Orange is the New Green

Why are we getting orange waste tags?

  • The EPA changed the labeling rules. The orange tags ensure that Iowa State University meets the new requirements.

When do we start using the orange tags?

  • Start using the orange tags as soon as you get them. EH&S is visiting each laboratory and shop as quickly as possible to provide the new tags.

Can we use up the green tags first?

  • No, the green tags do not meet the new rules. Start using the orange tags as soon as you get them.

What do we do with the old green tags?

  • You may throw them in the regular trash, where they will become recycled as fuel for the Ames waste-to-energy plant.

Why are we getting orange Satellite Accumulation Area (SAA) signs?

  • The new signs include a summary of the new rules, in an easier-to-read format.

Why did the color of the tags and signs change?

  • The color change will help everyone quickly identify which locations are using the new labels. When you see a green waste tag, or a green SAA sign, find the users in that location and update them on the changes.

When will you visit my area?

  • As soon as we can. There are nearly 1800 SAAs on campus. EH&S will distribute extra signs and tags to the department safety representative during this initial roll-out. These department representatives will also be able to provide instructions on the changes. The EH&S chemical waste team will also distribute new tags and signs when they are out on campus. EH&S student employees may also help distribute new signs and tags. Users can always call EH&S at (515) 294-5359, email, or request tags and signs through the waste pickup request form.

What if I don’t know whether the waste is hazardous or not?

  • If you can’t make that determination from the original container, the Safety Data Sheet (SDS), or Google, the safest decision would be to assume it is hazardous and mark it as “Poison.”

Do we still need to describe the contents since we are already identifying the chemical hazards?

  • Yes, this information is necessary for EH&S to determine the proper disposal process.

What specific changes did the EPA make?

  • The Old Rule states: Generators must mark the containers with the words “Hazardous Waste” or other words that identify the contents of the container. The New Rule says: Generators must mark the container with the words “Hazardous Waste” and an indication of the hazard. This required ISU to develop a new waste tag.

  • Change 1. Users must determine if the waste is hazardous. The new tags have a Yes/No check box to indicate whether the waste is hazardous, or non-hazardous.

  • Change 2. Hazardous waste labels must indicate the hazardous characteristic. The new tags have check boxes where users indicate the primary hazard. This information is located on the manufacturer’s original container, or can be located on the Safety Data Sheet for that material.

  • Change 3. Spill kits located in Satellite Accumulation Areas must be available and appropriate for the material in use. Open up your spill kit to make sure it is stocked with the appropriate sorbents, neutralizers, and tools for cleaning up a spill. EH&S will assist users during the laboratory safety surveys this year by offering guidance on assembling an appropriate spill kit.

  • There are many other important changes regarding how ISU manages hazardous waste on campus. These changes will be implemented by EH&S and will be invisible to the campus community.

Why are the “start date” and “remove by” entries missing from the orange waste tags?

  • Changes to the hazardous waste rules do not require a start/remove date on waste tags. Removing waste every 90 days is still a good waste management practice and EH&S encourages users to periodically schedule a waste pick-up, even if your waste containers are not completely full.