Sample Essay on Hazardous Waste Management Plan

Hazardous Waste Management Plan


Hazardous waste management is a mandatory aspect in any laboratory and/ or facility that generates a lot of waste. Taking care of all the wastes appropriately is a demanding task that requires intensive mental activity. As the safety manager for Podunk University, it is imperative that hazard communication should take precedence in order to ensure that a safe environment is achieved across the campus. Environmental concern should not be limited only to the laboratory section but should go beyond to encompass all sections of the campus. While addressing the challenge of hazardous waste management, it would be necessary to identify all sources of potentially hazardous materials and subsequently communicate to the relevant personnel on how to tackle the issue of waste management in their departments. This calls for an understanding of the severity of hazard associated with each of the departments prior to instigating action.

Where do I begin?

Although all departments of the campus need waste management plans, an investigation of severity and quantity of hazardous wastes associated with each department shows that the English and Mathematics departments probably contain the least hazardous wastes. Moreover, their wastes are more solid compared to the other departments. The mathematics department has lots of computers, which indicates the potential for e-waste generation while the English department has a lot of books and papers as well as photocopiers. This means that the English department can generate solid wastes, mainly papers as well as ink. It is thus essential to eliminate such. The massive arena also has immense solid waste issues that need to be addressed. To effectively manage all areas of waste disposal within a minimum time frame, it would be necessary to delegate duties to those responsible for those areas. The key objective is first to create awareness of the waste management objective carried out by the safety department. In a similar vein, the other departments will also be analyzed and duties delegated to ensure that hazardous wastes are managed throughout. Each department will address its own waste management issues hence the program will run concurrently in all departments.

Hazardous Waste management in all departments

Each of the departments at Podunk University requires intense hazard waste management strategies. This is because each department produces wastes that can be categorized as either hazardous or non-hazardous. To effectively manage hazardous wastes across the departments, it will be necessary to first carry out a hazard communication in each department. The departments have various needs, operate differently and produce different wastes so it will be imperative that hazard communication be carried out for each department separately to enhance understanding of how to manage wastes effectively. However, HazCom in each department will entail provision of information to all department members on the need to identify and segregate hazardous wastes from non-hazardous wastes; solid wastes from other forms of wastes; and to categorize the type of hazard associated with each of the wastes produced (Apple, 2012). Based on this information, the department members will then be required to collect their wastes by time and use different disposal or management techniques according to the nature of waste i.e. Hazardous versus non hazardous and by the type of hazard associated with the waste.

In the automotive technology department, the key HazCom issues besides identification and categorization of wastes would be the description of the various wastes produced and their classification. It is not advisable to merely mention that wastes should be categorized, but there is need to identify and categorize those wastes so that the department operates on common classification codes. For instance, solvents, waste oils, asbestos, brake pads and linings will be categorized under various classes. Solvents can be identified just as solvents and be separated for recovery, oil wastes and oily solids can be grouped together for incineration; asbestos and other flammable solids could also be grouped together and placed in an open ground area where there is free air circulation before final disposal by contracted firms while other solids could be grouped together under non-hazardous materials for conventional disposal (EHRS, 2011). Consequently, the hazardous waste issues in this department would include the management of oil wastes, flammable substances and solvents, which will be addressed effectively.

Similarly, identification of the HazCom issues in the Chemistry department follows the same procedure. That means that the members of the department and those who use the laboratory have to be informed about what key wastes they produce, the classification of those wastes and how to manage the waste disposal system in the department. From the observations made during the tour, the key hazard waste concerns for the department include:  the need for chemical inventory and management of various chemicals used in the laboratory. To effectively address this, the technicians in charge of the laboratory will first be assigned the responsibility of inventorying all the chemicals   in the laboratory and informed of the need to do this annually (Apple, 2012). The chemicals in the laboratory will then be categorized as solvents and reactive chemicals. Management of such wastes would be recommended to include recovery of solvents such as acetone and methanol, separation of wastes requiring recycling such as paints and in-lab treatment of other chemical wastes such as amines, alkali metals and aldehydes which are reactive when subjected to certain environmental conditions (Apple, 2012). Management of flammables will also need to be addressed effectively.

