Drums, which are not activated or contaminated with radioactivity and did not contain hazardous constituents but were stored in a “suspect area”, may be sent to the suspect metals scrap yard.  The user will need to provide PPM with a Process Knowledge Certification Form.

Drums, which are activated or contaminated with radioactivity and/or contained hazardous materials, will need to be sent to the Environmental and Waste Management Services Division for disposal.   The user will need to provide Environmental and Waste Management Services Division with a Nonradioactive Waste Control Form and Process Knowledge Certification Form.

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Electrical Equipment

See also Computers and Related Equipment

Electrical equipment (e.g., motors, control panels, relays, switches, cables, meters, gauges, etc.) that is damaged, unusable, or has no intrinsic value may be disposed, salvaged, or recycled only when all hazardous material (e.g., asbestos, lead, oils, lead, PCBs, freon, mercury) has been removed from equipment and has been surveyed and certified as radiologically clean by the Radiological Controls Division.

Electrical equipment disposal may be subject to BNL sensitive and capital property management controls. The BNL Administrative Services Division’s Supply and Materiel Property Management Section is responsible for excessing or salvaging all non-hazardous material and equipment released by BNL organizations for disposal. Contact extension 2977 for information and instruction regarding property management controls for electrical equipment that may be bar-coded sensitive or capital equipment.

To dispose of non-hazardous electrical equipment, an Equipment Movement Request Form available from your department or division administrative office shall be completed and returned to the Property Management section located in Building 211.

Empty Chemical Containers

“Empty” means that the container has had as much of the material removed as possible via typical means (e.g. dumping, pouring, draining).

Empty chemical containers shall be reused to store, collect and dispose of waste chemical material.

If there is an overabundance of containers that require disposal, they shall be managed as follows:

  • Ensure containers are as empty as possible.
  • Empty containers must be dry prior to disposal. Allow empty chemical containers that formerly held liquid(s) to dry in a hood prior to disposal, especially for odorous substances.
    Note: Lab Glassware that cannot be fully emptied (e.g. Oils) must be managed as industrial or hazardous waste.
  • Triple rinse containers that held an acutely toxic substance preferably with a non-hazardous and chemically-compatible solvent (e.g. water) capable of removing the material from inside the container. Collect and dispose the rinse as hazardous waste.
    Note: Refer to RCRA “P” List for a listing of acutely hazardous chemicals that require triple rinsing prior to disposal. See your ECR or WMR for clarification.
  • Do not place chemical containers in recycling bins for beverage bottles (such as soda), located in hallways, lounges, or food areas. Only containers that held food may be placed in these recyclable containers.

Dispose based on type:

  • Non-glass (e.g. plastic, cardboard): dispose of in the general trash. 
  • Glass: dispose in dedicated lab glass bags (e.g. ECOLO-Bag or equivalent) or containers in your department. 
  • Metal: Dispose in scrap metal collection bins (NOT beverage can collection containers) or trash.

Contact the Building Manager for the nearest disposal location.

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Ethers

See Organic Peroxides and Peroxide Forming Compounds

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Ethidium Bromide Solutions & Gels

Ethidium bromide (EtBr; 2,7-diamino-10-ethyl-phenylphenanthridinium bromide, CAS #1239-45-8) is used routinely by molecular biologists in visualization of nucleic acids in gels.  Wastes contaminated with ethidium bromide are not regulated as a hazardous waste, however the mutagenic properties of this substance may present a hazard if it is poured down the drain untreated or is disposed in the trash. It is therefore BNL practice to collect EtBr wastes as Industrial wastes.

Electrophoresis gels contaminated with EtBr should be collected in a container with a lid and a green Non-hazardous waste label.  The material should be disposed as an Industrial Waste following the Industrial Waste subject area.

Solutions containing EtBr *should either be treated or collected for disposal as an industrial waste.   Treatment of EtBr is encouraged to reduce the amount of waste being disposed.  Appropriate gloves should be worn when working with EtBr.

*solutions refers to aqueous based non-hazardous solutions.

Treatment of Aqueous Solutions of EtBr:

There are several methods for treatment of aqueous solutions with EtBr waste.  BNL encourages the use of activated charcoal for decontamination and does not permit treatment methods that utilize bleach.

Method 1: Activated Charcoal**

  • Add 100 mg activated charcoal powder per 100 ml of solution to be decontaminated (dilute solutions ~0.5 ug/ml).
  • Store solution for a minimum of 1 hour at room temperature, with occasional shaking or overnight stirring.
  • Filter through Whatman No. 1 filter paper and discard the filtrate to the sanitary sewer system.
  • Seal the filter and charcoal in a plastic bag for disposal as an industrial waste following the Hazardous Waste Management subject area.  Multiple filters with charcoal may be stored in each bag.

**This information was taken from http://res2.agr.ca/winnipeg/decontam.htm (Winnipeg Cereal Research Center) and http://www.man.ac.uk/policies/68.htm (University of Manchester)

Method 2: Activated Carbon Kit

  • Purchase a gel destaining bag kit*
  • Drop the bag into the solution (usually overnight). Review manufacturer directions.   Typically each bag adsorbs 10 mg EtBr.
  • Occasionally shake or rotate solution.  Overnight stirring is acceptable.
  • Discard wastewater to sanitary sewer.
  • Collect bag for disposal as an industrial waste following the Hazardous Waste Management subject area.

