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Laboratory Self-Audit: Agricultural and Power Mechanics

Waste Stream Overview:

Estimate how much of your waste falls into these common categories, adding more categories if necessary.


___% Engine Fluid Waste ___% Mechanical Solid Waste
___% Surplus Parts/Miscellaneous Metal Waste ___% Containers and Packaging


First, consider alternatives for using less harmful products such as recycled mechanical fluids. Then use this checklist to identify possible problem areas and develop your pollution prevention plan.

Engine Fluid Waste

All engine fluids - Do You?

  • Practice proper storage and spill prevention techniques as described in - General Housekeeping.

Oil - Do You?

  • Use or donate used oil to be burned in a waste oil heater (heat your shop or greenhouse)
  • Use a reputable recycling service or collection program to collect used oil.
  • Prevent oil from being contaminated (and thus becoming hazardous waste) through contact with other wastes.

Antifreeze- Do You?

  • Properly label used antifreeze in a spill proof container. (Ideally, put it back into its own container, but remember to label accordingly.)
  • Consider an antifreeze recycling unit
  • Seek a partnership with a local shop in town to share a recycling unit
  • Keep antifreeze segregated from other waste
  • Seek a partnership with a local garage or government facility to turn over antifreeze for recycling elsewhere.

Transmission fluid - Do You?

  • Handle transmission fluid and other heavy oils like regular motor oil.
  • Consult the heater's manufacturer before burning it in a waste oil heater.
  • Consult your recycler to see if these fluids may be integrated with standard motor oil.

Brake fluid - Do You?

  • Avoid contamination with break cleaning solvents.
  • Store in their own segregated safe containers.
  • Investigate local recycling or collection options.

Parts cleaning solvents - Do You?

(Solvents can be expensive; conservation can lower your costs.)

  • Consider less hazardous strippers when possible
  • Reuse solvents when possible.
  • Pre-clean with dry methods to remove excess dirt and grease whenever possible.
  • Filter solvents to prolong life.
  • Avoid F-listed (chlorinated solvents).
  • Use proper storage and spill containment techniques described under General Housekeeping
  • When you must dispose of solvents, be sure to: use a legitimate recycling facility, OR a permitted hazardous waste treatment facility.

Spill protection while changing fluids - Do You?

  • Install drip pans and trays throughout the shop — under vehicles and wherever liquids are transferred.

Solid Waste

Tires - Do You?

  • Avoid acquiring junk tires at all cost!
  • Try to set up a recycling connection for tires through a local tire store, recycling service, garage or government facility.
  • Realize it is illegal to burn tires. (It is usually legal to dispose of tires with approval of the landfill, but most landfills charge a fee.)

Oil filters - Do You?

  • Drain filters into used oil storage container.
  • Recycle filter bodies.
  • Practice spill prevention procedures while draining.
  • Avoid using terne-plated filters which are difficult to properly manage.

Car/tractor batteries - Do You?

  • Store used batteries off the ground, upright in a secure covered location to prevent leaks and temperature extremes.
  • Recycle batteries through a local recycling service, garage or government facility.
  • Remember not to stack batteries.
  • If you drop a battery, neutralize the spill with baking soda or lime.
  • Wear proper personal safety clothing when handling batteries.

Shop rags and towels - Do You?

  • Avoid disposable shop rags, utilize a shop towel laundering service.
  • Wring out shop towels (into an appropriate waste container) to reclaim solvents and other products (use proper personal protection, e.g. gloves).
  • Avoid chemicals which may hinder laundering of shop towels (e.g., perchloroethylene and toluene).
  • Keep clean and dirty shop towels in separate, well-labeled containers.

Absorbents - Do You?

  • Know that absorbent materials (sawdust, kitty litter, etc.) containing absorbed materials may be considered hazardous and will require special disposal.
  • Use drip trays and pans to prevent spills.
  • Use squeegees to recover product and cleanup spills.
  • Consider using rags that can be “wrung” out to recover product.

Containers and Packaging - Do You?

  • Reuse empty clean containers for storage of appropriate items.
  • Return empty containers to the distributor for reuse where possible.
  • Use empty containers for storage of fluids to be recycled
  • Store fluids in properly labeled containers and never mix e fluids inappropriately.
  • Reuse and recycle paper and cardboard as recommended under General Housekeeping.
  • Buy products with as little packaging as possible
  • Separate reusable and recyclable packaging materials from those that can only be disposed of.

Parts, Miscellaneous, and Metal Waste - Do You?

  • Use parts for other projects or repairs; or turn in for salvage value.
  • Recycle metals with other metal waste (may require separation of different metals).
  • Sort usable or recyclable pieces from unusable mixed solid waste
  • Observe proper disposal rules for the remaining (unrecyclable) portion.

Adhere to all WATER QUALITY, AIR QUALITY and ENERGY CONSERVATION recommendations listed in General Housekeeping.

References:


The P2 audit for Agricultural and Vocational Educators was produced by the Peaks to Prairies Pollution Prevention Information Center, funded by the US Environmental Protection Agency.

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