Although the physics department does not have much risk for hazardous substances, it would be necessary to still communicate with the members on the management of hazardous waste if and when they occur. Presently, the laboratory has lasers, LEDS and high voltage equipment. This makes it vulnerable to radiation wastes and electrical wastes and the members should be educated on the effective segregation measures as well as appropriate disposal procedures for this type of wastes (EHRS, 2011). The massive arena also has minimum liquid wastes but due to the renovation taking place, the solid wastes are bound to be high. Addressing the hazardous waste management scheme f or this area will require communication with the campus personnel in charge of planning and development as well as with the employees on the ground for the renovation. The objective would be to find appropriate means of disposing the hazardous solid wastes such as asbestos and the non-hazardous solid wastes as well as to protect workers and students from the potential impacts of wastes in the arena.

While addressing the need for effective disposal of biology department and chemistry department wastes, it would be necessary to consider the impacts of the newly innovated solvent for application in the market. Any chemical that is to be marketed requires intensive testing to determine the material data and safety information and subsequently present this in a material safety data sheet and provide this together with the chemical being marketed (University of New Hampshire, 2010). This task can be assigned to the chemistry department, particularly under the supervision of the inventing professor. After identification of the safety information, the key concerns about the material would then be safe manufacturing, storage and transportation issues. These issues can be addressed by following the requirements for chemical storage strictly, particularly based on the material properties. For instance, it is required that reactive materials such as the invented solvent should be stored where there can be no contact with the reaction initiating chemicals. Moreover, any material that is potentially explosive should be purchased and/ or manufacture in very small quantities and the duration of storage should also be limited.

For the biology department HazCom will involve the identification and classification of wastes into chemicals, biohazards and biomedical wastes. Following this classification, the department members will be addressed on maintaining more stringent measures in handling pathogenic and other potentially harmful substances through effective disposal techniques. While the non-hazardous wastes will be disposed through conventional means; pathogenic wastes, biomedical wastes and other solid wastes that have been contaminated will be disposed through incineration to reduce the possibility of contact with humans (University of British Columbia, 2014).

Other issues

While addressing the hazardous waste management issues in Podunk University, the issue of spills may also present since there is wide use of chemicals and oil. Addressing spills will be based on national environmental management standards concerning management of various types of spills. Of particular concern would however be ink spillages in the English department. It will therefore be necessary to train the English department members on how to handle ink spillages. To be effective all round, the mathematics department will also require mentioning various concerns, particularly on dealing with electronic wastes.

It will also be necessary to train all departments on the strategies of waste management. Since there is a budget limitation, training will be carried out by the safety manager personally through the use of a Power Point Presentation. The aim of the training would be to provide information relating to HazCom and hazardous waste issues in the campus and thus create awareness of the need for waste management. The information to be included during the training will be obtained from past literature regarding management of hazardous and laboratory wastes. To determine whether the training is effective, the presentation will be checked if it provides all information relating to the procedure for waste identification i.e. recognition of waste source, type of waste, the main components that make the waste hazardous, the class of hazard imposed by the waste, the quantity of waste and frequency of production; the presentation should also include an overview of relevant waste reduction techniques, minimum measures for hazardous waste management; experimental process for waste reduction and the procedure for developing an implementation plan for waste management (University of British Columbia, 2014).


Apple, T. (2012) Hazardous Material Management Program. University of Hawaii

Environmental Health and Radiation Safety EHRS (2011). Laboratory Chemical Waste Management Guidelines. University of Pennsylvania.

University of British Columbia (2014). Hazardous Waste Management Manual. UBC.

University of New Hampshire (2010). Hazardous Materials Management Plan. University of New Hampshire.