By Melanie Stewart
Next week is Earth Week! We have lots of great entries in Monday’s RePurpose It contest, look forward to seeing all of you at our personal document shredding, electronic and techno trash recycling event on Tuesday and Wednesday, Sustainability Expo on Thursday, and Master Gardener Q&A and tree planting on Friday.
There will be many great groups to talk to at the Sustainability Expo, but one of the new additions this year is the UNMC Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) department. They will be collecting items that need to be properly disposed of but are often overlooked in office/non-laboratory areas, such as aerosol cans, batteries, and flammable chemicals.
Aerosol cans (including empty aerosol cans) must be handled as hazardous waste, according to The Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (NDEQ). All used, unwanted, empty aerosol cans must be collected. Examples of aerosol cans include: compressed air dusters, WD-40, spray paint, hair spray, whipped cream and cooking spray. For more information on Aerosol Can Disposal, refer to the Hazardous Material Fact Sheet: Aerosol Can Disposal.
EHS will collect flammable chemicals from office and non-laboratory areas. These items include, but are not limited to, hand sanitizers, rubbing alcohol, correction fluid (white out).
Batteries are generally regulated because of high amounts of heavy metals. Though alkaline batteries are not EPA regulated, work-related batteries can be recycled at no cost to your department through the Alkaline Battery Recycling Program. When you have a full container of used alkaline batteries you may now request a pick-up on-line here.
Rechargeable and button batteries are not recycled through that program; they need to be tagged and turned in to EHS. Look at the Hazardous Material Fact Sheet: Battery Disposal for proper management methods of the different types of batteries.
Did you know? The med center has recycled 5.8 tons (11,694 pounds) of alkaline batteries since 2014!
If your work area has any aerosol cans, flammable chemicals, or batteries to dispose of, you can bring them to EHS at the Expo; no tag needed! Please place any corroded or leaking batteries in a plastic bag and keep battery types separate.
If you are unable to attend the Expo but have these items, please contact EHS for proper disposal at 9-6356 or firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have any questions about items you may have in your area, please reference the Hazardous Material Fact Sheet: Office and Non-Laboratory Areas Checklist.