One of the primary goals of the 1976 Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) was to reduce the generation of hazardous waste. In recent years, the EPA has placed greater emphasis on hazardous waste minimization and there is reason to believe that activities in this area will intensify in the future. More importantly, however, it is sound practice to manage resources properly.
EH&S has prepared a Waste Minimization Program that shows NMSU's efforts to minimize hazardous waste. Refer to the following for information on source reduction and recycling opportunities that are available to laboratories and other work areas.
Waste minimization offers numerous advantages: it conserves the use of chemicals, provides cost savings (both in the purchase and the disposal of chemicals), reduces the chemical burden in landfills, promotes a cleaner environment and enhances the safety and health of people. EH&S encourages all generators of hazardous waste to actively engage in waste minimization activities and to exercise prudence in handling all hazardous materials.
EH&S operates a chemical redistribution or "recycling" program as a contribution to the general waste minimization effort. EH&S periodically generates a list of chemicals that have been picked up in good condition and can be used again. In many cases, these chemicals are still sealed in the original packaging. Laboratories can request these chemicals for no cost on a first-come first-served basis.
All departments operating laboratories or generating hazardous waste must train their laboratory personnel on the proper handling of hazardous waste and waste minimization strategies. New faculty, staff and graduate students in these departments should be trained in these areas as part of their orientation process.
Basic training on chemical safety (Hazard Communication Standard) is the minium requirement for working with chemicals and before taking the Hazardous Waste Management class. Depending on the situation, training on Lab Standard, Radiation Safety and/or Bloodborne Pathogens may also be required. EH&S is available to offer assistance and training, but ultimately the department is responsible for proper accumulation of the hazardous materials.