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HWTR Pollution Prevention

My Watershed


Pollution Prevention Checklist for Administration and Facility Maintenance

Photo: Woman making copies on copy machine in an office.

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 administration and facility maintenance offices 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
Preferred Alternatives
and Best Management Practices
Facility Maintenance

Fluorescent lamps

Mercury-containing equipment
  • Use rechargeable batteries.
  • Use LED lamps when appropriate.
  • Use low-mercury fluorescent lamps.
  • Remove and/or replace mercury-containing equipment and manage as Universal Waste.
  • Implement a battery collection program and manage as Universal Waste.
  • Implement a whole-lamp recycling program and manage as Universal Waste.
  • If not recycled as Universal Waste: collect, manage, and dispose of as dangerous waste.
Vehicle maintenance:
Oil and oil filters

Hydraulic fluid

Vehicle batteries

Parts washer X X
  • Use an aqueous parts cleaner. See Automotive and Equipment Repair Department
  • Use non-halogenated organic solvent.
  • Recycle spent solvent cleaner.
  • Operate solvent sinks properly, use drip trays, and allow more drainage time.
  • Contract with a service company to maintain solvent sink.
Flammable aerosol products X
  • Use non-flammable aerosol products.
  • Replace single aerosol with a refillable spray bottle or plunger to deliver product.
  • Collect empty aerosol cans that contained flammable products and manage as dangerous waste.
Shop towels or wipes   X
  • Use cloth towels that can be laundered and reused.
  • Keep used wipes and towels in closed containers and label appropriately.
  • Reduce the size of the shop towel or wipe to reduce the amount of solvent used at the same time.
  • Reuse shop towels or wipes for repetitive tasks.
  • Don't dip shop towels or wipes in open solvent containers.
  • Limit the amount of solvent available for use each day.
  • Towels that are not laundered should be managed as the material they were used to absorb.


  • Use water-based coatings with the least amount of volatile organic compounds and hazardous air pollutants possible.
  • Use coatings that do not have metal-based pigments.
  • Use efficient spray equipment, such as high volume-low pressure (HVLP), airless, or air-assisted to reduce coating usage.
  • Reuse paint mixing cups and use metal mixing sticks (be sure to clean them before the paint dries).
  • Consider investing in a weight scale to accurately measure paint recipes in the smallest amounts necessary for the job.
  • Use paint leftovers for equipment setup and spray pattern testing.
  • Label and store leftover basecoats. Seal container tightly and store upside-down to prevent air from entering.
  • Apply stains and lacquer with sponge, brush, rag, or roller instead of spray.
  • Apply light color finishing materials first, followed by darker, when possible.

Paint thinner

Paint strippers
  • Use non-chlorinated solvents and thinners.
  • Use methyl alcohol (methanol) for paint stripping.
  • Use a spray bottle or plunger can to deliver solvents where they are needed.
  • Segregate solvent wastes, distill, reuse, or dispose of as dangerous waste.
  • Use solvents until they lose their effectiveness, as opposed to when they look dirty.
  • Extend solvent life by filtering solids.


  • Use low or no-solvent adhesives, such as hot melt, heat seal, aqueous-based, or polyvinyl alcohol adhesives.
  • Evaluate your gluing operations to determine if too much is being mixed.
Water treatment for boilers and pool maintenance X X
  • Use ozonation or filtration system.
  • Segregate reactive and incompatible chemicals when being stored as product.
General inventory    
All generated waste streams

Spilled products

Unused and expired products
  • 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.
Grounds Maintenance


  • Establish an Integrated Pest Management program.
  • Use a contracted landscape maintenance service.
  • Use green certified products.
  • Prevent spills and expired products.

Fluorescent lamps
  • Use rechargeable batteries.
  • Use LED lamps when appropriate.
  • Use low-mercury fluorescent lamps.
  • Implement a battery collection program and manage as Universal Waste.
  • Implement a whole-lamp recycling program and manage as Universal Waste.
  • If not recycled as Universal Waste collect, manage, and dispose of as dangerous waste.

Electronic equipment

  • Use energy-efficient computer and electronic equipment, and appliances.
  • Use vendor take-back programs.
  • Recycle old equipment as Universal Waste.


Toner from copiers and printers
  • Use environmentally preferable purchased items and green certified products.
  • Use recyclable toner cartridges.
  • Use soy-based inks if available.
  • Use recycled-content ink, paper, and toner.
  • Use vendor take-back programs.
  • Set printer default to duplex (double-sided) printing.
  • Recycle toner cartridges.
  • Recycle paper.
Printing Department
Photo processing


Printing department
Silver X



This page last updated September 2015