HAZARDOUS WASTE DISPOSAL
The University of Sydney is committed to the safe and environmentally responsible management of hazardous waste. Where possible, the generation of hazardous waste will be actively avoided. Where this is not possible, the volume of hazardous waste generated will be minimised and the waste will be handled in accordance with relevant legislation and established best practice.
|General Principles||Disposal Procedures|
|2.||Identifying Hazardous Waste||9.2||Clinical & Biological Waste|
|3.||Separate Hazardous Waste from General Waste and Recycling||9.3||Cytotoxic Waste|
|4.||Separate Hazardous Waste from Waste Water||9.4||Radioactive Waste|
|5.||Waste Avoidance and Minimisation||9.5||Sharps Waste|
|6.||Responsibilities||9.6||Mixed Waste Streams|
|7.||Arranging for Disposal||9.7||Oils|
|9.||Disposal Procedures||9.9||Compressed Gas Cylinders|
|9.12||Balancing/Dilution & Grease Trap Waste|
|9.13||Fluorescent Light Tubes|
|9.14||PCBs contained in electrical equipment|
These guidelines describe the hazardous waste collection and disposal program that operates at the University of Sydney. The purpose of the program is to protect the health and safety of personnel generating or handling hazardous waste, their colleagues, the community and the environment.
Hazardous waste can be broadly defined as any material that cannot be used further or is unwanted, and poses a risk to the community or to the environment if not properly handled. These materials include, but are not limited to, chemical, biological and radioactive wastes, sharps, contaminated glassware, balancing/dilution pit waste and some waste products generated during building maintenance, construction and demolition works. Each hazardous waste stream requires special handling to protect the health and safety of personnel generating and handling the waste, their colleagues and the wider community.
The removal, recycling and disposal of general waste (eg. office waste, packaging, food scraps) from the University is managed by the Campus Infrastructure & Services. This service is not intended for the collection of hazardous waste. The disposal of hazardous waste in the general waste stream is strictly forbidden, unless specifically stated elsewhere within these uidelines.
Storm Water System
Hazardous waste is forbidden from entry to the storm water system. All hazardous waste, particularly liquids, must be well contained to ensure that an onsite spill will not result in storm water contamination.
Sewer System (discharge to sink)
The disposal of discrete chemical waste “down the sink” is prohibited. It is expected that residual quantities of chemicals may enter the sewer system as the result of rinsing or washing. Therefore, laboratory sinks are often plumbed to balancing/dilution pits that are designed to minimise the impact of this contamination.
Acceptance criteria for discharge to sewer
- No physical hazards, i.e. no risk of fire or explosion
- Not hazardous to health, i.e. not toxic or corrosive
- Not environmentally hazardous, i.e. not eco-toxic
- Miscible in water
- pH 7-10
- Limited suspended solids
- Low odour
- Concentration less than or equal to Sydney Water’s listed acceptance standards.
Radioactive waste must not be disposed of to sewer unless formal approval has been granted by University’s Radiation Safety Committee, in consultation with WHS Services and Campus Infrastructure & Services.
The handling, treatment and disposal of hazardous waste is expensive and has a significant impact on the environment.
All hazardous waste generators are required to minimise the generation of hazardous waste associated with their activities.
The following questions should be considered during the project planning process:
- Is the process necessary?
- Can the process be substituted with another?
- Can a hazardous material be substituted with a non-hazardous or less hazardous material?
- Can the process be carried out on a smaller scale?
- Can a smaller volume or lower concentration of material be used to achieve the required result?
- Is more sensitive equipment available?
- For work involving radiation:
- Can a radionuclide with a shorter half life be used?
- Are the lowest possible activity and energy levels used?
- Will the waste output have an activity < 100 Bq/g?
Purchase chemicals in small quantities, only as required. The cost of disposal far exceeds any cost saving achieved by purchasing in bulk. Some chemicals have a limited life span, and may deteriorate and become unstable with age.
Recycling and Reuse
Consider whether the waste materials can be used in another process or treated for re-use.
Minimise Waste Volumes via Treatment
Some waste streams can be treated on site to reduce the volume of waste for disposal, e.g. aqueous solutions of ethidium bromide can be filtered with activated charcoal.
Handover of Unused or Unwanted Chemicals
At the completion of any research project all chemicals that remain unused or reaction mixtures that have not yet been disposed of must be identified. Any materials of no further use should be disposed of immediately, while other useful materials should be formally handed over to an active research group.
