In the laboratory, chemicals are measured by the gram or kilogram rather than by the ton or kiloton as they are in industry. The cost involved with disposal of hazardous chemicals tends to be inversely proportional to the volume of waste, so the disposal cost per pound is usually much higher for laboratory waste than for industrial waste. As a result, laboratories should recognize not only the usual moral and legal reasons for minimizing their waste, but economic reasons as well.
Five general principles of waste minimization apply just as well to the smaller-scale operations of research laboratories as they do to industrial settings: Chemicals can be ordered conservatively to avoid disposal of unused materials; by using small-scale equipment and modern analytical techniques, experiments can be run with small amounts of chemicals; hazardous chemicals can be replaced by equivalent, less hazardous ones; some hazardous wastes can be detoxified in the...
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