Waste Management

UCCS generates a great deal of waste during its normal operation. These wastes can be grouped as follows:

  • Solid - non-hazardous waste - refer to Facility Services
  • Solid - non-hazardous waste - recyclable - refer to Sustainability
  • Solid - non-hazardous waste - compostable - refer to Sustainability
  • Hazardous - (solid, liquid, gas) - Wastes which are either on a specific list or exhibits behaviors which are hazardous - refer to Environmental Health and Safety (EHS)
  • Universal Wastes: Aerosols, Batteries, Electronics (devices and components), Lamps and Pesticides. Disposal of electronics and lamps must be arranged through the Facility Services. Batteries should be placed in the recycle containers located on campus. The Environmental Health and Safety Office handles all others essentially as regulated hazardous waste.
  • Designated Wastes: Asbestos Containing Material, CFC's, PCB containing materials, Silver-rich photographic waste. Contact the EHS for disposal information.
  • Biohazard (Biomedical) Waste: Human and animal tissue, blood, and blood products, cultures and stocks of etiologic agents and associated biologicals, laboratory waste that has come in contact with a biohazard, sharps, animal waste, animal carcasses, body parts, and human pathological waste. Disposal of these materials must be arranged through a designated and certified contractor. Contact EHS for additional information and guidance.
  • Radioactive Waste: Radioactive materials, including wastes are controlled through the Radiation Safety Office in the Environmental Health and Safety Department at the University of Colorado Boulder.

The Environmental Health and Safety Office will provide assistance in management of chemical wastes and will collect all identified wastes for disposal upon coordination with the generator. Unidentified chemicals or wastes will be the responsibility of the generator until properly identified and labeled for disposal.

Training is required for any UCCS employee or student that generates or handles hazardous materials.

Generators may request a hazardous waste pick-up by completing the Hazardous Waste Pick-up Form and submitting it to EHS.

What is a hazardous waste?

EPA's RCRA has established authority and control of handling and disposing of all solid chemical wastes and discarded liquids and gases in containers. All generators of RCRA regulated waste are required to determine if the waste is hazardous. This is accomplished by determining if any of the constituents of the waste are specifically "listed" hazardous waste constituents or if the waste has a regulated characteristic of hazardous waste.

"Listed" Chemical wastes are broken down into the following lists:

  • "K" listed waste from specific sources.
  • "F" listed waste from non-specific sources.
  • "U" listed wastes from off-spec or discarded commercial chemicals.
  • "P" listed wastes from off-spec or discarded commercial chemicals which have been designated as acutely hazardous.

Under the Hazardous and Solid Waste Amendments (HSWA) of 1984, additional substances were incorporated into the hazardous waste regulations by having characteristics of hazardous waste. A generator must determine if a waste possesses one or more of the following characteristics: ignitability, corrosivity, reactivity or toxicity. A waste known to be contaminated with constituents having one or more of the four characteristics must be handled by the generator as hazardous waste, unless the generator develops the detailed waste analysis required to establish the absence of regulated characteristics to the point specified in the regulations.

  • Ignitability
  • Corrosivity
  • Reactivity
  • Toxicity

Federal, state and local laws regulate the disposal of hazardous materials. The disposal of any hazardous material in the sewer system, storm water system, on the ground, or in the regular trash is strictly forbidden. Improper disposal of Hazardous Waste is subject to criminal and civil penalties.

Hazardous Waste Handling

Once solid waste is identified as hazardous waste by the generator, it must be handled in accordance with the regulations. This includes hazardous materials that are:

  • No longer used
  • In excess of what is needed
  • Have exceeded their shelf life
  • Have been used in a process
  • No longer useable
  • A product of a process

Hazardous waste must not be:

  • Disposed or recycled with other forms of trash or waste
  • Burned or allowed to evaporate into the air
  • Disposed or diluted in water (i.e. down the drain)
  • Disposed on or buried in the land.

An appropriate container (bottle, jar, drum, etc.) must be used to accumulate waste. It must be properly labeled. Hazardous waste containers must be kept closed except when adding or transferring waste and the contents of the containers must be compatible with the container material.

Additional details regarding waste management can be found in the Laboratory Safety Manual.