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Case Study

Bulking Solid Non-Hazardous Lab Debris and Pharmaceutical Compounds

Situation

Triumvirate Environmental executed a sustainability initiative regarding lab debris and pharmaceutical disposing process in a large pharmaceutical company in Cambridge, MA. 

The process produced nearly 11,700 gallons of non-hazardous materials per year, creating 390 30-gallon drums per year which could amount to $118,560 disposal costs (at $304 per drum including the cost of supplies). 

This also allowed for approximately 7800 pounds of plastic to be incinerated. Although the material was non-hazardous, there were initial concerns of internal cross-contamination due to the different compounds and residues from the drums. 

Triumvirate Environmental Inc. worked together with laboratory representatives and their Environmental Health & Safety department to find a safe and sustainable solution to this waste management.

Action

Here’s what Triumvirate did to create a safe, compliant workplace, and create a long-term sustainable process for bulking and disposing of non-hazardous lab debris and pharmaceutical compounds.

  • Triumvirate worked with the EH&S to have enough space in the Main Accumulation Area to store a cubic yard box on a pallet. 

  • Triumvirate began lining the drums with a poly bag before being place in the laboratory. This made an easy transition of the waste from the 30-gallon drum to the cubic yard box, while also protecting the inside of the drum from being contaminated with different residues.  

  • Once the poly bags were swapped out, the drums were decontaminated with isopropyl alcohol and returned to the laboratory.

Result

The initiative allowed for the re-allocation of resources within waste management program allowed for savings in money and resources. Due to the continued bulking of the materials, cost saving from this specific stream of waste was 66%, even when factoring in the cost of cubic yard boxes and pallets. This eventually led to storing less 30-gallon drums in Main Accumulation Areas, thus freeing up space to help accommodate compliance. This company, with the re-use of the drums, now saves nearly 7,800 pounds of plastic on an annual basis.  Researchers also supported this program due to constant decontamination of drums, clean poly bags, and guaranteed re-use of the same drum. All material is now sent to a Waste to Energy facility instead of incineration.
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