*Some sources of destaining bag kits include:

  1. Scienceware Gel Destaining Bags (www.bel-art.com, 1-800-423-5278, F13555-0000)
  2. EtBr Green Bag Kit by Qbiogene (www.bio101.com)
  3. Thomas Scientific Gel Destaining Bags (4313L01)

Excess Equipment

Contact Supply and Material to dispose of excess equipment.

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Gasoline

Gasoline is characterized as Hazardous Waste due to ignitability. Collect waste gasoline in an appropriate container for transfer to Environmental and Waste Management Services Division. Complete the Nonradioactive Waste Control Form, label the container with a 'Hazardous Waste' label and move the container to the 90-Day Accumulation Area.

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Glass

Do not dispose of glass into the regular trash. Management depends on type:

  • Beverage containers - See “Bottles (Beverage)
  • Empty chemical bottles – See “Empty Chemical Containers"
  • Lab glassware (uncontaminated - beakers, Petrie dishes, etc.) – dispose of in dedicated lab glassware bags or containers. (e.g. ECOLO-Bag or equivalent)
  • Lab glassware (chemically contaminated) – manage as hazardous waste.
  • Lab Glassware that cannot be fully emptied (e.g. Oils) must be managed as Industrial or hazardous waste.
  • Broken glass

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Hazardous Wastes

Hazardous waste must be managed through, or in conjunction with, BNL’s Environmental and Waste Management Services Division. See the SBMS Hazardous Waste Management subject area for detailed guidance on the proper storage, identification, and documentation required prior to pick-up by Environmental and Waste Management Services Division.

In general, wastes are regulated hazardous wastes if they are listed in the regulations (40 CFR Part 261 Subpart D, Lists of Hazardous Waste) or exhibit one or more characteristics of hazardous waste (40 CFR Part 261 Subpart C, Characteristics of Hazardous Waste). Your Environmental Compliance Representative or Waste Management Representative has expertise in determining whether wastes are hazardous.

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Industrial Waste

The Industrial Waste subject area details the requirements when managing Industrial Waste.  Questions regarding Industrial Waste can also be forwarded to the Environmental and Waste Management Services Division.  Your Environmental Compliance Representative or your Waste Management Representative can help you identify common industrial wastes such as uncontaminated photographic developer and uncontaminated pump oil. Your ECR or WMR can also help identify potential industrial wastes that are good candidates for evaluation by the Environmental and Waste Management Services Division and help with the evaluation process.

Guidance pertaining to liquid Industrial Waste:

Liquid industrial waste may only be discharged to the sanitary system if it meets the requirements for discharge dictated by BNL’s SPDES Permit. See the Liquid Effluents subject area for more information.  All Requests for discharge to the sanitary system must be made on a Liquid Effluent Evaluation Form found in the Liquid Effluents subject area.

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Lead (metal)

Uncontaminated “clean” lead can be recycled through the Procurement and Property Management (PPM) Division.  The lead should be stored indoors to protect it from the elements.  Call PPM at ext. 4527 to make arrangements for pick up of the material.  Prior to pick up a completed Process Knowledge Certification form will be needed.

Contaminated lead (activated or radioactive) should be directed to the Environmental and Waste Management Services Division.

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Lead-Based Paint (LBP) & Debris

LBP and debris, depending on sample analysis data, most likely are considered a hazardous waste when no longer useable and/or have been scraped or removed from another substrate.

LBP and debris that exceeds the hazardous constituent threshold shall be identified, packaged, labeled, stored, and managed in accordance with the requirements contained in the BNL Standards Based Management System (SBMS) subject area entitled, Hazardous Waste Management

For additional information regarding LBP scraping, removal, and disposal contact the Plant Engineering Division (EP) Operations and Maintenance Section’s Building Maintenance and Services Group on extension 3981 or review/download EP’s internal web-based environmental safety and health procedure. Reference BNL hyperlink: http://epweb.pe.bnl.gov/Ep_Procedures/procedure/ep-es&h/ESH201g.DOC

and http://epweb.pe.bnl.gov/Ep_Procedures/procedure/ep-es&h/ESH201h.DOC

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Laser Dye Solvent Wastes

See Solvents

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Lighting Equipment (Bulbs & Lamps)

Fluorescent & Mercury-Containing (high mercury & green-tipped) lamps (Non-radioactive)

Fluorescent bulbs (high mercury/non-green-tip bulbs) must be managed as a “Universal Wastes” (see note below). Low Mercury type (green-tips) bulbs must NOT be disposed of in the trash. These bulbs can be handled as  “Universal Wastes” or, alternatively, as non-hazardous “Industrial Wastes” Refer to the Hazardous Waste Management subject area or the Industrial Waste subject area for more details. For info on mercury-containing consumer products, see “Mercury” section in this document.

