Department of Agriculture

Drinking water and other hazardous wastes.

In my agency, the safety folks label everything "hazardous waste" that is used in a lab setting. My idea is to have a list of safe chemicals and substances across government agencies that are considered safe when not combined with unlisted chemicals.

 

As a recent example, when I boil tap water in a clean ceramic container that has never held a chemical other than water, I think "hazardous waste" is a bit excessive.

 

As another example, Isopropanol is considered "hazardous waste" when used it touches a biological specimen. To put this in layman's terms, think of putting a leaf in rubbing alcohol. As a civilian, I can do this and simply dump it in the sink, throw it in the trash can, or even pour it outside in my lawn. As a govenment employee, I must place the leaf in a biological waste container and the alcohol in a hazardous waste container. The containers must be emptied by contractors at great expense.

 

We need to stop regulating harmless substances as though they were dangerous. To accomplish this, I suggest a government-wide list of chemicals that can be disposed without regulation.

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Idea No. 798