Sustainability and Pollution Prevention

Environmental Sustainability

6-1 Biosafety cabinets are turned off after work is completed and the cabinet has been disinfected.

Turning off the biosafety cabinet when not in use saves energy by reducing electrical power needs and decreases the need for cooling of the laboratory due to the elimination of heat load generated from the biosafety cabinet.

6-2. Biosafety cabinet lightbulbs are properly disposed of when burned out.

These lightbulbs contain mercury and need to be disposed of as hazardous waste. Usually Physical Plant Department will remove the old burned out bulb, replace it with a new one, and properly dispose of the old bulbs.

1) Sink disposal of any laboratory chemical solution has prior ES approval and the approval form is filed in the Lab Safety Notebook.

  • Sink disposal of hazardous laboratory chemicals is forbidden at UVM. The Burlington Sewer Use Ordinance prohibits discharge of solutions with a pH equal to or less than 5.0 or greater than or equal to 10.5 into the sewer system. In addition any laboratory chemical that exhibits an ignitable, toxic or reactive characteristic, is a dye, has a strong odor, or has a high viscosity is prohibited from drain disposal. This also means that solvents used to rinse clean glassware (acetone, ethanol, Nochromix, etc) must be collected as hazardous waste and disposed of through Environmental Safety.
  • A list of non-hazardous materials that are pre-approved for drain disposal can be found on our Sink Disposal of Liquids page. If the chemical you are asking about is not on this list, dispose of it as hazardous chemical waste, or request a waiver by completing the ES Sink Disposal review form. Be sure to indicate 100% of the constituents, even if the solvent is water.
  • When you receive the answer back from us, print and file it in your Lab Safety Notebook.

2) Trash is free of all laboratory chemicals.

  • Please collect hazardous and non-hazardous dry waste debris in a ziploc bag or another type of closed container and then tagged with the multi-part white “Laboratory Waste” tag for disposal.

3) Fume hood sash is kept closed when not in use.

  • For many styles of chemical fume hoods this can create a significant cost savings as well as reducing green house gas emissions. The reason is that heated and cooled air that is drawn out through an open sash must be replaced with 100% fresh air in a laboratory building. Since laboratories have between 6-10 air changes per hour, it is costly to heat or cool this air that is essentially only in your lab for 6-10 minutes.
  • Keep the sash COMPLETELY closed.
  • Run electric cords under the foil if you can.

4) Lab Equipment and lights are turned off when possible.

  • This reduces the green house gas emissions that result from generation of electricity for the huge amount of electrical equipment needed in labs.

5) Energy Star appliances are considered when buying new or replacing old units.

  • Where Energy Star appliances exist for your application they can result in lower electric bills and less green house gas emissions. See

6) Problems with building systems are promptly reported to the Physical Plant Department using the FAMIS work order system. Critical needs are reported by phone to Service Operations at 656-2560; select 1 to speak to an operator.

  • There is always an option to speak to a live operator 24/7. During regular daytime hours the call goes to Service Operations staff at 284 East Avenue. After hours the call goes to the Central Heating Plant staff.