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Author: Subject: Waste disposal
UniversalSolvent
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[*] posted on 4-6-2006 at 07:13
Waste disposal


Well, I'm rather new to the hooby of chemistry, and I still don't know how to safely dispose of any reaction byproducts or any other chems that need safe disposal. I know haz-mat costs an arm and a leg, so that isn't availible to me.

I wanted to build a filter but don't really know what to charge it with, other than limestone for acid neutralization.

Your waste disposal methods and thoughts on filter design would be much appreciated. Thanks.

[Edited on 4-6-2006 by UniversalSolvent]
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[*] posted on 4-6-2006 at 07:31


At the moment I flush everything down the sink.. not the greatest solution...

A bucket each for acids and metal ions, oxidizers, and bases, could be good. You'd want to keep the acids and bases seperate so you can neutralize them under control at a later time (don't want an extra bucketful of CO2 foam or something boiling over!). Limestone would be a good buffer, except in sulfate solutions. Oxidizers would be best kept seperate because they tend to be stable as-is, but unstable when mixed with acid (example: chlorate ions). (Note an acidic solution such as chromic acid would be best placed in the acid bucket for this reason.)

Organic wastes could be burned with hot nitric acid or persulfuric acid (Caro's acid or Fenton's reagent) and added to a waste bucket as appropriate.

When you've got some buckets full of stuff, you can decide what to do with them. A reducing agent would be good for the oxidizers, a reducing sugar or acid (glucose, citric or ascorbic acid, etc.), ferrous ions (with careful addition of acid if necessary) or sulfite (or hyposulfite, etc.). The metal ions could be precipitated by neutralization with soda ash (and maybe some EDTA?). Lead and barium of course can be neutralized with sulfate. Acids and bases can be neutralized directly. All in all, you should be able to get the waste down to solids and neutral pH, salty water (sodium, potassium, ammonium, calcium or magnesium (and more) chloride, sulfate or nitrate), which is plenty safe to flush down the sink.

If you really wanted to go all-out, you could distill off the water and any acids present, and fractionally crystallize all the salts present.

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[*] posted on 4-6-2006 at 10:07


EDTA isn't likely to ppt much.
For the quantities that most of us use just flushing the stuff is probably OK.
A few, particularly nasty, things might be worth destroying first. Cyanide would be a case in point but, if you are using lots of that you really need to know all abouut what you are doing before you even think about starting.
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leu
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[*] posted on 5-7-2006 at 16:03


This article should be helpful :)

Attachment: chemicaldisposal.zip (54kB)
This file has been downloaded 624 times





Chemistry is our Covalent Bond
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The_Davster
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[*] posted on 5-7-2006 at 16:17





Just kidding,

I don't usually work with really nasty heavy metals, but my Hg waste still sits in a film can in a baggie of sulfur. I recover precious metal waste, like silver, or if dilute just flush it. I let organics evaporate outside or if flammable I'll just keep them around till I have a fire in my backyard firepit. General waste, oxidizers etc, see above pic.




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[*] posted on 6-7-2006 at 11:41


Quote:
Originally posted by UniversalSolvent
Well, I'm rather new to the hooby of chemistry, and I still don't know how to safely dispose of any reaction byproducts or any other chems that need safe disposal. I know haz-mat costs an arm and a leg, so that isn't availible to me.

I wanted to build a filter but don't really know what to charge it with, other than limestone for acid neutralization.

Your waste disposal methods and thoughts on filter design would be much appreciated. Thanks.

[Edited on 4-6-2006 by UniversalSolvent]

Be realistic and only put more effort in the things which really need that. Mosts acids, bases, and many salts can go down the drain without problem. There are some things, which I keep separate and bring to a proper waste processing facility. I have written a web page about this subject:

http://woelen.scheikunde.net/science/chem/exps/rules.html




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[*] posted on 6-7-2006 at 12:53


I agree with woelen on this. When you get concened about putting waste sulfuric acid down the drain just remember what Rooto is and what it is sold for.

