Hazardous Waste Disposal - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Hazardous Waste Disposal

Hazardous Waste Disposal Process

(Chemical, Clinical or Biological)

Definitions

Hazardous waste Any material that cannot be used further or is unwanted and poses a threat or risk to public health, safety, or the environment
Pharmaceutical waste Material/s listed on the latest Standard for the Uniform Scheduling of Medicines and Poisons
Chemical waste Materials that include solvents, acids, alkalis toxic materials, photographic chemicals, paints, contaminated consumables and laboratory chemical that are no longer required or have deteriorated with age
Clinical and Biological waste Material that has the potential to cause sharps injury, infection or public offence and is resulting from biological, medical, dental or veterinary research or treatment

As a leading academic and teaching institution we practice sustainable hazardous waste using a multi-disciplinary approach in partnership with business, government and that align with community expectations. At USC we respect the environment and work to protect it and communities where we work.


The handling, treatment and disposal of waste can have an impact on the environment. All staff and students are required to minimise the generation of hazardous waste. Consideration should be given to whether the waste material can be used in another process or treated for re-use.

Standards of Control

Minimum standards for the control of hazardous waste include, but are not limited to:

  • Legislative compliance
  • Limiting access
  • Controlling distribution
  • Appropriate labelling
  • Secure storage
  • Procedures for spills incidents
  • Prescribe waste treatments
  • Controlled disposal
  • Records management
  • Physical containment in appropriate containers and facilities

Responsibility

All chemical and clinical waste must be disposed of in accordance with the government regulations, USC Operational Waste Management Plan and local organisational unit plans or work instructions. In all cases, academic and service units are responsible for the safety of the waste they generate.


Operational plans must comply with the relevant Australian Standards such as:

  • Safety in Laboratories: Planning & Operational Aspects AS/NZ 2243.1 2005.
  • Safety in Laboratories: Microbiological Safety & Containment, AS/NZ 2243.3:2010.
  • Safety in Laboratories: Chemical aspects AS/NZ 2243.2:2006.
  • Safety in laboratories: Storage of Chemicals AS/NZ 2243.10:2004.
  • Medicines and Poisons Act 2019.
  • Gene Technology Act 2001.
  • Biosecurity Act 2014.
  • Radiation Safety Act 1999.

Waste disposal

Pharmaceutical Waste

• If Schedule 2-6 pharmaceutical waste is single bagged

• Bags are placed into clinical waste bins

• Bins are collected by an external Waste Contractor

• If Schedule 7-10 are managed as regulated pharmaceutical waste.

• Queensland Health is advised of the waste and it is returned to them for disposal

Non-Hazardous Waste

Non-hazardous chemicals and materials:

• Waste is placed into single bags

• Bags are either; placed into clinical waste bins or diluted to approved sewer limits

• Bins are collected by an external Waste Contractor

Regulated Waste

The only regulated waste produced at USC is pharmaceutical and is treated has per standard pharmaceutical procedures

Non-hazardous anatomical waste

• Containment in double bags

• Collection by external contractor for incineration

Clinical and Biological Waste

Most clinical and biological waste is:

• Containment in singled lined waste bags

• Higher risk material is contained in double lined waste bags

• Records are to be maintained for disposal

• If appropriate material undergoes heat sterilisation

• Secure closure techniques are employed

• Sharps – are disposed of in specific sharp containers which are then collected in the chemical waste bins by authorised staff members

• Clean glass, either intact or broken, is to be collected for recycling

• Contaminated glass requires decontamination prior to disposal. Small items of broken glass should be treated as sharps and disposed of in the sharps container, larger items can be disposed of in the same way as clean glass after decontamination has occurred

• Material that poses a biological hazard (contaminated with quarantine material, genetically modified organisms or pathogenic microorganisms) required decontamination prior to disposal

• Specialist clinical waste contractors are employed for collection, transportation, and incineration of waste in accordance with legislative requirements

Hazardous Waste

Hazardous chemicals and materials undergo regular monitoring for decomposition, expired and condition. Anything identified as unstable must be immediately disposed of:

• Contained in double lined clinical waste bags

• Collected and disposed by an external waste contractor

Hazardous anatomical waste

• Containment in double bags

• Sterilisation occurs on site

• Collection by external contractor for incineration

Spills

Low risk spills are small volume and non-hazardous in nature. Therefore, these are treated onsite by the appropriate trained personnel.


Medium to high-risk spills, USC notifies the Queensland Fire and Rescue Service, Hazmat team.

Records

As a hazardous waste producer, records are kept and maintained in accordance with legislation and with USC policy, guidelines and standard workplace procedures.