Northwestern Office for Research


Chemical Waste Minimization

Waste minimization

The Environmental Protection Agency's policy for hazardous waste management places the highest priority on waste minimization. Under current environmental laws, the University must certify that it has a waste minimization program in place. In addition, the University must annually report to the government on efforts it has made to reduce hazardous wastes.

Waste minimization as defined by the EPA means a reduction in both the volume and physical hazards or toxicity of the material. The benefits of waste minimization include reduced disposal costs, decreased liability, improved working conditions, and less impact on the environment at the time of disposal.

The waste minimization policy at the University requires investigators to make every effort to minimize the volume or toxicity of their waste. Substitutions can be made to eliminate or reduce the amount of hazardous components. The last step of an experimental procedure can include treatment to reduce the toxicity of experimental by-products. Experimental procedures can also be altered to reduce wastes. Finally, but most importantly, improved laboratory management can result in waste minimization.

It is the responsibility of every investigator who generates waste to incorporate the principles of waste minimization into experimental design. ORS offers lists of specific methods for reducing waste and can help evaluate procedures for potential waste minimization benefits.

Sanitary sewer or ordinary refuse disposal

It is a violation of both safety and environmental regulations to pour hazardous chemicals down the drain.

ORS collects all chemical waste - hazardous and non-hazardous - for disposal.

Northwestern University   

Research Home  |

Office for Research - 633 Clark Street, Evanston, IL 60208-1108

The Office for Research promotes, facilitates, and enhances research at Northwestern University.

© 2016 Northwestern University

Northwestern Home | University Policy Statements