Hazardous Waste

UNE generates much of its hazardous waste in laboratories from both undergraduate and research labs. Most of this waste is generated gradually in small amounts at a time and collected every time it is generated. If you will be generating hazardous waste in your lab, you are required to set up an accumulation area for collection and to manage it in compliance with all Maine DEP and Federal EPA regulations. If you need help, please refer to this page and feel free to contact EHS.

What is Hazardous Waste?

Chemicals that are corrosive, flammable, toxic or explosive are hazardous. Some additional chemicals are handled as hazardous waste because they are carcinogenic, persistent in the environment or are not allowed in the trash because they generate dusts.

If you are unwilling or unable to determine if your chemical or chemical mixture is hazardous, contact EHS.

Waste Accumulation Rules

The following hazardous waste accumulation rules must be followed. Violations of these rules can cost UNE money and may be unsafe.

  1. Accumulate waste in a compatible container with a screw top lid. Containers that were designed for solid chemicals should not be used for liquids.
  2. Label all containers with a completed and secure UNE Hazardous Waste label.
  3. Leave some headspace in the container for temperature and vapor pressure changes.
  4. Store waste in secondary containment to avoid spills into sinks and floor drains.
  5. Make sure the waste accumulation location is under your control (i.e.: not in hallways).
  6. Stay under maximum accumulation limits (54 gallons for most chemical waste, 1 quart for acutely hazardous waste).
  7. Do not accumulate the same type of waste into two containers at the same time.

If your waste is accumulated improperly, we will discuss the problem with you if you are present. We will not pick up your waste until the problem has been corrected. If you have any questions, please contact EHS.

Waste Minimization

UNE is constantly trying to minimize the waste that it generates in an effort to better the environment and decrease the cost of waste disposal. There are several ways you can help us achieve this goal, including:

  • Only purchasing the amount of a chemical that you are going to use. Avoid ordering in bulk.
  • Taking advantage of the UNE Chemical Sharing Program by listing chemicals in EHS Lab Chatter that are no longer needed but may be utilized by other labs.
  • Recycling glassware and equipment items as often as you can. 
  • Donating lab items in good working order to local schools or organizations.
  • Substituting chemicals that are considered hazardous waste with safer chemicals that can be disposed of through other channels.

If you would like to learn more about waste minimization please contact EHS or Sustainability for assistance.

Chemical Cleanouts

If you are relocating or cleaning out your workplace and you have a large volume of chemical waste, here are some guidelines.

  • If you think you will have more than 100 containers of waste, call EHS to arrange for a cleanout appointment at least one month in advance of your move.
  • Email EHS with a list of the substances that are being discarded or relocated. Any waste not in its original container must have a completed UNE Hazardous Waste label.
  • Consider chemical exchange for your unwanted but useable chemicals (unexpired and preferably unopened, unless it is a commonly used chemical) through the UNE Chemical Sharing Program. EHS can help with this.
  • Remember to update your chemical inventory in Vertere or have EHS assist you with the updates.

Hazardous Waste Pick-ups

Please email the EHS staff for waste collection. Please indicate:

  • The location of the waste
  • The quantity and type of waste
  • Any details you feel are important for us to know

Guidelines for Chemical Waste Generators

  1. All persons handling waste must have documented hazardous waste training. (Training is available online through Blackboard. Please see the “Training” portion of the EHS website).
  2. Wastes must be accumulated in compatible, leak-proof containers with tight-fitting lids.
  3. Liquid waste must be accumulated in secondary containment away from floor drains or sinks.
  4. Incompatible wastes must be separate from each other so that no mixing is possible.
  5. Waste containers must be closed with a properly fitting lid or cap except when adding waste. (Don’t leave a funnel in the container unless it has a spring-loaded lid).
  6. Waste must be generated in stored under the control of the operator. (Don’t store waste in hallways or in other public areas)
  7. A UNE Hazardous Waste Label must be affixed to each waste container, with the contents clearly listed and chemical hazards identified on the label with no abbreviations.
  8. There must be less than 55 gallons per waste type or less than 1 quart of acutely hazardous waste.
  9. You must dispose of outdated and unneeded chemicals as hazardous waste.
  10. You are required to conduct weekly Satellite Accumulation Area (SAA) inspections if you are managing waste on the Biddeford campus. Download the weekly inspection log or contact EHS for a copy.
  11. Email EHS with questions regarding hazardous waste and to request hazardous waste pick-ups.

Who Inspects Us and Why?

The Maine Department of Environmental Protection (MDEP) and EPA conduct hazardous waste compliance inspections. The inspectors may enter any lab, shop or other facility that uses hazardous materials to audit hazardous waste management practices in that facility.

What Inspectors Look for

The inspector will enter your facility and ask for the person in charge of waste management. This person should be trained and familiar with hazardous waste management practices at that location. The inspector will want to see where waste is generated/collected/accumulated.

In addition to the items in this list, the inspector will ask:

  • Are the workers in the area familiar with hazardous waste accumulation procedures?
  • Do you pour any hazardous waste down the drain? Is it authorized?
  • Have workers been trained in hazardous waste management.

The inspector will also check for:

  • Eyewashes
  • Fire Extinguishers
  • Emergency Communication devices (pull alarm, telephone, horn, etc.)
  • Emergency contacts lists posted near a telephone
  • Spill kits

Hazardous Waste Label

Hazardous Waste labels are available from EHS.