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Author: Subject: Waste disposal men, and no, not the trash-can kind
chemist1243
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[*] posted on 2-3-2021 at 12:21
Waste disposal men, and no, not the trash-can kind


I know a someone who works in an auto shop. They told me they dispose of oil waste via a chemical disposal service that they pay for. Now, this guy i know tells me the disposal service will just take any waste i have away, but i have my suspicions.

Is this smart idea, like, at all? I have my waste stored in a compatible manner and with labels - but what are the chem disposal guys gonna think when they see 20 milk jugs all with different chemicals and waste in them?

I know they are chemical disposal, but REAL chemical waste cannot be handled like engine oil, and I’m scared they will either notify the authorities of something like “suspected meth lab” or just put it with all the other waste.

Am i playing with fire or dancing on ice here?

[Edited on 2-3-2021 by chemist1243]
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Johnny Cappone
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[*] posted on 2-3-2021 at 13:33


Quote: Originally posted by chemist1243  
and I’m scared they will either notify the authorities of something like “suspected meth lab” or just put it with all the other waste.

Am i playing with fire or dancing on ice here?

[Edited on 2-3-2021 by chemist1243]


These are two really possible scenarios and the consequences of the first, given the madness of the times in which we live, are frightening.
I know that having someone to take care of your waste is tempting, but have you calculated the cost (in time and money) of disposing of it properly yourself? Immobilize heavy metals in insoluble salts, acids and strong bases in harmless salts, incinerate inorganics, etc? Sometimes, the immediate disposal of the waste generated, or the disposal after accumulating a small amount (1 jug of milk instead of 20) can make things easier.
At least that's how I do it. Yes, it sucks to have to use some of the little time you have in the laboratory to dispose of waste, but, as we say here, "it is part of the game".

Would you talk about your hobby in chemistry with the guys who dispose of the oil? How do you think they would receive it, with enthusiasm and curiosity or distrust? Maybe that can help you find out how they are going to deal with your waste.

Other points to consider are: 1) Do they actually dispose of, or do they just collect the oil and deliver it to a second company that takes care of it?
2) During collection, do they have barrels suitable for other types of waste besides oil or would they throw your garbage along with the oil collected in your friend's mechanic's?
If the answer to questions (1) and (2) is yes, does the company that will receive the waste have protocols for treating anything other than used motor oil?




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Fyndium
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[*] posted on 2-3-2021 at 15:21


The hazmat companies usually mandate a very accurate statement of what the waste is, so you can't mix cyanide, mercury and motor oil in milk jugs and expect them to take care of them. Guys who do this are called drug lab cleaners and they will make anything disappear, including you if you get too curious.

Jokes aside, I would use disposal services only for stuff that I can't get rid of or reuse by any other means. Non-toxic waste can be drained or put into solid waste in suitable bottles or absorbed into a solid media and bagged. This is very case sensitive and difference between suitable and non suitable can be very subtle. Most municipal waste is incinerated nowadays anyway, so if it burns, it likely can be dumped. The incinerator gases are filtered to meet extremely stringent limits and any solid waste is disposed in specific landfill sites, so in theory some toxic stuff like mercury dumped in trash bin would end up processed properly by the facility, but there is a risk it will contaminate something on the way. There is absolutely no control on what people bin, though, so trash companies likely have good working practices handling the stuff. I remember a case when an incinerator plant was damaged because some jackass had dumped an actual mortar shell (or something) and it detonated in the incinerator. For some reason there was no metal screening or it slipped through.
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chemist1243
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[*] posted on 3-3-2021 at 11:39


It’s temping, but after reflecting on it and hearing your guys’ opinion, Im decided not gonna bother some poor waste management crew with my waste. It’s much better to do what I should’ve done when i had my first bottle and get rid of it myself. It’s Less risk that way and i might even learn something by the end of it.

I’m thinking of sealing the small waste that i can in concrete, then double bagging and just trashing it. I do have some aliphatic nitrile(helional nitrile) waste sitting in basic solutions already, with no sign of a chemical reaction at all. I think i will just extract as much as i can from my waste solution with xylene so i atleast have it all of it in one place before trying anything else.

The main problem is that a lot of my waste is mixed in a compatible but complex mixture of other organics, making it imposible to simply look up how dispose of [X] and do that without doing an entire extraction.

Oh well, basic responsibilities can be a total bitch if you let them fester i suppose.
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[*] posted on 3-3-2021 at 12:34


Just do the best you can. Do not just dump it into a creek or into a ditch.
This is something all of us have to deal with.
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[*] posted on 3-3-2021 at 12:43


Basic rule is organic wastes are burned.
You should keep chlorinated waste out of organic waste, that requires special handling.

The other stuff needs to be dealt with on a per group basis.
Lead and mercury should be recycled.

Convert lead to metal and send it to a recycler.
Or you can hand it off to someone that reloads bullets.

Mercury needs to be handled properly.
If you want to get rid of it in a permanent way, mix it with an excess of sulfur to form mercury sulfide which is not considered hazardous waste, but if you have more than a few of grams you can sell it.

Another exception is chromium, hexavalent chromium is considered hazardous waste but trivalent is not.
Obvious solution is to reduce it to a trivalent compound.

Most other metals can be disposed of as sulfates, oxides or carbonates.

If you are dealing with anything radioactive, you really need a disposal company.
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[*] posted on 3-3-2021 at 13:01


As matter cannot be annihilated, all the stuff ends up somehwere, anyway.

