Friday 10 June 2011

Reagent disposal!

Reagent disposal – choosing the greenest option

Where do we throw our waste?
As one of the world's largest manufacturers of instruments and reagents for water analysis, Hach Lange has a duty to create the most environmentally friendly system possible for the management of chemical waste resulting from the use of its products. Dismissing less sustainable options, the company has invested heavily in a state of the art environment centre that handles waste reagents, bottles, cuvettes and packaging from all over Europe.

Their waste management policy is based on the three Rs – Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. For this reason, the justifications for the investment in the Environment Centre were environmental.

Most laboratory waste is transferred to treatment facilities that handle a wide variety of hazardous materials. As such, it is not possible for such facilities to operate as efficiently as the Hach Lange plant because of the diversity of chemicals in the waste.

Some companies relinquish their responsibility for waste treatment by sending waste reagents to incinerators. Hach Lange does not support this action for environmental reasons.

Incineration generates greenhouse gas emissions and other toxic gases such as dioxins. These emissions are generated by burning materials that could have been recycled. Importantly, incineration does not miraculously remove the toxic heavy metal component of the waste; it simply converts it into liquid or solid toxic waste. A further problem with incineration is that, as a quick and easy solution, it serves as a deterrent to reuse and recycling which are by far the preferred environmental options.

Hach Lange regularly runs free workshops on water analysis, and waste management forms part of these courses. However, the company's experts are available to provide help and advice on how to dispose of waste reagents.

Environmental Centre layout

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