Chemicals are used in the production of various products and play an important role in protecting human health. Chemicals also contribute greatly to GDP and employment. On the other hand, good management practices must be in place to mitigate the adverse effects of chemical waste. In urban areas, low-income families are exposed to hazardous chemicals due to the pollution of their living areas and workplaces. Chemical exposure in rural areas is due to the misuse of pesticides and pollution of waterways. These affect the natural resources on which the community depends.
Waste minimization steps
Through effective management, the risks related to toxic and hazardous chemical wastes can be reduced. Industry, institutions and communities must take steps to minimize the toxicity and quantity of chemical waste generated.
1. Inventory management
Chemical enterprises must update their chemical inventory at any time, which will help to understand the use mode and prevent the re purchase of existing chemicals. The quantity of chemicals purchased should meet the requirements in a short time. Large purchases of chemicals must be avoided because they pose a risk of storage and disposal costs. Obsolete or unwanted chemicals must be disposed of immediately as they become more deadly over time. Excess chemicals must be sold to other manufacturing companies and intermediate industries that need them. All chemical containers should be properly labeled so that it is much easier to handle.
2. Expansion and replacement
Experiments must be conducted on a small scale to reduce the amount of chemical waste generated. Unnecessary dilution must be avoided to minimize the amount of hazardous waste generated in the experiment. Experiments can be carried out with fewer harmful materials, such as biodegradable detergents, chromium based cleaners, latex paints and coatings, and non mercury thermometers. Toxicity and disposal costs can be reduced by keeping specimens in ethanol. Try to avoid using metal catalysts. Premixed chemicals must be purchased at the required concentration to avoid unnecessary chemical storage and irrelevant experimental steps. Replacing methanol with ethanol in the experiment can provide more options for waste management.
Recycling hazardous chemical waste will reduce water, air and soil pollution associated with these practices. The recycling of hazardous waste is not only beneficial to the environment, but also to the bottom line of chemical companies. Chemical waste recycling can reduce the costs associated with waste management and the purchase of raw materials, and improve production efficiency.
Chemical waste should always be divided into hazardous waste and non hazardous waste. Due to the complexity of the treatment process, it is necessary to avoid the experiment of producing mixed waste containing hazardous and radioactive chemical waste. At present, China lacks mixed waste treatment outlets. Before mixed waste is generated, it must be exposed to environmental health and safety. Toxic chemicals, such as cyanide, must be collected in different containers away from non-toxic waste.
5. Mixed waste stream
The treatment of flammable liquids is the most cost-effective waste stream. Flammable liquid wastes must be avoided from mixing with metals, halogenated solvents and other hazardous chemical wastes. Heavy metal and mercury wastes should not be mixed with any other waste streams.