Try not to put any particulates down the drain, and always use a lot of flush water.

For small amounts of water insolubles, like organic solvents, evaporate to the amosphere. I don't recommend burning - too dangerous.

Many municipalities offer a taxpayer supported hazardous waste disposal service (mine does). All you have to do is drop off the waste in a properly labeled container. My last drop off was 2 broken Hg thermometers.




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pantone159
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[*] posted on 6-7-2006 at 15:07


I agree not to go overboard but there are some easy things to do:

Keep the size of your reactions as small as you can.

Most waste can go down the drain with lots of water.

Try and precipitate out particularly poisonous metals, and filter out the ppt before flushing the rest down the drain. Ideally this ppt would go to some hazmat disposal, but it's better as insoluble material in the trash than down the drain.

Reduce any Cr(VI) to Cr(III) (and then remove as hydroxide ppt as above). This is fun anyways, with the color changes. Whatever doesn't come out as ppt goes down the drain.

You can neutralize strong acids/bases/oxidizers/reducers with their opposites, vinegar is a convenient cheap acid, 'washing soda' (crappy Na2CO3) is a convenient cheap base, and leftover photo fixer is a convenient reducing agent. Then it goes down the drain.

Insolubles do *not* go down the drain. Applies both to solids and (organic) liquids. Currently I let water insoluble organics evaporate outside, but I'd like to advance to distilling and recovering them, either for reuse or hazmat disposal.

I wouldn't store much waste for later processing, deal with it as soon as practical.

Where I live, there is a city-run hazmat facility for 'household' waste, for free. My biggest concern is seeming 'suspicious' with chemistry waste rather than the usual batteries / paint thinner. Ideally, I'd send metal ppts and waste organic stuff this way.
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[*] posted on 7-7-2006 at 06:48


In my high school chemistry class, the barometer in the room broke, spilling mercury all over. So the class that happened to be working at that time, using their sharp minds and intuition, made a snap judgement call and decided to pour all ~100 grams of it down the drain.
*smacks head on wall for several minutes*

If you take a good little flashlight and pull off the drain cover, you can just see it sitting down there at the bottom of the U-bend, happily evaporating Hg vapor into the classroom all day long.

When a similar thing happened in the physics room and the giant thermometer was discovered to be leaking and close to falling apart (by me), I very quickly offered to transform it into a density demonstration. I poured it all into a clear jar, threw in a rock, a paper clip, and a penny, superglued the top shut, and wrote a note on the bottom detailing exactly what should be done and what phone numbers should be called if the jar were ever to break or crack or otherwise become unsafe.

Moral of the story: you can pour chemical waste down the drain, but don't be stupid. U-bends and other contraptions down the line are meant to TRAP particles, and immiscible fluids are going to be just as immiscible in the sewer and in the ocean.
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[*] posted on 6-8-2006 at 04:52


Here's a thought- most municipalities have "household hazardous waste days" or the like where you can drop off wastes (often at no charge!) to be disposed of properly. So suppose you've got a bunch of wastes containing heavy metals. Just dump them into a half-empty paint can, mix well, and take it in as HHW. It will be disposed of responsibly, and nobody will be the wiser about your experiments.
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[*] posted on 6-8-2006 at 08:42


Typically what the Hazardous Waste people get are labeled containers of pesticides, solvents, paints, used motor oil, etc. This is best for the waste processor.

You also could submit it properly labeled, e.g., "heavy metals," "halogenated solvents," "non-halogenated organics," etc. But this could raise many questions from the local officials, which could come back to bite you. The best compromise for the home chemist may, unfortunately, be an unlabeled container. :(




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woelen
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[*] posted on 12-8-2006 at 10:09


I label the waste as photographic processing waste.

Metal salts go as "toner waste". This also gives a reasonable approximation of what it really is, because many photographic toners are based on the colorful properties of many transition metal salts.

Organic solvents I put on a large towel and I let this evaporate outside. In that way I am rid of the solvents and in the atmosphere those few ml's from my experiments are not a real concern.




