Managing your lab’s waste products

Your lab is required by law to manage your waste in compliance with EPA, state and local environmental regulations. An effective environmental program will not only greatly reduce your company’s liability of fines from the EPA, but will also contribute to improve production efficiencies. The penalties under U.S. environmental laws could result in up to $25,000 a day per violation fine. In some cases, criminal penalties could result. The types of wastes that are typically produced by optical labs include:
-Non-Hazardous Waste (Non-Regulated Waste):
Industrial process waste not considered a hazardous waste under Federal environmental laws. This waste could be suitable for sewer disposal if approved by the local sewer district. Examples of non-hazardous waste are tints and polish waste.

-Hazardous Waste:
Any substance or mixture of substances having properties capable of producing adverse effects on the health or safety of a human being. Lead based alloys used in labs produce hazardous waste.

Unnecessary wastes from lab processes generally add to your cost of doing business. It is too easy for optical labs to use the most convenient method of disposal, an open drain to either a sewer system or storm drain. In most instances, it is illegal to discharge industrial waste into the local sewer system unless a permit is obtained from the local sanitary sewer district.

Even if a chemical is non-hazardous or it is labeled biodegradable, it does not automatically make it suitable or legal for sewer disposal. Typical optical laboratories’ non-hazardous waste is generally not suitable for untreated disposal in the sewer system including tinting waste, lens polish and liquid coolants. Disposal of theses wastes depends on your local environmental regulations.

Source: Vision Monday LabAdvisor

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About Arthur De Gennaro

My friends call me Art. Welcome to my blog. In this space you’ll find information and comments on the ophthalmology world, the optical industry, the hearing industry and medical practice management. My intent is to provide information you can use to improve your business and your own performance. Please visit often and feel free to join the discussions by leaving comments.

You can learn more about me and my consulting company, Arthur De Gennaro & Associates, LLC by visiting my web site www.adegennaro.com

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October 2009

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