Reduce Your Hazardous Waste — Tried and True Approaches

If your facility generates hazardous waste, you should consider strategies to reduce or eliminate its generation. By reducing hazardous waste, you can save time, money, and headaches. How, you ask? Three simple steps: inventory, segregate, and save.


The first step is to inventory your waste steam. The eas­iest way is to create a spreadsheet and identify the wastes from your operations and insert them into a table format shown here. Some examples of typical wastes generated at postal facilities include regular trash, used oil, spent anti­freeze, spent inkjet ink cartridges, cancellation inks, used batteries, used lamps, old Advanced Facer Canceller Sys­tem (AFCS) lamps, outdated electronics, aerosol cans, spent solvents, filters, shrink wrap, ballasts, and sharps containers, to name a few.


Once you have created an inventory spreadsheet of your own waste streams, it’s time to segregate them into categories. Create four columns across the top of the table and label them Solid Waste (Trash or Recycle), Universal Waste (recycled), and Hazardous Waste (managed). Put an “x” in the column that corresponds to the waste designa­tion of the waste stream (see example spreadsheet below).


Waste Categories

Solid Waste (Trash or Recycle)

Universal Waste (Recycle)

Hazardous Waste
(Off-site Disposal)


Office Paper

X (R)




Used Batteries





Used Lamps





Aerosol Solvent











X (R)




Solvent Parts Washer





Shrink Wrap

X (R)




Spray Gun Cleaner






Now that you have the information, the next step is to save money by making sure these wastes are not comin­gled. For example, shrink wrap can be recycled instead of trashed. Electronic wastes (e-wastes) must be recycled instead of trashed. In the case of vehicle maintenance facil­ities, one way to reduce waste is to substitute solvent parts washers with a higher flash point to make your parts washer solvent nonhazardous. If you go through this tried and true process, you’ll be surprised at how much waste can be avoided!

What Else Can You Do?

Contact the Facilities Services Category Management Center staff for assistance with recycling and waste con­tracts. See also “Begin Recyling Now” on pages 1314.