Hazardous Waste Procedure

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 and collected every time it is generated. If you are going to generate hazardous waste in your lab, you are required to set up an accumulation area for collection and to management it in compliance with all Maine DEP and Federal EPA regulations. If you need help, feel free to contact us.

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 the Office of Environmental Health and Safety (EHS).

Waste Accumulation Rules

Follow the below Hazardous Waste Accumulation Rules. Violations of these rules can cost the University 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 with the UNE Hazardous Waste label.
  3. Leave some head space 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.

See the online Hazardous Waste Training module through Blackboard which covers hazardous waste definitions, labeling, storage and disposal and should take only 10 to 20 minutes to complete.

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 to achieve this goal:

  • Only purchase the amount of a chemical that you are going to use — avoid ordering in bulk.
  • Take 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.
  • Recycle glassware and equipment items as often as you can. 
  • Donate lab items in good working order to local schools or organizations.
  • Substitute 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 have a large volume of chemical waste, here are some guidelines.

  • If you think you will have more than 100 containers of waste, contact EHS to arrange for a cleanout appointment at least one month in advance of your move.
  • Contact 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:

  1. The location of the waste
  2. The quantity and type of waste
  3. Any details you feel are important for us to know

Tips for Chemical Waste Generators

  1. All persons handling waste have documented hazardous waste training. (Training is available online through Blackboard. Please see our Safety Training webpage).
  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, and are 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. Contact EHS if you need a weekly inspection log (PDF) form or see our Forms webpage.
  11. Contact EHS with questions regarding hazardous waste and to request hazardous waste pick-ups.

hazardous waste compliance inspections

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

EHS conducts regular Laboratory Safety Inspections. 

  • 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 contact lists posted near a telephone
  • Spill kits

Hazardous Waste Label

Hazardous Waste labels are available from EHS.