8.1  Introduction

8.2  Source Reduction/Waste Minimization Policy

8.3  Source Reduction Principles

8.4  Waste Minimization Principles

8.1       Introduction

UTMB personnel working with processes that generate hazardous chemicals or wastes are encouraged to examine and apply pollution prevention principles.  These concepts are based on efficient use of resources.  Source reduction is any practice that reduces the amount of waste or any hazardous substance by either replacing it with non-hazardous substances or refraining from using the hazardous material.  Waste minimization is any practice that reduces the amount of hazardous wastes entering the waste stream.  

Texas state law requires those industries that generate hazardous waste prepare a Source Reduction/Waste Minimization Plan with annual progress reports.  Hazardous materials regulatory compliance and disposal responsibilities are within the purview of EHS and the university community that uses the hazardous materials.


8.2       Source Reduction/Waste Minimization Policy


This policy applies to all UTMB faculty, employees, and students who purchase and use hazardous chemicals


The purpose of this Policy is to reduce the volume of hazardous materials purchased and minimize the volume of hazardous waste generated. 


·         Reduce to a minimum the number of different hazardous material products that serve the same function.

·         Buy chemicals in container sizes appropriate to the actual use or the amount that would be used within a one-year period.

·         Substitute less hazardous chemicals as an alternative whenever possible.

·         Reuse and recycle chemical resources when possible.

·         Neutralize elemental acid and base chemical waste when applicable, pH range for sanitary sewer drain disposal is 6-9.

·         Include final steps in experiment to destroy or inactivate hazardous substances when possible or when required. 

·        Reduce volume of hazardous material used (e.g. smaller conicles).


8.3       Source Reduction Principles

Source reduction principles are practices that reduce the amount of a hazardous chemical before it is declared a waste product. 


Material Management 

Good material management includes:

·         Better housekeeping

·         Regular inventory of chemicals

·         Centralized purchasing

·         Purchasing only quantities needed

·         Centralized waste management

·         Good waste segregation 


Laboratory Practices

Good Laboratory Practices (GLP) includes:

·         Procedural changes

·         Process modification

·         Scaling down experiments (microscale)

·         Solid phase extraction’s (instead of column chromatography)

·         Review techniques for waste generated



Substitution includes:

·         Use of citrus based solvents in place of xylene

·         Use resins for DNA preparation

·         Use biodegradable scintillation cocktail

·         Zinc compounds in place of mercury

·         Replace mercury containing devices with alcohol or electronic devices


8.4       Waste Minimization Principles

Research and teaching activities can result in the generation of relatively small quantities of a wide variety of waste and surplus chemicals. The small-scale treatment and deactivation of chemical products and by-products as part of the experimental plan (i.e., as part of the routine procedure) is one approach that can be used to address the problem of waste minimization at the laboratory level. Excellent example texts that have been published include:


  1. George Lunn and Eric Sansone. 1994. Destruction of Hazardous Chemicals in the Laboratory, 2nd Edition. Frederick, Maryland: Wiley-Interscience Publications.
  2. Margaret A. Armour. 1991. Hazardous Laboratory Chemicals — A Disposal Guide. Edmonton, Alberta, Canada: CRC Press.