Operating material waste

The expression "Betriebsmitelabfall" (= operating material waste) is used in German regulations. "Operating material waste" are all things and materials which are individally not hazardous, but have got contact with hazardous chemicals and are now hazardous waste. Examples:

  • Cellulose sheets used to clean up spilled liquids.
  • Used filter paper
  • Used chromatography recources (for example silica gel, TLC-plates) or drying agents.

Since this kind of waste is an hazardous waste a disposing is more expensive than disposing household waste.

It is very anoying if the bin for "operating material waste" is used as a universal waste bin. Indeed it is no safety problem to dispose posters, covering boxes (cardboards), water tubings and 2-€-coins as "operating material waste", but this is like burning money!

The following picture shows the content of a found bin for "operating material waste". Almost nothing needs to be treted as toxic waste!

  • It may happen that a used syringe needs to be disposed as "operating material waste". Dispose it as household waste if it is clean! (But never put the cannula into the household waste!)
  • If you generally wear protecting gloves until they are toxic waste you are doing anything wrong! In indivdual cases it may happen that lots of chemicals have been spilled on the gloves but generally dispose gloves as household waste.

There are no proven criteria to distinguish between "household waste" and "operating material waste". You have to train and to trust your guts instead! The greenhorn's guts mostly says: "It is safe to dispose everything as operating material waste." Try to be no more a greenhorn as soon as possible!