Heads of Schools and Administative Units
Ensure that all workers under their direction actively avoid and minimise the generation of hazardous waste.
Supervisors are also required to establish local procedures that are consistent with these guidelines, and ensure that all staff and students under their direction are familiar with and follow procedures.
All generators are required to actively avoid and minimise the generation of hazardous waste. Where this is not possible, generators must ensure that all hazardous waste is segregated from incompatible materials, collected in a suitable container, labelled, documented and stored appropriately pending collection, as described in these guidelines.
Work Health & Safety Services
WHS Services provides technical advice about the classification and disposal of hazardous waste; coordinates and funds the routine collection and disposal of chemical, biological and radioactive waste; and liaises with and provides reports to the relevant regulatory authorities on hazardous waste issues.
Campus Infrastructure Services
Campus Infrastructure Services coordinates and funds the disposal of all hazardous waste arising from facility maintenance or construction works (eg. asbestos removal, balancing/dilution pump outs).
The disposal of stockpiled hazardous waste (eg. large laboratory or workshop cleanouts prior to renovation or a change of ownership) is user funded. In this situation WHS Services will obtain a quote from the hazardous waste contractor and an account code from the generating school/administrative unit prior to collection.
Chemical waste is collected fortnightly from the Camperdown/Darlington Campus and as required form other campuses. All requests for disposal must be submitted via Campus Assist Online, using the 'Problem Type' chemical waste disposal, with the detailed waste manifest attached.
Unless otherwise agreed, the deadline for submission is 12 noon on the Friday prior to the next scheduled collection.
Clinical and biological waste is regularly collected from 15 different locations across the University’s Camperdown, Darlington, Cumberland and Camden campuses. In the majority of cases clinical waste is collected weekly or fortnightly.
If you are commencing a new research project or teaching activity that will generate clinical or biological waste, contact Work Health & Safety Services to discuss the arrangements for waste disposal.
All schools/departments/units that generate hazardous waste must have appropriate spill procedures, equipment and trained personnel to deal with plausible spill scenarios. Spill kits should be located within a reasonable distance from the point of waste generation and the storage area. Storage areas should be regularly inspected and any spills cleaned up immediately.
Several different hazardous waste streams are generated at the University of Sydney. Specialist hazardous waste contractors are used to collect, re-pack (if necessary), transport, treat and dispose of the hazardous wastes in accordance with legislative requirements. The procedures for the disposal of the University's main wastes streams are detailed below:
- 9.1 Chemical Waste
- 9.2 Clinical & Biological Waste
- 9.3 Cytotoxic Waste
- 9.4 Radioactive Waste
- 9.5 Sharps
- 9.6 Mixed Waste Steams
- 9.7 Oils
- 9.8 Batteries
- 9.9 Compressed Gas Cylinders
- 9.10 Glass
- 9.11 Asbestos
- 9.12 Balancing/Dilution Pit & Grease Trap waste
- 9.13 Fluorescent Light Tubes
- 9.14 PCBs contained in electrical equipment
Chemical waste includes solvents, acids, alkalis, toxic materials, photographic chemicals, paints, contaminated glassware and consumables, and laboratory chemicals that are no longer required or have deteriorated with age.
Waste products derived from hazardous workplace chemicals often have similar hazard characteristics to the chemicals from which they were derived. Appropriate consideration must be given to the packaging, labelling, handling and storage of waste products, just as for other hazardous substances.
Incompatible chemical wastes must be segregated as far as possible to reduce the risk of a dangerous reaction. It is also desirable to segregate compatible materials (where practical) to improve the potential for reuse or recycling. For further information about chemical compatibilities, consult the product label, material safety data sheet (MSDS) and laboratory texts. Find out more about incompatibility of common chemicals. Compatible solvents may generally be collected in the same container. However, halogenated and non-halogenated solvents must be separated.
Packaging and Labelling
Approved dangerous goods drums are supplied for the collection of liquid hazardous wastes. Labels are also provided by WHS Services. These are to be completed and affixed to each container to indicate the type of hazardous waste, the generators name and contact details.
Liquid and solid hazardous waste will also be accepted for collection in the supplier’s original packaging.
Chemically contaminated consumables and electrophoresis gels (eg. bench covers, heavily contaminated PPE, agarose and acrylamide gels) must be collected in strong leak proof bags and labelled as above. Chemically contaminated plastic pipette tips must be disposed of in rigid containers (eg. a sturdy container with a plastic liner or a dangerous goods drum) and labelled as above.