Non-Fluorescent and non-mercury light bulbs, lamps and other light emitting devices  (Non-radioactive)

Evaluate the lights for hazardous constituents (lead, etc.). If no hazardous constituents are present, handle the bulbs/lamps/lights as solid waste. If hazardous constituents are present, handle them as hazardous wastes. Refer to the Hazardous Waste Management subject area for more details.

Radioactive light bulbs, lamps and other light emitting devices

Evaluate the lights for hazardous constituents (lead, mercury, etc.). If no hazardous constituents are present, segregate from all other waste types and handle the lights as radioactive waste [refer to the Radioactive Waste Management subject area for more detail]. If hazardous constituents are present, handle the lights as mixed waste [refer to the Mixed Waste Management subject area for more detail].

 NOTE: The New York State Department of Conservation regulations allow lamps containing hazardous constituents (e.g. lead, mercury, etc.) to be managed according to Universal Waste regulations. Management of the above wastes as Universal Waste allows for alternative management as compared to hazardous waste requirements so as to facilitate off-site recycling.  Storage containers for universal waste mercury lamps/bulbs must be:

  1. Labeled with “Universal Waste-Lamps">
  2. Marked with the type of Lamp (e.g. mercury, lead, etc.),
  3. Dated when the first lamp was added to the container,
  4. Closed at all times unless adding a Lamp

Generators must either submit a Nonradioactive Waste Control Form for the above bulbs within 6 months of the above accumulation start date to the Environmental and Waste Management Services Division. (EWMSD), or contact the Plant Engineering Waste Management Representative for transfer to the on-site, designated accumulation area.

Any broken mercury bulbs MUST NOT be handled as “Universal Wastes”. Broken bulbs MUST be handled as hazardous wastes.

Magazines

A recyclable material; dispose of in one of the blue plastic containers with the Town of Brookhaven "Community Recycling" label.

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Mercury

The following mercury-containing items MUST be either handled as "Universal Waste", "Hazardous Waste", non-hazardous "Industrial Waste", or be recycled (if no other use), but in no case can they be thrown into the normal municipal trash:

  1. Thermostats - handle as "Universal Waste";
  2. Batteries containing mercury - handle as "Universal Waste";
  3. Electronics equipment containing liquid mercury components - remove components before disposing and handle these as "Hazardous Waste" (Note: if being routed for reuse/donation, then removal is not necessary);
  4. Low-mercury/green-tipped fluorescent light bulbs - handle as “Universal Wastes”, non-hazardous "Industrial Waste" or recycle;
  5. Thermometers - handle as "Hazardous Wastes";
  6. Miscellaneous mercury-containing novelty items - handle as “Hazardous wastes” or recycle;
  7. Medical equipment (e.g. blood pressure sphygmomanometers) - remove liquid mercury components and handle mercury as "Hazardous Wastes". Associated glass and other components contaminated with mercury must be handled as "hazardous waste"

NYS has recently passed the “NYS Mercury-Containing Consumer Products Law” that prohibits the disposal of any mercury-containing item(s) into the normal municipal trash.

Any recycling and/or removal of mercury-containing items from specialized equipment requires adequate work planning and controls for personnel safety- see pertinent SBMS subject areas.

For additional information on the handling of Universal, Hazardous, and Industrial Wastes, see Hazardous Waste Management subject area or the Industrial Waste subject area for more details.

Low-mercury, green-tipped fluorescent light bulbs are currently managed through Plant Engineering. See EP’s Waste Management Representative (WMR) for additional information.

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Metal Chips & Turnings From Machining Operations

Routine metal chips or turnings from steel, stainless steel, aluminum, brass, and copper machining operations that do not contain hazardous material such as lead, cadmium, chromium, beryllium or uranium should be collected in containers at the point of generation. The metal should be disposed through the scrap metal program administered by the Administrative Services Division’s Supply and Materiel (S&M) Section. After accumulating machined chips and turnings, contact the S&M scrap metal coordinator on extension 7238 to arrange for the direct pick-up by a BNL scrap metal contractor at the point of generation and accumulation.

Note: All scrap metal originating from a BNL radiologically controlled area shall be surveyed and certified radiologically clean by the BNL Radiological Controls Division. All metal subsequently passes though the BNL truck portal monitor radiation detectors to ensure no release of radioactivity off-site.

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 Newspaper

A recyclable material; dispose of in one of the blue plastic containers with the Town of Brookhaven "Community Recycling" label.

Oils

Oils are typically characterized as "Industrial Waste". They should be placed in an appropriate container for transfer to Environmental and Waste Management Services Division. Complete the Nonradioactive Waste Control Form, label the container with a 'Non-Hazardous Waste' label and move the container to the 90-Day Accumulation Area.

Note: Some oils may contain PCBs. Common sources of PCB contaminated oil include old transformers and capacitors. Any oil that is not from a known source should be tested for PCB contamination before disposal. PCB contaminated oil is Hazardous Waste. Refer to the PCB Waste section of the Hazardous Waste Management subject area.

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Oil Changes from Personal Vehicles

If you change your own oil in your vehicle, you have a responsibility to properly manage the waste crankcase oil. Commercial service stations (including the on-site station) that perform oil changes are required by NYS law to accept up to five gallons of waste motor oil from the public at no cost. Additionally, many Town S.T.O.P. programs have waste oil collection tanks. The oil should be poured into a container labeled "Waste Oil" that can be sealed to prevent spillage during transport to the service station. Notify the service station personnel that you would like them to recycle your waste oil.