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Quince
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[*] posted on 11-12-2006 at 04:57


Quote:
Originally posted by woelen
http://woelen.scheikunde.net/science/chem/exps/rules.html

This link is not working for me.

Anyway, I flush everything down the sink. I even flushed down some old nitroglycerin once. Think of it this way: if it will get past your pipes without damaging them, why give a shit? Not like anything you could possibly flush would compare to a tiny fraction of the pollution coming from X (replace 'X' with your favorite polluter). And in any case, if it gets past your pipes, it's not your problem anymore.




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[*] posted on 11-12-2006 at 09:25


Why give a shit?
Imagine I'm a trawlerman.
However many fish I catch, the other fishermen will always land as many fish as they can. For me to cut back only harms my income- it doesn't make any difference overall. I might as well over-fish too.

Now imagine all the trawlermen think that way.
Now think about what has happened to cod stocks in several of the worlds major fisheries.

It's not your problem anymore to exactly the same extent as it's not on your plannet anymore.
OK so you aren't a major polluter, but the mind-set is wrong.

[Edited on 11-12-2006 by unionised]
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Quince
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[*] posted on 11-12-2006 at 10:55


You miss something very important. There are very few of us. Even if all of us dumped all our nasties down the drain, it wouldn't make an iota of difference in the big picture. In the end, it's a numbers game.

Still, nice try on the parable there ;P

[Edited on 11-12-2006 by Quince]




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[*] posted on 11-12-2006 at 11:46


"There are very few of us. Even if all of us dumped all our nasties down the drain,..."
There are roughly six billion of us, and we do.

Of course this is slightly at odds with what I said earlier in the thread.
"For the quantities that most of us use just flushing the stuff is probably OK."
What I mean is that we should flush the stuff but worry about the effect we are having:D
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Quince
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[*] posted on 11-12-2006 at 11:56


Quote:
Originally posted by unionised
What I mean is that we should flush the stuff but worry about the effect we are having:D

Ah, your way is the guilt carrier's way. Was that the catholic thing or the jewish thing? I forget...




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[*] posted on 11-12-2006 at 12:15


God knows- I'm an atheist
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[*] posted on 11-12-2006 at 12:23


Quince,

You assume that everyone lives in an environment as polluted as your ethics. Most pollution does not directly affect “everyone” but instead has a direct impact on the greater local waterways. The closer you are to it, the greater impact it will have on you. I am not saying that most chemicals are not safe to dispose of, but that one must know exactly what one is doing with every chemical, every time.
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[*] posted on 11-12-2006 at 12:31


On a marginally more serious point than my last post here, Actually it's worse than that for example the Western world's polution way well lead to grave problems in low lying areas like Bangladesh before it's a major problem in the West.
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Quince
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[*] posted on 11-12-2006 at 12:50


Quote:
Originally posted by maozim
blah blah blah

Let me tell you something, you little shit: that's not a good first post to start with in this forum. Now, I suggest you crawl back into the putrid hole of that mongrel of a mother of yours!

Cheers,
Your pal, Quince

[Edited on 11-12-2006 by Quince]




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[*] posted on 11-12-2006 at 12:51


Quote:
Originally posted by unionised
Bangladesh before it's a major problem in the West.

Exactly. Why me worry?




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[*] posted on 11-12-2006 at 13:07


Because your next. BTW, is your previous post consistent with the site rules? If we don't have a rule forbidding gratuitous rudeness, perhaps we should.

[Edited on 11-12-2006 by unionised]
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[*] posted on 11-12-2006 at 13:36


Quote:
Originally posted by Quince
Let me tell you something, you little shit: that's not a good first post to start with in this forum. Now, I suggest you crawl back into the putrid hole of that mongrel of a mother of yours!


That's not a good 775th (or whatever) post to continue with in this forum, either.
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[*] posted on 11-12-2006 at 13:58


Methinks Quince forgot his meds over the last couple weeks.



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