Minimize Chemical Quantities

October 2020

ETA lab areas have made considerable progress in disposing of old and unwanted chemicals over the past 9 years. Over fifteen thousand chemical containers have been removed. Some were time- sensitive or highly reactive eliminating potentially unsafe conditions. In addition, there are strict fire code chemical quantity storage limitations for flammable and reactive chemicals used in each building. There is a significant cost to LBNL when disposing of unwanted/expired chemicals.

The following precautions should be considered when ordering new chemicals:

  1. Limit the container size. Rather than purchasing a large container that will never get completely used up, consider purchasing a smaller size container instead. 
  2. Procure and use the minimum amount of material required for the experiment. Don’t stockpile chemicals.
  3. Some chemicals are time-sensitive or have a maximum shelf life. Procure only the quantity needed within this time period.
  4. Borrow what you need from a colleague in your group or use the Chemical Management System (CMS) to assist you in finding a source of the chemical at Berkeley Lab.
  5. Identify and use safer chemical alternatives (e.g., chemicals that don’t form peroxide crystals) if possible. Otherwise, procure chemicals that have a peroxide inhibitor added (e.g., BHT).
  6. Consider less toxic or reactive chemical alternatives when possible.
  7. Conduct periodic cleanouts to minimize accumulation unwanted chemicals, secondary containers, and samples.