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What’s in That Container?

When was the last time that you walked into the lab with the intent of looking at waste containers to see how lab workers are disposing of the waste being generated? If you cannot remember, I would suggest taking the time to tour all the labs and evaluate the waste disposal practices being followed.

During new employee training, all employees should be instructed on the site-specific waste disposal procedures. There can be numerous waste streams present in the lab including biowaste, hazardous chemical waste, non-regulated chemical waste, radioactive waste, regular trash, recycling, etc., and it can be confusing to determine where a particular waste needs to be disposed of. The established waste disposal procedures should be as clear as possible and as easy as possible to ensure proper disposal. But even when this is done, it is important to spot check the waste disposal practices actually being followed in the lab. If your facility treats pipettes as sharps, verify that there are no pipettes in the red bag waste by opening up the lid and peaking inside. Take a look in the recycling containers to verify that all of the material present can in fact be recycled, and take a peak in the regular trash bins.

It is important to verify that the waste disposal practices are being followed consistently throughout the labs, so be sure to take the time to walk through all the labs and see what is in the containers.

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