DO NOT just leave it without notifying them and DO NOT pour waste oil on the ground or into storm sewers.

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Oil Filters

Oil filters are typically characterized as "Industrial Waste". They should be drained of free flowing oil (collect oil) and placed in an appropriate container for transfer to Environmental and Waste Management Services Division. Complete the Nonradioactive Waste Control Form, label the container with a 'Non-Hazardous Waste' label and move the container to the 90-Day Accumulation Area.

The Staff Services Vehicle Maintenance Operation has an oil filter crusher that squeezes the residual oil out of filters and reduces the volume by a factor of four. They may accept drums of oil filters for crushing.

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Oily Rags (Non-rad)

Oily rags that are NOT contaminated with hazardous waste (e.g., lead, mercury, solvents), are "Industrial Waste" that cannot be disposed in the regular trash. They must be collected in an appropriate container and labeled with the 'Non-Hazardous Waste' lable (available from stock). Dispose of oily rags through the Environmental and Waste Management Services Division by completing a  Nonradioactive Waste Control Form  and placing the container in the 90-Day Accumulation Area for pick-up.

If the oily rags are contaminated with Hazardous Waste (e.g., chlorinated solvents, heavy metals, etc.) then the rags must be managed as Hazardous Waste. Collect the rags in a container in a Satellite Accumulation Area. Label the container with a Hazardous Waste Label and the words that describe the waste (e.g., "Chlorinated Solvent Contaminated Rags"). Keep the container closed at all times except when adding or removing waste. Dispose of  through the Environmental and Waste Management Services Division by completing a  Nonradioactive Waste Control Form  and placing the container in the 90-Day Accumulation Area for pick-up. See the Hazardous Waste Management subject area for details.

If the oily rags are contaminated with PCBs, they are subject to management as a Hazardous Waste.  See the PCB Waste Management section of the Hazardous Waste Management subject area.

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Office Furniture

Contact Supply and Material to dispose of excess equipment.

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Office Paper

A recyclable material; dispose of in one of the blue plastic containers with the Town of Brookhaven "Community Recycling" label.

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Office Waste (remnants of lunch, plastic wrappings, etc…)

Dispose of in the regular trash.

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Organic Peroxides & Peroxide Forming Compounds

Peroxidizable compounds, absorb and react with oxygen to form potentially explosive compounds with time. Exposure to air, heat and light accelerates these formations. Containers of organic peroxides should be checked for age, signs of evaporation, discoloration and crystal formation. If any of these conditions exist, please contact your FS Representative immediately. Procedures for handling Peroxidizable compounds are outlined below.

List of peroxidizable compounds – Standard 2.1.1, page 6.

Precautionary Measures to be followed when handling and stabilizing peroxide forming compounds:

  • Although the volume of chemicals in these labs is relatively small, even minor detonations can be very dangerous and can cause burns and serious injury from flying glass and debris.
  • If you are not familiar with handling these materials, contact the the Environmental and Waste Management Services Division, your FS Representative or your Environmental Compliance Representative.
  • If you are familiar with handling these materials, stabilize the material and move it to an isolated location.  Follow applicable IH procedures for handling these compounds, available in the Environmental Health and Safety Standard 2.1.1, pages 5 – 9. Contact the Environmental and Waste Management Services Division, or your FS Representative for advice on how to stabilize the material.

Once the material is stabilized, it should be managed as a hazardous waste, per the requirements in the Hazardous Waste Management subject area.

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Orphan Waste (waste with no identifiable owner)

Orphan wastes include materials with no known or anticipated use whose creator/generator cannot be identified or located to properly characterize the waste. To facilitate the proper disposal of such materials characterization data (physical, chemical, radiological) must be provided either through process knowledge, if available, or analysis. For such materials, contact should be made with the Environmental and Waste Management Services Division and/or Environmental Compliance Representative to try and determine the necessary analysis for proper characterization and the subsequent path for disposal.  Note: lack of a responsible individual  does not relieve BNL of the requirements for proper management. The Department or Division in possession of the waste is responsible for properly managing the material pending transfer to the Environmental and Waste Management Services Division.

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Paint

Containers of used or leftover water-based paint (WBP) can be left open to air dry then disposed through the municipal waste system (trash). Based on the quantity accumulated, it may be possible for BNL to donate unused WBP to external organizations. For information on donating unused WBP, contact the Environmental and Waste Management Services Division, your Environmental Compliance Representative or the Plant Engineering Division Operations and Maintenance Section’s Building Maintenance and Services Group on extension 3981.

Containers of used or leftover oil or lead-based paint (LBP) are considered a hazardous waste when no longer useable and shall be identified, packaged, labeled, stored, and managed in accordance with the requirements contained in the BNL Standards Based Management System (SBMS) subject area entitled, Hazardous Waste Management

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Paint Thinner

Containers of used or leftover paint thinner are considered a hazardous waste due to ignitability when no longer useable and shall be identified, packaged, labeled, stored, and managed in accordance with the requirements contained in the BNL Standards Based Management System (SBMS) subject area entitled Hazardous Waste Management Label the container with a Hazardous Waste label, keep the container closed. Complete a Nonradioactive Waste Control Form and move the container  to the 90-Day Accumulation Area.

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Paper

A recyclable material; dispose of in one of the blue plastic containers with the Town of Brookhaven "Community Recycling" label.

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PCB Equipment

Includes items such as transformers, large capacitors (> 3 lbs. or >100in3.), voltage/induction regulators, klystrons, hydraulic equipment, etc.

Non-radioactive PCB equipment - If the equipment  is currently listed on your facility’s PCB inventory, notify EWMSD with your intent to remove the transformer from service. Then, determine the PCB concentration of the dielectric fluid.  If the PCB concentration of the dielectric fluid is > 50 ppm PCB,  contact the Environmental and Waste Management Services Division and/or the PCB SME for additional guidance on treatment/disposal requirements (draining, solvent flushing for > 500 ppm, etc.) (reference 40 CFR 761.60). [refer to the Hazardous Waste subject area section on PCBs for more detail.] 

Radioactive PCB equipment - If the equipment is currently listed on your facility’s PCB inventory, notify EWMSD with your intent to remove the item from service. Then, determine the PCB concentration of the dielectric fluid. If the PCB concentration of the dielectric fluid is > 50 ppm PCB, then contact the Environmental and Waste Management Services Division and/or the PCB SME for additional guidance on draining l fluids, treating the transformer. Note: the fluids and equipment carcass are to be treated as mixed wastes [refer to the Mixed Waste Management subject area section on PCBs for more detail.]

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PCB Contaminated Oil & Debris

Defined as oil and debris containing PCBs and includes waste generated from the testing of PCB materials and empty containers once holding PCB materials.

Non-radioactive PCB oil (and other liquids) and debris - Determine the PCB concentration of the source of PCB contamination. If unable to determine the PCB concentration in the PCB source, test the materials for actual PCB concentration. Treat the materials as hazardous waste [refer to the Hazardous Waste Management subject area section on PCBs for more detail.]

Radioactive PCB oil (and other liquids) and debris - Determine the PCB concentration of the source of PCB contamination. If unable to determine the PCB concentration in the PCB source, test the materials for actual PCB concentration. Treat the materials as Mixed Waste [refer to the Mixed Waste Management subject area section on PCBs for more detail.]

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PCB Small Capacitors & Light Ballasts (Leaking / Non-Leaking)

  • Defined as a capacitor < 3lbs. (1.36 kg) in total weight or < 100 in3 (1,639 cm3)
  • NOTE: Treat all leaking small capacitors and leaking light ballasts as Large Capacitors.
  • Non-radioactive small capacitors
  • Refer to the Hazardous Waste Management subject area section on PCBs for more detail.]
  • Non-radioactive light ballasts
  • Suspect or known PCB light ballasts are categorized as PCB Bulk Product Waste due to PCBs in the tar-like potting material.
  • Radioactive small capacitors and light ballasts
  • Contact the Environmental and Waste Management Services Division for additional details. 

Perchloric Acid

See Organic Peroxides and Peroxide Forming Compounds

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Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

PPE is used routinely for a wide variety of operations. It includes disposable gloves, boot protectors, and tyvek suits to name a few. The following is general guidance to manage disposable PPE. If your specific PPE does not match this guidance please contact your ECR or WMR for further instruction. It should be noted that some PPE such as respirators may be managed in accordance with site specific health and safety plans, work plans and standard operating procedures. These plans/procedures take precedence over this guidance.

Non-Contaminated PPE (Non-RAD, Non-Hazardous, Non-Industrial) - Personnel Protective Equipment (tyvek suits, gloves, etc) that is not contaminated with radioactive material, hazardous or industrial wastes, or OSHA regulated materials in excess of permissible exposure limits (PEL’s) may be disposed of as municipal trash. In some cases analytical tests are performed to prove certain PPE non-contaminated, however, this is not necessary if sufficient generator knowledge and/or supporting data exist.

RAD Contaminated PPE - All PPE contaminated with radioactive material shall be disposed of as compactible LLRW in accordance with the SBMS Radioactive Waste Management subject area

Mixed Waste Contaminated PPE - All PPE contaminated with mixed waste shall be disposed of in accordance with the SBMS Mixed Waste Management subject area

Hazardous/Industrial Contaminated PPE - All PPE contaminated with hazardous or industrial waste shall be disposed of in accordance with the SBMS Hazardous Waste Management subject area. This includes PPE contaminated in excess of OSHA permissible exposure limits.

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Phone Books

A recyclable material; dispose of in one of the blue plastic containers with the Town of Brookhaven "Community Recycling" label.

 

Photographic Wastes

 Spent stop bath and spent developing solution must be handled as industrial wastes due to organic content as per the requirements described in the Standards Based Management System (SBMS) Industrial Waste Subject Area. 

 Spent fixer and spent static rinse are RCRA hazardous liquid wastes due to silver content and are handled as hazardous wastes in accordance with the SBMS Hazardous Waste Management Subject Area.  These wastes must be stored in separate containers near their point of generation in the Satellite Accumulation Area (SAA) until ready for transfer to the 90-day Hazardous Waste Storage Area. 

Dynamic rinse is a running rinse and may be acceptable for discharge directly to the sanitary system based on completion of a Liquid Effluent Evaluation Form in accordance with the SBMS Liquid Effluents Subject Area and subsequent approval given by the Subject Matter Expert from the Environmental and Waste Management Services Division

 

 

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Printed Circuit Boards (with or without attached components)

This guidance applies only to printed circuit boards and does not apply to equipment containing printed circuit boards.

Most printed circuit boards are known to exhibit the characteristics of a hazardous waste, because of the lead content of solder, and because of the possible toxic metal content of other electrical components on the board1. However, if printed circuit boards are collected for recycling, they do not need to be managed as a hazardous waste.

Note: Boards that do not contain toxic metals1 or have attached electrical components, such as the nickel/tin boards produced by the Printed Circuit Board Shop in Instrumentation, are not RCRA Hazardous Waste. Recycling of these boards is encouraged if the boards have scrap value; otherwise, these boards can be deposited into the regular trash.

How Best to Manage Printed Circuit Boards

  • Boards without electrical components - Bare printed circuit boards (no electrical components) may be collected in metal chip bins for recycling, including boards that contain lead solder. Collection for recycling eliminates the need to manage them as hazardous waste. If they are not collected for recycling, then they must be managed as hazardous waste unless they do not contain lead solder, in which case they may be recycled or disposed in the regular trash.
  • Boards with electrical components - Certain electrical components on printed circuit boards contain toxic metals (mercury switches, mercury relays, nickel-cadmium batteries and lithium batteries2). Boards with these components must be managed as Hazardous Waste unless all toxic components are removed. Removed toxic components must then be managed as hazardous waste in accordance with the Hazardous Waste Management subject area.  Boards with non-toxic components (resistors, etc) may be managed like boards without components.

How Not to Manage Printed Circuit Boards

Since printed circuit boards containing lead solder and/or toxic electrical components1 are a considered hazardous waste, they must not be discarded into the regular trash.

Questions? Contact your Environmental Compliance Representative or Waste Management Representative.


1 The boards exhibit the RCRA Characteristic of Toxicity due to the presence of one or more of the 8 RCRA toxic metals (Arsenic, Barium, Cadmium, Chromium, Lead, Mercury, Selenium, and Silver).

2 Lithium is a hazardous waste because it exhibits the RCRA characteristic of reactivity.

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Printer Toner Cartridges

Place used cartridge in the package from the new cartridge. Follow any handling precautions listed on the package. Call ext. 7238 (Procurement & Property Management- "PPM") and request pick-up OR label the package "T-89 Shipping" and place the package at the PPM dropoff/pickup area in your building.

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Rad Contaminated or Activated Containers

Rad contaminated or activated containers shall be accumulated, stored, labeled and disposed of per requirements described in the BNL Standards Based Management System subject area entitled Radioactive Waste Management.

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Radioactive Sources

Radioactive source(s) receipt, use, storage, and disposal are subject to the general requirements enumerated in the BNL Radiological Control Manual, Chapter 4 entitled Radiological Records, Part 3 - Radioactive Source Controls and Part 4 - Solid Radioactive Waste Management.

Prior to a disposal request, the owner, user, or custodian of a radioactive source should determine if the source has any intrinsic value such that it may be re-usable by another BNL organization within or outside department or division, or perhaps another external facility affiliated with BNL or DOE. Consult with the BNL Radiological Controls Division for potential transfer of source ownership and accountability. Consult with the Safeguards and Security Division’s Isotopes and Special Materials if the source contains an accountable nuclear material (e.g., plutonium, americium, curium, californium) since these sources have intrinsic value and can be stored for future use.

If the source has been determined to be damaged, unusable, or has no value it may be declared waste. First, the source custodian shall contact their Facility Support Representative (FS Rep) to arrange for a radiological survey and leak check if applicable. After radiological survey, the owner, user, or custodian shall package, mark, label, and appropriately store waste in an approved area and complete a Radioactive Waste Control Form (RWCF) in consult with your FS Rep. Return completed RWCF to the the Environmental and Waste Management Services Division Generator Services Section in Building 860.

Radioactive waste shall be identified, packaged, labeled, stored, and managed in accordance with the requirements contained in the BNL Standards Based Management System subject area entitled, Radioactive Waste Management.

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Scintillation Cocktails

Scintillation cocktails not spiked with a radioactive isotope but considered a hazardous (toluene or cumene based) or an industrial waste (Ultima gold type) shall be identified, packaged, labeled, stored, and managed in accordance with the requirements contained in the BNL Standards Based Management System (SBMS) subject area entitled Hazardous Waste Management Label the container with a red Hazardous Waste or a green Non-Hazardous Waste label, keep the container closed. Complete a Nonradioactive Waste Control Form and move the container to the 90-Day Accumulation Area.  These cocktails are usually in their original containers and if in good condition need no other packaging.  Due to higher treatment and disposal costs, it is recommended that cocktail solution in small vials and containers equaling a liter or less be separated from the vial and placed in accepted waste packages.  If the liquids cannot be separated from the container due to time, cost, or other reason, refer to the packaging requirements given below.

Scintillation cocktails spiked with a radioactive isotope or that contain a radioactive analyte shall be identified, packaged, labeled, stored, and managed in accordance with the requirements contained in the BNL Standards Based Management System (SBMS) subject area entitled Radioactive Waste Management If hazardous constituents are present in addition to radioactive constituents, treat the scintillation cocktail as mixed waste [refer to the Mixed Waste Management subject area for more detail]. Due to higher treatment and disposal costs, it is recommended that cocktail solution in small vials and containers equaling a liter or less be separated from the vial and placed in accepted waste packages.  If the liquids cannot be separated from the container due to time, cost, or other reason, refer to the packaging requirements given below.

Scintillation cocktails with short Half-Life Radioactive Wastes are defined at BNL as wastes contaminated with radionuclides having a half-live LESS THAN 90 DAYS (list of eligible isotopes). Wastes contaminated with short half-life radionuclides may be treated by DECAY-IN-STORAGE (DIS) by storage for a minimum of 10 HALF-LIVES.  Decayed wastes may then be disposed by other approved means depending on the other characteristics of the waste.

If time and space does not permit the proper draining of scintillation cocktails the following containers shall be used:

  • For large articles and large volumes of scintillation cocktail vials and containers, use a 55-gallon, open-top, steel drum (BNL Stock # K-60643)
  • For smaller articles, use a 5-gallon poly bucket (BNL Stock #K-60632)

Note: For cocktails not separated from containers, Departments/Divisions maybe charged back a possible 20% differential to cover additional costs incurred.

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Short Half-Life Radioactive Wastes

Wastes contaminated with Short Half-Life Radioactive Wastes may be managed as Radioactive Waste (see the Radioactive Waste Management subject area). Alternatively, they may be treated by Decay-in-Storage (DIS).

Short Half-Life Radioactive Wastes are defined at BNL as wastes contaminated with radionuclides having a half-live LESS THAN 90 DAYS (list of eligible isotopes). Wastes contaminated with short half-life radionuclides may be treated by DECAY-IN-STORAGE (DIS) by storage for a minimum of 10 HALF-LIVES. Decayed wastes may then be disposed of via legally authorized municipal, recycling, medical, or hazardous waste disposal methods, depending on the other characteristics of the waste.

The following must be done to use DIS as a treatment method;

  • Segregate the waste by isotope at the point of generation.
  • Label the package with the isotope, activity, half-life, date of last addition of waste and date of the ten half-life decay period.
  • Store the waste for a minimum of 10 half-lives.
  • At the end of the 10 half-life decay period and prior to disposal, the waste package must surveyed for release from the radioactive area and must be indistinguishable from background.
  • All radioactive labels and markings must be removed prior to disposal as non-radioactive waste.
  • Retain a record of disposal, including the date of disposal, the date the waste was placed in storage, the radionuclide disposed, the individual that disposed of the material, and the details of the survey including the instrument used, the background dose rate, and the dose rate measured at the surface of the container.

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Solder Wastes

Waste solder from electronics repair and assembly operations is typically composed of tin/lead or tin/silver solder. Waste solder should be collected in a container labeled "Solder Scrap for Recycling". A single container located in the vicinity of the soldering operations should suffice. When solder stations are cleaned, waste solder should be emptied to the labeled container. When the container is full, it can be taken to Central Shops Division, where it will be sent offsite for recycling. Contact Jerry Quigley Ext. 4527 to make arrangements to bring it to Central Shops.

IF solder wastes are NOT recycled, then they must be managed as Hazardous Wastes due to lead or silver content. A single Satellite Accumulation Area located in the vicinity of the soldering operations should suffice. The container must be labeled with a Hazardous Waste label, including a description of the contents, and must be maintained closed except when adding or removing waste. When full complete a Non-radioactive Waste Control Form and move the container to the 90-Day Accumulation Area for pick up by Waste Management.

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Solvents

I. Disposal via the Environmental and Waste Management Services Division

All solvents shall be accumulated, stored, labeled and disposed of as a hazardous waste per the requirements described in the BNL Standards Based Management System subject area entitled Hazardous Waste Management.

Not all solvents are hazardous wastes, but should be managed as such unless a specific determination has been made by the Environmental and Waste Management Services Division (EWMSD) that your waste is non-hazardous. Contact EWMSD for a determination or your Environmental Compliance Representative for help in identifying which streams may potentially be non-hazardous.

Unused chemicals that have not expired can be made available to the laboratory community for use via the Chemical Management System’s "Chemical Exchange" program.

II. Solvent waste storage issues:

Flammable solvent waste (flashpoint £ 140 oF) is incompatible with ammonium nitrate, chromic acid, hydrogen peroxide, nitric acid, sodium peroxide, and the halogens and should not be stored with these materials.

Refer to the exhibit in the Hazardous Waste subject area titled "Examples of Incompatible Chemicals" for additional guidance regarding incompatible chemicals that should not be stored together.

