Waste Container Tracking in Chemical Research and Industrial Facilities
Almost everything that we do creates some kind of waste. Even the necessary task of preparing dinner ends up creating trash from packaging and bits of food. In our homes, we make the run of the mill garbage. On a larger scale, R&D, industrial and manufacturing processes are putting out solid and hazardous waste. Just like we recycle, reduce, reuse and compost our household waste, industrial facilities are required to recycle toxic materials and reduce source pollution in their workflows. Despite everyone’s best efforts, not all waste is preventable, and in the research and industry fields, keeping track of chemical waste containers is a unique part of the waste lifecycle.
The Lifecycle of Waste
In the beginning, chemicals come to us from chemical manufacturing facilities, borne from processes, which may themselves have created waste. Be that as it may, our inventory team welcomes new chemicals into the facility, slaps a barcode on the containers and tracks the chemicals’ progression around the lab and different departments. With a barcode-based inventory management system, it’s even possible to know if the chemical expires before it is used and needs to be removed. It’s a special skill to order the minimum amount of chemicals necessary to supply the researchers so that the tragedy of throwing away unused, expired chemicals never has to happen.
The next step in the journey of a hazardous chemical sees it used in a chemical reaction, and the spent product is tagged for disposal or recycling. In addition to tracking and reporting on the chemical itself, facilities also have to track the remains of the spent chemical after it is labeled as waste but before it leaves the site. For example, small chemical waste containers are common in chemical research labs, into which personnel pour small amounts of chemicals. After a time, the smaller receptacles are emptied into larger containers for transport to the waste disposal site.
Tracking Chemical Waste Containers
Tracking chemical waste containers comes with a host of questions. Does storage comply with fire code control area? Where is my hazardous waste located right now? When is it time to transfer the waste? With a best practices solution, these containers would also be part of the digital inventory tracking solution, complete with their own barcode labels. Having real-time info about the location of the waste containers can come in handy for inventory reporting, on the spot audits, and lowering liability.
Whether the facility makes plastic or researches cures for diseases, hazardous materials must be stored, used and discarded properly, according to the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, and the EPA has the authority to back this up. It is also an OSHA requirement that companies create a safe and healthy workplace for its employees, and this includes proper labeling and handling of toxic chemicals. The message is coming from all sides that hazardous material safety is a high priority.
ChemSW puts safety first in our chemical inventory management solution, CISPro™. Please visit our site to find out how we can help you track hazardous chemicals from entry to disposal in your facility now.