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Research Triangle Institute

Year Submitted: 2007

Process: Laboratory

Industry: Laboratory

Wastes Reduced: Xylene/toluene solution

Location: Research Triangle Park NC

Contact: Melissa Malkin

Phone: (919) 541-6154



Description:

The Research Triangle Institute is a not-for-profit research organization conducting original and contract research in over 60 laboratories with 1400 employees. Laboratory research areas include radio-labeling of pharmaceutical compounds, environmental chemical analyses, toxicology, and industrial processes. Because contract research is an ever-changing environment, efficient management of hazardous materials and waste is a unique challenge. Over the past 9 years, RTI has undertaken waste reduction and waste segregation projects including reducing hazardous and radioactive waste streams, eliminating use of toxic solvents, and reducing energy usage.

P2 Application:

Toxicity Reduction in Scintillation Fluids RTI uses approximately 500 liters of liquid scintillation counting solution each month. Switching from a hazardous xylene/toluene solution to a biodegradable pseudo-cumene solution has resulted in a safer workplace for employees, comparable analytical results, and reduced costs of hazardous waste disposal and regulatory oversight. Since installation, over 42,000 liters of toxic scintillation fluids have not required disposal.
Tritium Gas Metering Control System A Uranium-bed vacuum line system was invented and installed to allow the use of Tritium gas to be closely limited to the amount needed in an individual experiment. Unused tritium is re-adsorbed onto a uranium bed, reducing the amount going to waste. In addition to resource efficiency, this system results in safer handling by transferring the compound from a gas to a solid waste, thereby reducing the risks of release and safety. Over 129 curies of Tritium waste have been prevented since the system was installed. The process is patented and available for other laboratories to use.
Stream Splitter for HPLC Solvents in Radionuclide Analyses Traditionally, in high performance chromatographic analyses of radioactive compounds, large quantities of radioactively contaminated solvents are produced. RTI has invented and installed in its laboratories an automatic stream splitter so that the low-level radioactive portion of the solvent goes into one receiving system segregated annually, reducing the amount of high-level nuclear waste generated, with the attendant benefits.
Chemical Acquisition System for "Difficult to Dispose" Waste RTI's chemical purchasing system automatically flags "difficult to dispose" waste, the purchaser is alerted, considers less difficult options, or receives training on handling the "difficult to dispose" chemicals. Today less than 5 requisitions for the targeted chemicals are processed each year.

  • Total Cost Savings: $75,000.00
  • Comments: RTI was selected as a Facility Case Study in the Large Business Category of the 1997 Governor's Award for Excellence in Waste Reduction competition.

Details of Reductions

  • 11,095.0 - Gallons of   Xylene/toluene solution
    Comments: RTI uses approximately 500 liters of liquid scintillation counting solution each month. Switching from a hazardous xylene/toluene solution to a biodegradable pseudo-cumene solution has resulted in a safer workplace for employees, comparable analytical results, and reduced costs of hazardous waste disposal and regulatory oversight. Since installation, over 42,000 liters of toxic scintillation fluids have not required disposal.
  • Tritium Gas
    Comments: Tritium gas to be closely limited to the amount needed in an individual experiment. Unused tritium is re-adsorbed onto a uranium bed, reducing the amount going to waste. In addition to resource efficiency, this system results in safer handling by transferring the compound from a gas to a solid waste, thereby reducing the risks of release and safety. Over 129 curies of Tritium waste have been prevented since the system was installed. The process is patented and available for other laboratories to use.
  • 15.9 - Gallons of   HPLC Solvents
    Comments: Stream Splitter for HPLC Solvents in Radionuclide Analyses Traditionally, in high performance chromatographic analyses of radioactive compounds, large quantities of radioactively contaminated solvents are produced. RTI has invented and installed in its laboratories an automatic stream splitter so that the low-level radioactive portion of the solvent goes into one receiving system and the high-level radioactive components into another. Over 60 liters are segregated annually, reducing the amount of high-level nuclear waste generated, with the attendant benefits.
  • 264,000.0 - Pounds of   Solid Waste
    Comments: Paper products are recycled, including 89,000 pounds per year of white paper, 113,000 pounds per year of mixed paper, and 62,000 pounds per year of cardboard.

Additional Information :

RTI has implemented extensive recycling efforts throughout offices and laboratories. Chemical labs maintain computerized lists of unused chemical inventories as potential sources for other researchers to check before ordering more. Paper products are recycled, including 89,000 pounds per year of white paper, 113,000 pounds per year of mixed paper, and 62,000 pounds per year of cardboard. RTI's Hazardous Materials Committee, headed by a pollution prevention specialist, works to maintain past successes and seek additional pollution prevention opportunities. RTI's energy usage reductions include participation in the EPA Green Lights program, equipment optimization, and building management systems that are now being expanded from a few prototypes to all RTI buildings.

Source: WRRC



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