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Hazardous Waste Management for Schools

Hazardous waste is any unwanted leftover substance that has properties, or contains chemicals, which are dangerous or could harm human or environmental health. Hazardous materials could be toxic, ignitable, reactive and/or corrosive. Hazardous waste is considered to have been “generated” when it is no longer usable or is put into a container for disposal.

All hazardous waste handlers, including schools that generate and handle hazardous waste, are required to notify DEC  of their hazardous waste activities and receive an EPA number for their site. To fulfill this requirement, schools that generate hazardous waste must complete and submit a Vermont Hazardous Waste Handler Site ID form.

 State law bans hazardous waste from the trash.

 What hazardous materials could be in your school?

Read labels for words like: "caution, toxic, danger, hazard, warning, poisonous, reactive, corrosive,  or ​flammable"

In schools, common locations with and types of hazardous materials could include:

  • Science classrooms
    • laboratory chemicals
    • mercury thermometers
  • Custodial and maintenance
    • Cleaning supplies like ammonia, bleach, drain cleaners, etc.
    • Maintenance supplies like paint and thinner, stains, glues, etc.
    • Groundskeeping supplies like fertilizers, pesticides, etc.
  • Art and woodworking classrooms
    • Photography chemicals
    • Paints, thinners, stains, inks
    • Pottery glaze
  • Cosmetology classrooms
    • Dyes, nail polish and remover, hair spray, some makeup, etc.
  • Garage
    • Antifreeze, brake fluid, oil, gas, grease, etc.
  • General
    • Printer toners
    • Fluorescent light bulbs
    • Some batteries
    • Some medical items

Recommendations for Schools


School Lesson Plans: