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Laboratory Safety & Environmental Programs

Hazardous Waste Minimization Program

As a generator of hazardous waste, Rutgers University is required by the Environmental Protection Agency to implement waste minimization techniques. The goal is to reduce the volume and/or the toxicity of hazardous waste generated. Please read the information below on the specific types waste minimization.


Chemical Reuse
Unused and unopened chemicals being disposed of as waste, due to a change in research or discontinuation of a specific research protocol, will be redistributed to other laboratories that can utilize the chemical. Sharing unused chemicals will reduce the amount of chemical waste generated. Specific applicable chemicals (typically stable compounds with a long shelf life) will be picked up by REHS and segregated in the ESB. These chemicals are cataloged on a list, which is available on our web page (See link below). The Environmental Services Group will deliver the chemical(s) to your laboratory. Chemicals being redistributed will be tracked on a spreadsheet by REHS.

Microscale chemistry is a pollution prevention method that decreases the amount of chemical waste generated during laboratory experiments. This concept was first introduced by chemistry professors at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine. Standard chemistry procedures are re-written for individual experiments and specialized microscale equipment is utilized to perform the work. In some cases, the
amount of a particular chemical needed for an experiment has been decreased by as much as 99 percent.

Microscaling has the following benefits:

  • Reduce chemical waste produced at the source.
  • Improve laboratory safety by decreasing potential exposure to chemicals and reducing fire and explosion hazards.
  • Improve air quality due to greatly reduced volumes of solvents and other volatile substances used.
  • Reduce laboratory costs for chemical purchase and disposal.
  • Reduce the time required to perform experiments due to shorter chemical reaction times.
  • Decrease the amount of storage space necessary for chemicals.
  • Encourage students to think about waste minimization.
  • Decrease disposal costs for the University
  • Increase environmental awareness for the University

Inventory Control

Each laboratory is encouraged to maintain an appropriate inventory of chemicals in their laboratory as a method to reduce unnecessary purchase and disposal. The following methods can reduce the amount of chemicals in a laboratory and minimize waste generated from expired or unwanted excess chemicals:

  • Check your laboratory inventory and the REHS chemical redistribution list before ordering.
  • Purchase smaller containers of chemicals or fewer containers of chemicals.
  • Avoid purchasing larger quantities of chemicals to save on raw material costs. (Chemical disposal costs are often much higher than the initial purchase cost.)
  • Do not accept icfreeló samples from chemical manufacturers, unless you are certain that you will be using the materials. (Again, chemical disposal costs are often much higher than the initial purchase cost.)
  • Rotate stock of chemicals in the laboratory to ensure the older chemicals are used before the newer chemicals.

Substitution of Less Hazardous Chemicals

In some instances, chemicals that are more environmentally friendly may be substituted for traditionally used chemicals.

Propylene glycol
instead of
Ethylene glycol
Ethyl alcohol
instead of
Methyl alcohol
Alcohol thermometers
instead of
Mercury thermometers
Alconox, Pierce RBS35 and Nochromix
instead of
Chromic acid cleaning solutions
Detergent and hot water
instead of
Organic solvent cleaning solutions

This Hazardous waste policy is designed to provide guidance for everyone at Rutgers University regarding the proper disposal of hazardous waste.



Materials Available for Reuse / Redistribution List (pdf)



Please direct all questions to or call (732) 445 - 2550

For more information, contact webmaster Last Updated:8/06/07
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