Waste that is inadequately packaged or labelled may be rejected by the hazardous waste contractor and not collected for disposal.
Empty Chemical Packaging
Empty chemical packaging may only be discarded into the general rubbish if:
- There are no hazardous residues (attained via triple rinsing or evaporation);
- Any labels have been removed or defaced; and
- The lids have been removed.
On-site Waste Treatment
It may be possible to neutralise acidic, alkaline, oxidising or reducing wastes in laboratories where staff have the required experience and technical competence. If there is any doubt about the treatment method, personnel should not proceed - leaving the treatment to either more experienced personnel or the hazardous waste contractor.
The requirements for the storage of chemical waste are similar to the requirements for the storage of workplace hazardous chemicals. Chemical waste is usually temporarily stored within the laboratory or workshop where it was generated, or in a dedicated hazardous waste depot. As a minimum requirement the storage area should provide adequate spill containment, allow for the separation of incompatible waste streams and be secured from the public.
Spill containment may take the form of secondary packaging or bunding. If bunding is used, the capacity of the bund should be equivalent to the volume of the largest package stored plus 25% of the total storage capacity.
Segregation - the majority of chemical waste generated is:
- Class 3 – Flammable Liquids (eg. acetone, ethanol, ether, hexanes, xylene)
- Class 6.1 – Toxic Substances (eg, dichloromethane, chloroform, phenol)
- Class 8 – Corrosives Substances (eg. acids, alkalis)
These classes of dangersous goods must be segregated. Separation may be attained by the use of separate chemical storage cabinets, bunding trays or distance (variable dependant on the volumes of waste).
Chemicals that may become unstable
To avoid hazards associated with chemicals that can become unstable or explosive during storage (eg. solvents that can decompose to form peroxides, dried solutions of picric acid) all chemicals in long-term storage should be regularly monitored and if not required, recycled or disposed of as soon as possible.
Any chemicals identified as potentially unstable should be left in-situ and reported to WHS Services immediately so that professional advice can be sought regarding safe disposal.
Security – areas used for the storage of hazardous waste must be secured by key or swipe card whenever the area is unsupervised.
Clinical waste is defined as waste that has the potential to cause sharps injury, infection or public offence, and includes sharps, human tissue waste, laboratory waste, animal waste resulting from biological, medical, dental, or veterinary research or treatment that has the potential to cause disease.
Clinical waste usually includes the following sub-categories:
- Laboratory and associated waste directly involved in specimen processing;
- Human tissues including materials or solutions that contain free-flowing or expressible blood;
- Animal tissue or carcasses that are contaminated or suspected to be contaminated by pathogenic organisms; and
Laboratory and associated waste
This category includes all specimens used for laboratory testing; cultures or suspensions of micro-organisms in tissue culture; used Petri dishes; culture bottles; disposable equipment, used gloves etc.
All unwanted wastes containing or potentially containing live microorganisms must be:
- Sterilised by pressure steam sterilisation, or
- Treated by a chemical disinfectant.
Refer to the Decontamination Guidelines for further information on these two decontamination methods.
Wastes contaminated or potentially contaminated with microorganisms of risk groups 1 and 2 (as defined in the Australian Standard 2243.3:2010 - Safety in laboratories, Part 3: Microbiological safety and containment) and genetically modified organisms (GMOs), that have been thoroughly decontaminated via pressure steam sterilisation may be disposed of as general waste provided that the autoclave bag is placed inside an unlabelled strong black plastic bag. Liquid cultures that have been decontaminated via pressure steam sterilisation may be disposed of to sewer (sink).
In order to ensure that waste is thoroughly decontaminated via pressure steam sterilisation, monitoring of the autoclave sterilisation cycles must be carried out in accordance with the autoclave guidelines. If these procedures are not in place, sterilised solid waste must be placed into yellow bags and placed into a Clinical Waste Bin for collection. All departments generating clinical or biological waste are required to commence monitoring autoclave sterilisation cycles as soon as reasonably possible.
Wastes contaminated or potentially contaminated with microorganisms of risk groups 1 and 2 (as defined in the Australian Standard 2243.3:2010 - Safety in laboratories, Part 3: Microbiological safety and containment) and genetically modified organisms (GMOs) that have been chemically decontaminated must be disposed of as chemical waste.
