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Responsible Hazardous Waste Disposal

Infrastructure & Operations oversees and finances the responsible disposal of hazardous waste at the university. This is a costly exercise, especially if the identity of the waste is not made known. 

Staff and students in all departments and divisions are required to identify and minimise hazardous waste, and adhere to its socially and environmentally responsible hazardous waste disposal practices, in line with the Occupational Health and Safety Act, as well as the RU Health and Safety Policy‌, Environmental Sustainability Policy, and RU Protocol Hazardous Waste working draft‌.

Ensure you know the correct procedures for disposal.

Definition of Hazardous Waste: "Waste that may, by circumstances of use, quantity, concentration or inherent physical, chemical or infectious characteristics, cause ill health or increase mortality in humans, fauna and flora, or adversely affect the environment when improperly treated, stored, transported or disposed of." (Minimum Requirements for the Classification, Handling and Disposal of Hazardous Waste)

What is Hazardous Waste?

Procedures for Disposal of Hazmat (hazardous material) at Rhodes University:

Each department, section or unit at Rhodes University should ensure that staff and students follow the correct procedures for dealing with hazardous waste generated in its area of responsibility.

What is hazardous waste?

It is waste that poses substantial or potential threats to public health or the environment, even in low concentrations. Hazardous waste contains or is contaminated by poison, corrosive agents, flammable or explosive substances, chemicals or any other substance which may have a detrimental or chronic impact on human health and the environment. 

The South African Approach to Classification, Handling and Disposal of Hazardous Waste - published as SABS Code 0228 - uses the International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) Code as a primary classification scheme, which separates hazardous wastes into nine categories:

  • Class 1: Explosives

  • Class 2: Compressed Gases

  • Class 3: Flammable Liquids

  • Class 4: Flammable Solids

  • Class 5: Oxidising Substances and Organic Peroxides

  • Class 6: Toxic and Infectious Wastes

    • 6.1: Toxic (poisonous) Wastes
    • 6.2: Infectious Wastes
  • Class 7: Radioactive Wastes

  • Class 8: Corrosive Wastes and

  • Class 9: Miscellaneous Dangerous Wastes


Below is a broader list of categories - identifying all items that are hazardous to human and/or environmental health:

  1. Used oil
  2. Solvents
  3. Lighting waste: includes fluorescent lamps; compact fluorescent lamps; incandescent bulbs; metal halide lamps; HID/High Intensity Discharge lamps (high & low-pressure sodium vapour lamps; mercury vapour lamps).
  4. Wet cell batteries: includes lead acid batteries.
  5. Dry cell batteries: (i) Non-rechargeable/disposable: includes zinc carbon & zinc chloride; alkaline manganese; mercuric oxide; zinc air; silver oxide; lithium. (ii) Rechargeable: includes nickel cadmium (NiCd); nickel metal hydride (NiMH); lithium ion (Li-ion); Lithium Polymer (Li-Polymer)
  6. Asbestos and asbestos containing waste (ACW)
  7. Boiler ash (and other ash waste)
  8. Trichloroethylene (TCE)
  9. Spent antifreeze
  10. Electronic waste/e-waste
  11. Smoke Detectors (some have a radioactive source)
  12. Redundant Pesticides
  13. Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) and PCB-Contaminated Waste
  14. Edible/Vegetable Oil
  15. Paint Waste and Empty Paint Containers
  16. Adhesives and glues
  17. Ink and Toner Cartridges
  18. Empty and near empty chemical containers
  19. Hydrocarbon Contaminated Waste
  20. Medical Waste/Health Care Risk Waste (HCRW)
  21. Demolition and Construction Waste (Building Rubble)

Extract from OHS Act - Occupational Health and Safety Act, 1993 (Act No. 85 of 1993), Hazardous Chemical Substances Regulations, 1995

15. Disposal of hazardous chemical substances

An employer shall, as far as is reasonably practicable:
a)recycle all HCS waste;
b)ensure that all collectable HCS waste is placed into containers that will prevent the likelihood of exposure during handling;
c)ensure that all vehicles, re-usable containers and covers which have been in contact with HCS waste are cleaned and decontaminated after use in such a way that the vehicles, containers or covers do not cause a hazard inside or outside the premises concerned;
d)ensure that all HCS waste which can cause exposure, is disposed of only on sites specifically designated for this purpose in terms of the Environmental Conservation Act, 1989 (Act No. 73 of 1989), in such a manner that it does not cause a hazard inside or outside the site concerned;
e)ensure that all employees occupied in the collection, transport and disposal of HCS waste, who may be exposed to that waste, are provided with suitable personal protective equipment; and
f)ensure that if the services of a waste disposal contractor are used, a provision is incorporated into the contract stating that the contractor shall also comply with the provisions of these regulations.

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Last Modified: Mon, 01 Oct 2018 10:22:34 SAST