Hazardous Waste Management (Environmental Management)


The purpose of this policy is to protect the health and safety of university faculty, staff, students and visitors through safe handling and disposal of chemical, infectious, and radioactive wastes; to reduce the potential environmental liabilities and costs of hazardous waste disposal; and to help ensure that hazardous wastes are disposed of in accordance with all applicable regulations.

Applicable to

This policy applies to faculty, staff, students and visitors who generate chemical, biohazardous or radioactive wastes.


Individuals who engage in activities that generate chemical, biohazardous or radioactive wastes are responsible for collecting the waste, packaging, labeling and temporarily staging it in accordance with all applicable government regulations and university procedures. Career and Protective Services will collect such wastes and dispose of them. Faculty, staff, students and visitors who engage in activities that generate chemical wastes are responsible for using waste minimization techniques, as described below, that result in either (1) the reduction of total volume or quantity of hazardous waste or (2) the reduction of toxicity of the hazardous waste, or both.


The individual with ultimate authority on a particular project or in a unit/department generating hazardous waste (i.e., principal investigators, department heads, directors, managers, supervisors) is responsible for determining which chemical, biological and radioactive wastes are potentially hazardous, and for instituting procedures for handling such wastes in accordance with all regulatory requirements. Career and Protective Services is responsible for providing general guidance on what constitutes hazardous waste, for reviewing waste disposal practices and recommending appropriate handling procedures. In every case, hazardous waste must be properly packaged and labeled, and appropriately documented. When these requirements have been completed, Career and Protective Services will remove the waste and will assume responsibility for appropriate disposal. Waste will be collected in accordance with routine schedules, or within 48 hours of any request for a special pick-up.

Waste Minimization

Principal investigators, department heads, directors, managers, and supervisors are responsible for providing instructions in waste minimization techniques to those who use chemicals. Individuals who use chemicals shall implement waste minimization techniques such as product substitution, process modification, product segregation, chemical recycling, reclamation, neutralization or deactivation.

These techniques include:

  • Substitution of a non-hazardous material for a toxic or hazardous one,
  • Modifying experimental processes such as downsizing of experimental equipment or using automated techniques,
  • Segregating all waste streams and accurately labeling waste containers as to their exact content,
  • Collecting precious metals and metal containing solutions for reclamation,
  • Procedures for deactivating hazardous waste produced in experiments,
  • Rotating older chemicals out of stock areas first, and
  • Training employees annually in waste minimization.

Career and Protective Services has developed guidelines for waste reduction and will assist departments and units in reviewing and developing waste minimization techniques. Usable chemical wastes and unused chemicals will be collected for reclamation, recycling and redistributing. Waste volumes will be measured annually for all generators. Generators who do not show a significant reduction in waste volume will be given additional counseling in waste minimization techniques and may incur additional costs for disposal.

In no case may hazardous chemical, biological or radioactive waste be disposed of through municipal solid waste, sanitary sewers, or industrial waste water streams without prior written approval from Career and Protective Services.

For more complete guidelines pertaining to hazardous waste management, please refer to the Hazardous Materials and Waste Management Policies and Procedures Manual, and to the online Waste Management information at:


Responsible Office

Environmental Health and Safety (EHS)

(323) 442-2200

Issued by

Dennis Dougherty, Senior Vice President, Administration
University of Southern California