Nanomaterial waste

Waste containing ENM

To reduce the exposure, in particular the inhalation, risk of nanomaterials, all nanomaterial containing waste has to be double packaged, i.e. sealed in a zip lock bag or a thermally sealed plastic bag, to ensure that the ENM are contained in case of a leak.

It is strongly recommended to generate liquid waste by suspension of the ENM in a solvent in order to avoid dispersion. The ENM suspension is collected in a bottle for toxic chemical waste, which is then double packed.

  • All nanomaterial containing waste has to be double packaged.
  • All chemical incompatibilities must be considered using the EPFL waste decision tree.
  • Sharp or peaked objects (pipette tips, needles etc.) are collected in a rigid container.
Double packaging of liquid waste containers
Container for sharp and peaked objects

Contaminated material must be confined as quickly as possible to reduce the inhalation risk. Small objects, such as gloves and paper tissue, are put into sealable plastic bags, which are then thrown in the grey bags for toxic chemical waste or in a closed container. Note that the grey bags must be kept in a closed waste container with a lid.

Collection of nanomaterial contaminated material

Larger objects, such as lab coats, or larger amounts of small objects that are generated during the day can be thrown directly in a grey bag for toxic waste. The bag is then closed at the end of the day, and is double packed. To reduce the exposure time and the risk of inhalation of ENM from the waste container, the bag should only be closed when it is full or at the end of the daily activity involving nanomaterials.

The double packed waste is then brought to the collection point labelled with information on the content, the chemical or biological hazards, the OMoD code 160506, the name of the produces and the date. It is important to specify on the label that the waste contains ENMs.

In case of accident

Call 115 or +41 21 693 30 00 immediately and try to gather relevant information concerning the product or mixture that caused accident. Fire or explosion: nanomaterials are generally not explosive or flammable in small laboratory quantities unless material is inherently reactive, however some of the synthesis methods may use techniques where fire and explosion are potential hazards