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HWTR Pollution Prevention

My Watershed

Pollution Prevention Checklist for Electronics and Electronic Construction Departments

Photo: Used computers ready for recycling.

The Washington Department of Ecology encourages schools and laboratories to find safer alternatives to reduce, or even eliminate the use of toxic substances.

The table below lists common hazardous substances found in electronics and electronic construction departments and preferred alternatives (in bold font), if available. Best management practices that can be used to reduce and prevent toxic wastes are also included.

Throughout all departments there are common issues with proper management of dangerous waste that is generated on site.  The following bullets identify the most common issues and give best management practices (BMPs) for proper identification, accumulation, and disposal of dangerous wastes.

More resources are listed at the bottom of this page.


Download a printable checklist in Word, or pdf.

For more information contact your local Ecology Regional Office.

Items or Processes of Concern Toxic Metal Dangerous Waste Preferred Alternatives and Best Management Practices
Soldering Lead eWaste
  • Use SAC solder1 (contains 95.5% tin, 3.9% silver, and 0.6% copper).
  • ECA polymers2 (contains metal flakes, such as silver).
  • Use cadmium-free filler metals when fluxing.
  • Use alternative fluxes to reduce volatile organic compound emissions or avoid post cleaning.
  • Optimize flux delivery.
  • Optimize heating of filler metal.
  • Process redesign to incorporate mechanical fastening rather than soldered connections.
Wipes   X
  • Do not use pre-moistened alcohol wipes for cleaning.
  • Use refillable pump bottles to apply isopropyl alcohol waste.
Solder scrap Lead X
  • Recycle solder pieces as scrap metal.
  • If not recycled, manage as dangerous waste.
Waste circuit boards

Computers

Electronic equipment

Appliances
X X
  • Use energy-efficient computer and electric equipment, and appliances.
  • Use vendor take-back programs.
  • Surplus old equipment.
  • Recycle waste circuit boards and other electronics as Universal Waste.
  • If not recycled, manage as dangerous waste.
General
General inventory    
  • Use Environmentally preferable purchasing.
  • Review Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs) for hazardous substance information.
  • Properly store hazardous substances.
  • Review curriculum to include design and production of lead-free circuit boards.
All generated waste streams

Spilled products

Unused and expired products

 

X X
  • Use chemical inventory and tracking software to centralize product ordering, improve product tracking, storage requirement, waste management, reduce disposal of expired product, and minimize duplicate orders to prevent unnecessary disposal.
  • Identify all potential waste streams and establish designation procedures to determine if a hazardous waste or non-hazardous waste.
  • Implement dangerous waste designation, collection, accumulation, and disposal procedures for all waste streams.
  • See Common Dangerous Waste Compliance Issues.
Batteries

Fluorescent lamps
X X
  • Use rechargeable batteries.
  • Use LED lamps when appropriate.
  • Use low-mercury fluorescent lamps.
  • Implement a battery recycling program and recycle as Universal Waste.
  • Implement a whole-lamp recycling program and recycle as Universal Waste.
  • If not recycled as Universal Waste collect, manage, and dispose of as dangerous waste.
Please note:  All alternatives to lead-based solder require investigation to determine their suitability for use in certain applications. Other considerations for the substitution of the lead solder alternatives are temperature ranges, the amount of energy input required to apply the alternatives, changes in production time for higher temperature applications, and conditions for consumer use of finished products. Research should also be done for operating temperature range, shock resistance, and moisture exposure.

 

1 SAC solder is a lead-free metal alloy that consists of tin-silver-copper (Sn-Ag-Cu). All alternatives to lead-based solder require investigation to determine their suitability for use in certain applications. Other considerations for the substitution of the lead solder alternatives are temperature ranges, the amount of energy input required to apply the alternatives, changes in production time for higher temperature applications and conditions for consumer use of finished products.  Research has to be done for operating temperature range, shock resistance, and moisture exposure.

2 ECA polymers are electrically conductive adhesives (ECA) that "stick" components onto a substrate, in effect, replacing the solder.



Resources


This page last updated September 2015