Questions? Contact your Environmental Compliance Representative or Waste Management Representative.

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Solvent Contaminated Rags/Wipes

Disposal of rags contaminated with solvents depends on what solvents are on the rag and whether the rag is dry.

Rags contaminated with the following Chlorinated Solvents must be managed as Hazardous Waste regardless of whether they are dry or not. (Tetrachloroethylene, trichloroethylene, methylene chloride, 1,1,1-trichoroethane, carbon tetrachloride, all chlorinated fluorocarbons...Freons, chlorobenzene,  1,1,2-trichloro-1,2,2-trifluoroethane, ortho-dichlorobenzene, trichlorofluoromethane, and 1,1,2-trichloroethane). Package the rags in a plastic bag or container, seal it and label it with a red/white Hazardous Waste label with the description "Chlorinated Solvent Rags". Complete the Nonradioactive Waste Control Form and send to the the Environmental and Waste Management Services Division.

Rags contaminated with the following Non-Chlorinated Solvents must also be managed as Hazardous Waste regardless of whether they are dry. (Toluene, methyl ethyl ketone, carbon disulfide, isobutanol, pyridine, benzene, 2-ethoxyethanol, 2-nitropropane, cresols, cresylic acid, and nitrobenzene)

Rags contaminated with most other solvents (e.g., xylene, acetone, ethyl acetate, ethyl benzene, ethyl ether, methyl isobutyl ketone, n-butyl alcohol, cyclohexanone, ethanol, and methanol) can be disposed of in the trash or as Industrial Wastes IF THEY ARE DRY. NOTE: It is not permissible to purposefully air dry rags for disposal purposes. Disposal as trash or industrial waste is intended for rags that have minimal solvent on them and dry in the course of being used. If the rags are saturated and dripping they must be disposed as ignitable hazardous waste.

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Toner Cartridges

Place used cartridge in the package from the new cartridge. Follow any handling precautions listed on the package. Call ext. 7238 (Procurement & Property Management- "PPM") and request pick-up OR label the package "T-89 Shipping" and place the package at the PPM dropoff/pickup area in your building.

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Tritium Exit Signs

Handling of EXIT Signs Containing TRITIUM

In the mid 1980s, the Laboratory installed exit signs containing tritium at many locations throughout the site. Under normal conditions, these signs pose no health impacts to the occupants of the building even though they contain up to 25 curies of tritium. These signs have a useful life of about 10 years and are now being cycled out of service.

While normally not an ES&H concern, there are some precautions regarding the handling of these signs that building occupants and plant maintenance personnel should know.

  • When the signs are removed from service, they are to be returned to their manufacturer for disposal.
  • Tritium exit signs may not be disposed of in the sanitary trash or radioactive waste disposal systems.
  • A broken tritium exit sign has the potential to result in localized contamination and potential radiation dose to people in the near vicinity of the breakage.

Anyone observing that a sign has fallen from a wall or ceiling mounting or has been broken in any fashion should immediately contact a member of the Facilities Support staff for your area or Bob Miltenberger, Ext. 2503 or pager 554-1967. If you don't know whom to call or can't get a response, please call Ext. 911 or Ext. 2222 and report the breakage of the sign to a member of the Safeguards and Security Division. The call will be treated as a spill response and knowledgeable staff will be contacted to respond to the scene.

Unknown Chemical Substances

Unknowns must be characterized chemically and radiologically to be properly disposed. Try to contact any and all personnel that may have knowledge of the material to record 'process knowledge'. Was the material radiologically contaminated (what isotope) or activated? Is it ignitable, reactive, toxic or corrosive?

Without adequate process knowledge, unknowns will typically require gamma spectroscopy and gross alpha/beta analysis to determine radiological characteristics. Contact Waste Management or your Environmental Compliance Representative to determine chemical analysis that may be required.

Label, label, label! That's the way to avoid creating or discovering unknowns.

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Unused Laboratory Chemicals

Every effort should be made to find a use for unused lab chemicals prior to disposal. List the chemicals on the BNL Chemical Exchange to make them available to other BNL users. Contact your Environmental Compliance Representative to see if they known of other potential users on or off-site.

If you have exhausted reuse or recycling options, unused chemicals can be disposed through the Waste Management Division. If you have a single bottle or just a few, process them in accordance with the Hazardous Waste Management subject area. If you have numerous chemicals, contact the Environmental and Waste Management Services Division and request a Lab Clean-Out.

Pollution Prevention Home | EWMS Home

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Last Modified: December 13, 2012
Please forward all questions about this site to: Karen Ratel


DOE, Office of Science One of ten national laboratories overseen and primarily funded by the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Brookhaven National Laboratory conducts research in the physical, biomedical, and environmental sciences, as well as in energy technologies and national security. Brookhaven Lab also builds and operates major scientific facilities available to university, industry and government researchers. Brookhaven is operated and managed for DOE's Office of Science by Brookhaven Science Associates, a limited-liability company founded by the Research Foundation for the State University of New York on behalf of Stony Brook University, the largest academic user of Laboratory facilities, and Battelle, a nonprofit, applied science and technology organization.

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