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Waste Minimization and Reduction

The law requires that Marquette University make a good faith effort to reduce the quantity and toxicity of the waste we generate, to the extent our efforts are economically feasible.  Apart from the environmental stewardship, regulatory compliance, and safety issues, the cost of hazardous waste disposal is great and a drain on the resources of the university. For example, the cost to purchase a pound of mercury is about $65.00. The cost to dispose of  the same pound of mercury, even in its pure state,  is greater than $350.00.

The following are ways we are working to accomplish our waste reduction goal. We encourage all generators to utilize all practical means to reduce the waste generated.

Source Reduction

Through process modification, improved operations, and material substitution, you can reduce the amount of hazardous chemicals.

Here are some examples:

  • Substitute non or less hazardous chemicals for more hazardous chemicals. For example, consider substituting a non-toxic scintillation cocktail for the more toxic options.

  • Scale down the number and size of required experiments by developing "micro scale" experiments in the chemistry and other science labs.

  • Replace hazardous chemical use with non-chemical methods. For example, digital thermometers can be substituted for mercury.

  • Limit your inventory of chemicals on hand to that of your immediate need. This would result in less deteriorated or expired chemicals.

  • Clearly label your solutions so they can be reused or disposed of without expensive analysis.

  • Tightly cap all containers to reduce emissions.

  • Never mix hazardous and non-hazardous wastes. All the waste must then be treated as hazardous.

  • Anticipate future needs to avoid disposing of an item only needing to reorder it in the near future.

  • Do not accept gifts of chemicals unless you have an immediate need for them.

  • Avoid end of the year buying sprees unless you have a need.

  • Store less chemicals to avoid  possible leaks and spills

Chemical Redistribution

  • Share unneeded and surplus chemicals with your colleagues.

  • Check for surplus chemicals before ordering new chemicals.

Neutralization & Treatment

  • Take appropriate steps to neutralize acids and treat other chemicals to reduce their toxicity or render them non hazardous.

Examples of Waste Minimization at Marquette University

  • The university has outsourced the oil and coolant changing of its vehicles to a provider who can efficiently recycle the old liquids.

  • Where practical, energy efficient and long life lighting products have been utilized to reduce the amount of energy consumed and reduce the amount of waste generated.

  • The campus recycles batteries, mercury, fluorescent lamps and computers.

  • Efforts have been made to substitute digital thermometers for mercury.

  • The university has switched much of its fleet to low emission vehicles reducing the pollutants generated.

  • Returnable gas cylinders are used where possible instead of the smaller non returnable cylinders.

  • Non hazardous latex paints are used where possible instead of oil/solvent based paints.

  • Paint mixing machines are utilized eliminating the need to store as much paint in a wide variety of colors.

  • Vinegar is often substituted for window cleaning reducing the amount of ammonia products needed.

  • Digital cameras are often used instead of the film type reducing the use of film processing chemicals.

  • Silver recovery systems are often used in film developing systems reducing the amount of waste generated.

  • A parts washer service has been outsourced to a provider who recycles the used solvent.

  • Where possible, more durable and repairable items are purchased.


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