Waste contaminated with Risk Group 3 or 4 microorganisms are beyond the scope of these Guidelines. Contact the OHS & Injury Management Unit for advice on the decontamination of these agents.
Human tissues include tissue, organs, limbs, free-flowing or expressible blood, and other body fluids that are removed during surgery and autopsy. The management and disposal of these types of wastes needs to be conducted with public perception and aesthetic considerations in mind. Human tissues, blood or body parts must never be placed in the ordinary garbage stream, even if decontaminated.
Any waste classified as human tissue waste should be autoclaved then placed into yellow bags. Yellow bags containing unrecognisable tissue samples must be placed into a Yellow Clinical Waste Bin for collection. Yellow bags containing recognisable body parts must be placed into a Burgundy Anatomical Clinical Waste Bin for collection.
Animal tissue or carcasses
This category of waste comprises tissue, carcasses and other waste arising from animals used in laboratory investigation, or for medical or veterinary research. Animal tissues, blood or body parts must never be placed in the ordinary garbage stream, even if decontaminated.
At the Camperdown/Darlington & Camden campuses, clean animal waste is disposed of via on-site incineration. Please contact the Faculty of Veterinary Science to arrange disposal.
Animal tissue contaminated with microorganisms must be autoclaved, placed into yellow bags and placed in to a Yellow Clinical Waste Bin for collection.
Animal carcasses contaminated with microorganisms must be autoclaved (where practical), placed into yellow bags and placed into a Burgundy Anatomical Clinical Waste Bin for collection.
Prions (including Gerstmann-Straussler syndrome, Kuru and Creutzfeldt-Jakob agents) are resistant to most traditional methods of inactivation used for other microorganisms. Prions should be thoroughly decontaminated in accordance with the decontamination guidelines for prions and then treated as cytotoxic waste to ensure the material will be incinerated. Solid waste that has been pressure steam sterilised should be placed into a Purple Cytotoxic Clinical Waste Bin and the autoclave bag labelled with the words PRION WASTE – INCINERATE AT 1100 CELSIUS. Prion material that has been chemically decontaminated should be treated as chemical waste and the waste drum should be labelled as PRION WASTE – INCINERATE AT 1100 CELSIUS.
Storage, transport and spills
Plastic bags for the collection of clinical and biological wastes other than sharps should:
- Have sufficient strength to safely contain the waste class they are designated to hold;
- Be suitable for the purpose, i.e. if to be heat sterilised they must be able to withstand high temperatures and allow steam to penetrate;
- Not be filled to more than two-thirds of their capacity;
- Allow for secure final closure when the bag is filled to a maximum of two-thirds of its capacity or 6kg, whichever is lesser; and
- Not be secured with staples or any other closure devices with sharp points or edges.
The storage of clinical and biological wastes prior to disposal should be minimised. Wastes should be treated as soon as possible after generation. When storage is required it should minimise exposure to the waste and prevent increases in the numbers of potentially harmful organisms present. For this reason refrigeration may be required. The area should also be kept secure at all times, be vermin-free, and be regularly cleaned and disinfected.
Wastes sometimes need to be transported around the University, either from the facility to autoclave area or from the autoclave to the clinical waste bin. Transport routes should be planned to minimise possible exposure to the wastes by consideration of activity levels and population densities at various times of day and places on the routes. Transport of microorganisms must be wholly contained within a primary sealed container (eg an autoclave bag) and the primary sealed container must be packed in a secondary sealed unbreakable container (eg. Tupperware container or garbage bin with a sealable lid). The secondary container must be easily decontaminated.
A suitable spill kit and spills procedures must be readily available at any area where waste is stored.
Clinical Waste Bins must be kept locked whenever they are not being accessed and where possible stored internally. Departments that require a clinical waste bin for the regular disposal of clinical and related wastes should contact WHS Services for further information.
The term cytotoxic is used to describe materials that are destructive to cells. Cytotoxic drugs are pharmacological agents that inhibit the reproduction of cells, primarily used for the treatment of cancer.
Cytotoxic waste includes any unwanted cytotoxic drug preparations; disposable laboratory consumables and sharps that may have been contaminated with cytotoxic material; and the carcasses of animals treated with cytotoxic drugs and associated animal bedding.
