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Oklahoma State University

Source Reduction and Reuse

The most desirable method of waste minimization is source reduction, which reduces the impact of chemical wastes on the environment to the greatest extent. This activity reduces or eliminates the generation of chemical waste at the source. The following tips can help reduce the use of chemicals in an area:

  • Substitute hazardous materials with less toxic or non-hazardous compounds, such as using non-mercury alternatives for thermometers, gas bubblers, and other devices.
  • Micro-scale analytical techniques and experimentation should be used where practicable.
  • Purchase only in quantities necessary for immediate use. Large portions of the hazardous waste generated at OSU are unused chemicals in their original containers.
  • Designate a single person to be responsible for purchasing chemicals.
  • Maintain current chemical inventories and review inventories before purchasing additional chemicals.
  • Establish a departmental redistribution system for usable chemicals.

Purchase compressed gas cylinders or lecture bottles only from manufactures that will accept the empty cylinders back. A typical cost for disposal of a lecture bottle can exceed $1,000.