Environmental Health & Safety Compliance Blog

EH&S Tips: Quick Green Moments

Posted by Rebecca McDaniel on Mar 29, 2010 4:15:00 PM

By Greg Rosinski, Chemist II

A vast majority of society has made a committed move towards "Green Existence". Helpful tips to remember or that should be posted in offices or homes to help save energy and emissions are the following:

  • Make sure to turn off your computer at the end of a work day. This helps to reduce energy consumption, save money, decreases the effects on global warming, and move towards personal stewardship of natural resources used to keep a computer on.
  • A laboratory containing a Variable Air Volume (VAV) Fume hood should instruct lab personnel to make sure they completely shut the fume at the end of each use. Leaving a VAV fume hood open causes the air exhausted into the fume hood to leave the fume hood increasing the amount of energy used, money wasted, and impact on natural resources. Closing just one VAV fume hood in a laboratory after every use over the course of a year results in an energy saving approximately the same as the energy used by 3 houses in a year. 
  • Laboratory personnel should move towards using washable containers for lab use. Even though most plastic equipment is recyclable it still creates wasted energy to recycle the material. To help preserve the natural resources used in recycling simply use glass beakers, measuring devices, and other lab equipment. This applies to eating meals at work as well. Bring in containers from home that can be washed or use washable dishware from the cafeteria. 
  • Try to remember the impact of wasted water, electricity, or gas on the environment when working in laboratory. The earth is already experiencing shortages in the majority of natural resources, and most of our time in life is spent at work. That is why we must make a committed decision to decreasing unused natural resources on a daily basis.

All though there are other areas to help move towards a "Green Existence" the above topics are several helpful tips. These tips should be post in work places or circulated throughout the workplace to increase general awareness.

Tags: Environment

Disposal of Laboratory Waste: Tips for Labeling

Posted by Rebecca McDaniel on Oct 26, 2009 8:32:00 AM

By Kate Carpenter, TRS, Triumvirate Environmental Somerville

One of the most common deficiencies identified during lab inspections are related to container labeling.  Whether it is an environmental agency or the local Fire Department auditing you, they will want chemicals properly identified and the implications of this are very important for maintaining safety and compliance and also for avoiding fines.  Having all containers of virgin chemicals labeled so they are easily identified is important, but there are even stricter regulations for managing hazardous waste containers.

When labeling waste, there are specific requirements you must follow depending upon what state you are in.  In Massachusetts, any hazardous waste accumulating in a Satellite Accumulation Area must be labeled with a hazardous waste label with the full chemical names written (no abbreviations), and have the hazards identified (ignitable, corrosive, toxic or reactive).   When the container is full and it is brought into the Main Accumulation Area, there must be a date added onto the label.  The date is important for tracking how long the waste has accumulated on-site (to ensure compliance with maximum accumulation time requirements).   Since hazardous waste container labeling rules vary significantly from state to state, it is important to check your specific state hazardous waste regulations, or check with your friendly environmental advisor!

Tags: Environment, Inspections, Hazardous Waste Regulations