December 12, 2003  


Chemical Recycling Saves Money

By Rich Cellamare

Through the SLAC chemical exchange program, the Waste Management Group (WM) found a new user for a rare chemical that was no longer needed at SLAC. Shipping the chemical for reuse rather than disposing of it saved SLAC about $1,500. By recycling leftover chemicals to other users, we reduce disposal costs and the waste of expensive materials.

If you aren’t using some of your chemicals, you could recycle them. (Photo courtesy of Rich Cellamare)

Finding a New Home

How do you recycle a chemical at SLAC? The first thing to do is to think of another on-site group who may be able to use it and then contact them. If you don’t know of other potential users, contact WM. They frequently work with SLAC chemical users and may know if someone else can use your leftover chemical. Depending on the type and condition of the chemical, WM can also find users outside of SLAC, such as other labs in the DOE complex.

Follow the Golden Rule

How can you manage chemicals to make them more usable? Apply this modification of the golden rule: "Provide chemicals to others as you would have them provided to you." Your chemical will more likely find a new home if you follow these simple suggestions:

• Make sure the chemical maintains its purity rating. Do not cross-contaminate it with impurities.

• Know the age and history of the chemical, and properly label it (the original manufacturer’s label is best).

• Store the chemical properly in an appropriate container, at the recommended environmental conditions and with compatible chemicals.

• Ensure the chemical has a Materials Safety Data Sheet (MSDS). A chemical should not be given to another user without one. If you need MSDS assistance, contact the ES&H Hazardous Materials Group (Ext. 3861).

Unfortunately, some chemicals cannot be exchanged because they no longer meet air quality standards or are scheduled to be phased out. One example is the family of compounds called freon. As a stratospheric ozone-depleting chemical, many freon compounds are now banned from common use.

If you would like assistance finding a user for your chemical, call the WM staff (Ext. 3586). They will be glad to help!


The Stanford Linear Accelerator Center is managed by Stanford University for the US Department of Energy

Last update Thursday December 11, 2003 by Emily Ball