Mercury used in industry (chlor-alkali) is converted into sulfide and put into underground storage, similar to uranium. Sad to know there are thousands of tons of highly pure mercury sulfide just sitting away, while we have to pay premium for grams of the stuff.
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[*] posted on 3-3-2021 at 16:57


mercury in the chlor-alkali industry is recycled.
that wasn't always true but it is now.
nor was the mercury that was disposed of in the past highly pure.
it was then turned to sulfide and dumped in landfills so some landfills have a lot of mercury sulfide.
before the 1970s it wasn't even turned to sulfide, it was just put in buckets and dumped.
now we have superfund sites.
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[*] posted on 11-3-2021 at 10:00


I actually have found a few great methods for cleanup for things like benzene and halobenzenes...
FeCl3 (anhydrous or hydratded) with H2O2 over a few hours will make phenol or something like p-hydroxy phenol,
or related. You can use to get rid of toxic wastes from benzylic reactions. I used twice on small scale reaction waste and I was happily met with some crude phenol that was recrystallized and totally usable in synthesis.

Here is a paper regarding this:
https://www.cheric.org/PDF/JIEC/IE13/IE13-3-0444.pdf

[Edited on 3-11-2021 by aab18011]




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[*] posted on 12-3-2021 at 00:38


Household waste is burned where I live. So, non-volatile organic waste I simply put in the household waste. It will be destroyed by burning. Volatile organic waste I burn myself. I pour it over paper and simply burn it. Nearly everything, including less flammable but volatile compounds, simply burn away with the paper. Some less toxic volatile organics I let evaporate (e.g. acetone, ether, THF, ligroin). Chlorinated organic I burn with paper. Gives nasty HCl-fumes and some soot, but from an environmental point of view these are not that bad.
Also keep in mind that my amounts of waste are small. In the above scenarios I talk about milliliters, and burning a few paper tissues with the chemicals.

Some metal waste I flush through the toilet (Fe, Mn, Cr(III), Ti, Na, K, Mg, Ca, Sr). Other transition metal waste (e.g. Ni, Cu, Co, Mo) goes in a heavy metal ions waste container. For the really toxic stuff (Hg, Pb, As, Se, Tl) I have a separate waste bottle, which I label accordingly. The latter only is filled very slowly, at most a few 100's of ml per year of dilute solution.

Every once in a while I bring chemical waste to a municipal processing facility, including paint-remains, remains of certain glues, batteries. I also add my bottles of chemistry waste and tell them that I have different kinds of chemical waste and the chemistry waste I simply call photography dark room waste. Never had any questions asked, the material always is accepted. But I do label the bottles correctly, I write something like (mercury-waste, Hg) on the bottle. But the people who accept the bottle do not look at that, they only listen to me when I say that it is darkroom waste.

I can imagine that if you bring in jerry cans full of waste, then things become a different matter, but in my case, there is no issue. Another thing which helps is putting the waste in common household bottles (e.g. somewhat more sturdy bottles for soap, cleaning stuff, relabeled by putting a sticker over the original label). So, do not bring brown "lab-looking" bottles.




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macckone
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[*] posted on 12-3-2021 at 13:32


Woelen,
As you are well aware burning chlorinated waste can produce dioxin and other PCBs.
Obviously the amount is highly dependent on the amount and burn temperature.
With a few ml, it should not be a problem but burning a liter is a hazard.
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[*] posted on 12-3-2021 at 16:58


I worked in hazardous waste disposal for a year or so. Waste oil though is generally a separate beast - a lot of the time people deal directly with people that specialize in waste oil and the oil is sent for recycling, in that case rather than paying for disposal the company gets a small cash payment for each drum of waste oil. If recycling facilities are not available though it probably just gets burned for heat. That being the case it's probably not incinerated along with hazardous waste.

IF the material is sent for disposal as hazardous waste though then it is probably incinerated in a proper incinerator.

The company I worked for specialize in Lab Packing (but also did large waste streams from local customers). Their competitive advantage was in their ability to co-mingle waste. Many waste companies will not mix things on site - too many potential issues could arise with making a witches brew in a drum. Our company though setup our waste stream profiles for flammable liquids to basically contain everything under the sun - this did not add to the disposal cost. So rather than send out a 1L bottle of t-butanol for disposal as a lab pack we'd pour it into the flammable drum. So you had to somewhat pay attention to everything in there. I mention this because we would sometimes co-mingle small amounts of poisons and such in with the flammables because they meet the same fate at the disposal company - burn them.

Anyway, if you knew the material was being treated as waste and burned in a proper incinerator, aside from the paperwork perspective it would be a legitimate way to get rid of a number of things since, in the end, the disposal method is the same. But for oil I wouldn't trust it, the disposal method could change pickup to pickup depending on where it can be sent cheapest, it's not even a flammable material so it can sit for months at a time off a manifest.

One final bit, I do oil painting in my free time. I chose to use cadmium, manganese, chromium, etc. pigments because they give beautiful colors with high opacity. When I do my oil painting I keep all of my solvents and put them in jam jars when they are exhausted. I keep all of my paper towels and label the container with the metals hazards. Every few years I make a trip to one of our hazardous waste collection days in town. They insist that there is nothing wrong with tossing the paper towels in the regular trash, they don't care about the metals in the paint thinner. But I insist that they take the paper towels anyway and also insist on pointing out that the metals are there in the thinner.




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RustyShackleford
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[*] posted on 12-3-2021 at 17:46


I hand all my chemical waste to the dump/recycling centre. i have no idea what they do with it but they take it no questions asked . I mark what each of the containers has, but theyve never seemingly cared. As far as i understand the law, its what im supposed to do with it.
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