Cytotoxic waste must be segregated from all other waste streams and packaged in purple cytotoxic waste bags or cytotoxic sharps containers displaying the telophase cytotoxic symbol and the words CYTOTOXIC WASTE – INCINERATE AT 1100 CELSIUS. The bags and sharps containers must then be placed into a Purple Cytotoxic Clinical Waste Bin.
Radioactive waste will only be accepted for disposal if the specific activity of the waste is certified as being less than 100 Becquerels per gram (1 Becquerel = 1 disintegration per second). Use the Radioactive Waste Activity Statement. Waste that exceeds the 100 Bq/g limit must be stored locally pending decay.
All research projects involving radioactive substances must be planned with consideration for the waste output, limiting initial radioactivity to ensure that the activity of the waste generated is below the allowable limit for disposal. Users should also seek to secure a disposal route for "leftover" radioactive material via their supplier at the time of purchase.
Highly radioactive and long-lived radioactive waste must be segregated from low level and short-lived radioactive waste so that a small volume of highly radioactive or long lived radioactive waste does not compromise the disposal of a larger volume of less radioactive or shorter lived radioactive waste.
Packaging and Labelling
Liquid radioactive waste must be packaged in the approved dangerous goods drums supplied for the collection of liquid hazardous wastes. Sealed scintillation vials may also be placed inside the approved dangerous goods containers. Solid waste (eg. bench covers, used gloves) must be collected in strong leak proof plastic bags or sharps containers as appropriate. Low Level Radioactive Waste (<100 Bq/g) must be labelled with the name of the radioisotope and other waste constituents, date, radioactivity at that date (~ total activity and ~specific activity) and the generator's name. Waste for disposal must not be labelled with a radiation trefoil symbol. Waste that exceeds the limits for disposal must be labelled as described below under “Storage”.
Radioactive waste that must be stored pending decay must be labelled with the name of the radioisotope, date, radioactivity at that date, the date after which the waste may be disposed of, the radiation trefoil symbol, and the generator's name. The storage location must provide adequate security and shielding of the radioactivity. Radioactive waste that is in storage must be regularly reviewed to check whether the materials are suitable for disposal, and if not, whether the storage facility remains adequate.
Prior to the disposal of sealed source equipment the radioactive source must be removed. This can normally be arranged via the manufacturer. Once the radioactive source has been removed and the equipment checked for any contamination, it may be disposed of as general waste.
Sharps are defined as discarded objects or devices capable of cutting or penetrating the skin, eg hypodermic needles, Pasteur pipettes, broken glass and scalpel blades. Various hard plastic items, such as broken plastic pipettes, are also classified as sharps.
All sharps have the potential to cause injury through cuts or puncture wounds. In addition, many sharps are contaminated with blood or body fluids, microbiological materials, toxic chemicals or radioactive substances, posing a risk of infection or illness if they penetrate the skin. It is therefore essential to follow safe procedures when using and disposing of sharps.
Sharps must be placed into a sharps container as soon as possible after use. To avoid needlestick injuries, needles must not be re-capped. Sharps containers must not be filled above the marked fill line.
Sharps containers need to be rigid and impervious, and conform to either Australian Standard AS4031-1992 Non-reusable containers for the collection of sharp medical items used in health care areas, or to Australian/New Zealand Standard AS/NZS 4261:1994 Reusable containers for the collection of sharp items used in human and animal medical applications. Reusable sharps containers may only be used if local arrangements have been made for reprocessing in accordance with Australian/New Zealand Standard AS/NZS 4478:1997 Guide to the reprocessing of reusable containers for the collection of sharp items used in human and animal clinical/medical applications.
Biologically contaminated sharps must be placed in a yellow sharps container. When full, the sharps container must be sealed and placed in a Yellow Clinical Waste Bin for disposal. Decontamination is not required.
Sharps that have been contaminated with cytotoxic materials must be placed into a Purple Cytotoxic Sharps Container. When full the sharps container must be sealed and placed into a Purple Cytotoxic Clinical Waste Bin for disposal.
Chemically contaminated sharps must be placed in a yellow sharps container and disposed of as chemical waste.
Sharps contaminated with radioactive materials must be placed in Yellow Sharps Containers, labelled (as required for radioactive waste) and stored pending decay to a level below 100 Becquerels per gram. Ultimate disposal will depend on the other characteristics of the waste. Refer to Section 11.6 Mixed Waste Streams.
Hazardous waste often presents multiple hazards (e.g. radioactive & biological). Where possible, work should be planned to prevent the generation of mixed waste steams. Following are some strategies for dealing with mixed waste streams.
Radioactive & Chemical waste
Store until the radiation has decayed to less than 100 Bq/g and then dispose of as chemical waste.
Biological & Chemical waste
Treat primarily as biological waste.
Radioactive & Biological waste
Store until the radiation has decayed to less than 100 Bq/g (in freezer) and then dispose of as biological waste.
Radioactive, Biological & Chemical
Store until the radiation has decayed to less than 100 Bq/g (in freezer) and then dispose of as biological waste.
Oil and oil/water mixtures are not suitable for disposal to sewer or general waste. Oils can often be recycled. Small volumes (< 50 L) should be disposed of as chemical waste. Generators of larger volumes of oil or oil/water mixtures should contact WHS Services for further advice.
In many cases batteries can be recycled. All batteries (e.g. alkaline, Ni-Cd, lithium, lead-acid) must be collected as chemical waste. The University’s hazardous waste contractors will ensure that batteries are recycled where possible.
Compressed gas cylinders must be returned to the supplier, even if the contents are considered to be fully used. This will alleviate any ongoing rental charges by the supplier and will also prevent unsafe disposal.
All small pieces of broken glass should be placed in sharps containers conforming to AS4031-1992 for collection as clinical/biological or chemical waste as appropriate.
Large items of intact or broken laboratory glassware should be decontaminated and disposed of as general waste. However, they must be transferred directly to the industrial skip bin to avoid the cleaners handling the waste. The glass should be collected in a sturdy container with a plastic liner prior to disposal.
Microbiologically contaminated broken glassware that cannot be safely decontaminated must be disposed of as sharps for disposal as clinical/biological waste.
Chemically contamination broken glassware that cannot be safety decontaminated must be collected in a sturdy container with a plastic liner and disposed of as chemical waste.
Glass bottles from laboratories may only be discarded into the general rubbish if:
- There are no hazardous residues (attained via triple rinsing or evaporation);
- Any labels have been removed or defaced; and
- The lids have been removed.
Areas other than Laboratories
There are three options for the disposal of non-contaminated glass from areas other than laboratories.
- Recycle - some areas of the University have organised a glass recycling service. Where this exists, glass can be collected into a dedicated local bin or container and transferred to the recycling bin. Borosilicate glassware (eg. pyrex) cannot be recycled.
- Skip Bin - where no recycling service is available, glass can be collected into a dedicated local bin or container and transferred to the nearest industrial waste bin.
- Normal Waste - glass can be wrapped in paper or otherwise packaged to prevent contact with sharp edges and placed into the normal garbage bins.
Small volumes of pure asbestos and items such as asbestos heat mats may be disposed of as chemical waste. Other items or materials that contain asbestos, such as appliances and building fabric, are not managed via the hazardous waste disposal service.
Many laboratory and workshop sinks and floor waste lead to Balancing/Dilution pits. These are designed to both separate solid materials and non-miscible liquids from the waste water, and dilute aqueous waste water before it enters the Sydney Water sewer system.
Balancing/Dilution pits are periodically cleaned out in accordance with the University’s Commercial Trade Waste Agreement with Sydney Water. This waste is handled as controlled aqueous liquid waste. The collection and disposal is coordinated by the Campus Infrastructure and Services.
Campus Infrastructure and Services also manages the cleaning and regular maintenance of the University’s grease traps.
Fluorescent light tubes contain a small concentration of mercury. The University intentionally purchases low mercury tubes, but to ensure that this mercury does not leach into the environment, it is recommended that the mercury in these tubes be either fixated or extracted and recycled prior to going to landfill. Campus Property & Services manages the disposal of this waste stream.
Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are chemically stable compounds that are fire resistant and very good electrical insulators. For this reason PCBs were often mixed with mineral oil and used as the insulator in electrical equipment such as the capacitors used in fluorescent light fittings, ceiling fans and air conditioners.
PCBs are now known to be highly persistent, bioaccumulative chemicals and are regulated by a Chemical Control Order under the Environmentally Hazardous Chemicals Act 1985. Electrical equipment manufactured prior to 1976 may contain PCBs.
Campus Infrastructure Services progressively removes building fixtures and fittings suspected of containing PCBs from service during regular building and maintenance work. These materials are then disposed of as hazardous waste.
All Departments/Units are responsible for reviewing any electrical equipment under their control and identifying any potential PCBs for disposal. For further information contact WHS Services.