All participants in the USAP are required by U.S. Federal Law (45 CFR
670-672) to adhere to procedures set in place while deployed to Antarctica.
It is everyone's responsibility to fully comply with the guidance provided
in this chapter while at field camps to ensure that all regulatory requirements
and treaties are properly implemented and carried out. Recycling is a
priority for all individuals and can only be accomplished by adhering
to the guidance set forth for field camps and stations.
14.1 Pack-in/Pack-out Personal Items
All personal items carried into a field camp by an individual will be
carried out by the individual. The Pack-in/Pack-out routine will allow
field camps to eliminate several of the waste categories and reduce the
number of containers needed to segregate waste. All waste that is packed
out will be properly segregated according to the Waste Management Program
at the permanent station to which the waste is being returned.
14.2 Waste Groups and Categories
The guidelines in this chapter have been compiled to assist you in properly
segregating waste. Non-Hazardous Solid Waste has been classified into
three groups and color codes based on its disposition in the U.S. The
groups are as follows:
RECYCLABLES - GREEN
DISPOSABLES - BLUE
COMBUSTIBLES - YELLOW
All groups have been classified into categories based on the characterization
of the waste stream. It is mandated to collect and retrograde 100% of
ALL waste from the field camps, unless approved to do otherwise.
14.2a Recyclables Group - Green
Bottles and jars not contaminated with food or hazardous waste will be
recycled. All colors of glass can be collected together. No window glass,
broken glass, light bulbs (CONSTRUCTION DEBRIS) and reagent bottles go
in this category. Label as: GLASS.
Empty aluminum cans may be placed in this category. Label as: ALUMINUM.
(Aluminum foil, pans, and wrappers belong in the Combustibles Group with
Heavy Metal Category
Heavy Metal, Wire, Copper and Brass Category All metals except tin cans
and sheet metal belong in this category. Label as: METALS.
Light Metal Category
All clean metal containers and sheet metal belong in this category. Label
as: LIGHT METALS.
Nonreusable cardboard boxes are to be flattened and bundled or crated
for shipment. Label as: CARDBOARD.
Reuse all crates and pallets for shipping waste from the field camps.
All remaining wood will be dismantled, bundled, and shipped to a permanent
station. Label as: WOOD.
White Paper Category
Clean white paper such as photocopies, computer paper, and other white
paper should be put in the proper containers designated for white paper.
Label as: WHITE PAPER. Colored paper should be separated and put into
NOTE: It is recommended for small field camps/parties to collect all
recyclable categories into plastic bags separately. Once the waste is
ready for shipment to the permanent station, tie off all bags and place
all into one shipping container (triwall and/or drum). Label as: MIXED
RECYCLABLES plus appropriate "CATEGORY NAMES." All fuel-contaminated items
must be retrograded from field camps using the Hazardous Wate procedures.
14.2b Combustibles Group - Yellow
Burnables, Food Waste, Food Contaminated Containers, Cooking Oil/Lard,
Newspapers and Magazines Category All items in this waste category will
be consolidated to reduce segregation items. The waste will include food
wrappers, food contaminated containers, food waste, paper towels, etc.
Waste within this category will be placed in triwalls with 3 plastic liners
to avoid leakage. Label as: BURNABLE FOOD WASTE.
Human Waste, Domestic Biological Waste Category Items in this category
will be collected in 20-gallon poly lab packs with a plastic liner supplied
by Waste Management. It is absolutely critical that no other collection
methods are used for this type of waste. The cover of the lab pack will
be secured tightly when filled. The 20-gallon poly lab pack and waste
will be retrograded to the U.S. and incinerated for sterilization purposes.
If more than one lab pack is filled at the field camp, an 85-gallon metal
over-pack drum should be used to ship this waste from the camp. Label
as: HUMAN WASTE
14.2c Disposables Group - Blue
Any material or combination of materials free from food contamination
that doesn't fit in the RECYCLABLES or COMBUSTIBLES group is designated
as a disposable item.
Product Containers, Clothing, Construction Debris, Plastics Category
This category will also include items such as styrofoam peanuts (ACA banned)
and bubble wrap. Please, NO HAZARDOUS WASTE. Label as: CONSTRUCTION DEBRIS.
Items in this category will be bagged and should be reused whenever possible,
otherwise properly placed in triwalls for shipment. Label as: VERMICULITE
Grey Water and Urine Category
Grey water and urine will be collected separately in 55-gallon poly-lined
drums free of chemical and petroleum products. Fuel, oil, and chemical
drums are not acceptable for use and if used will be required to be classified
as "HAZARDOUS WASTE". Label as: GREY WATER or URINE WASTE.
All collection and labeling methods previously described will be used
by all field camps unless otherwise indicated. The ASA Safety, Environment,
and Health (SEH) Waste Management Division will assist you with any potential
modifications due to special field camp requirements.
Waste Management personnel will prepare field kits prior to deploying
to the field camps at the request of the science party and/or camp manager.
14.3 Labeling Waste Containers
All waste will be properly labeled and tagged according to the group
and category. All consolidated categories will be placed in containers/plastic
bags and sealed into drums and/or triwalls. Waste Management located at
the permanent stations will collect the containers/bags and package accordingly
for shipment to the U.S. Waste Management will supply the appropriate
labels for field camps; however, if you do not have a label available,
include the following information on the container(s).
Field Camp Name
Science Event Number
PI and/or Manager
14.4 Hazardous Waste
Antarctic Conservation Act (ACA) regulations identify hazardous waste
as any waste that contains a "designated pollutant." A designated pollutant
is any material identified by any of the U.S. environmental regulations.
This definition is much stricter in identifying hazardous wastes than
the regulations applicable in the U.S. As a result, many wastes not considered
hazardous in the U.S. must be managed as hazardous wastes in Antarctica.
The ACA also mandates detailed tracking of hazardous waste from "cradle
to grave." To accomplish this, waste generators must provide documentation
identifying the hazardous waste. The CSEC or BFC will provide Hazardous
Waste Identification forms and drum tags (for field camps) for this purpose.
All generators must complete the Hazardous Waste Identification Form
or drum tag for all hazardous wastes turned-in and retrograded. The form(s)
should accompany the waste when returned to McMurdo from field camps.
Directions for completing the form will be provided in the CSEC orientation.
It is absolutely critical that all information known about a waste be
provided on the form. Additionally, each waste container should have a
tag or label identifying the date, S-Event, location, name of the waste,
approximate percentage for each constituent of the waste, and process
that generated the waste. Without this information, extensive analytical
testing is required to identify the waste for shipment and disposal.
Each Principal Investigator (PI) is responsible for ensuring that the
proper procedures are followed by each member of their science project.
14.4a Hazardous Waste Categories
From a management standpoint, hazardous waste categories generally fall
into the basic hazard classes:
Generalized categories (described below) have been developed to aid
generators with proper segregation. However, often times wastes that qualify
under a general category may have differing hazard classes. If unsure
of the proper segregation, contact the CSEC laboratory staff for further
guidance. The following paragraphs describe the generalized categories
for segregation. These categories will be used in the CSEC and should
be implemented as necessary at field camps.
Operations Hazardous Waste
Contaminated, used, and excess fuel, oil, glycol, etc. should be retained
in or returned to the original container if possible (or an equivalent),
and returned to the MEC (helicopter supported camps and McMurdo Operations)
or Science Cargo (Hercules supported camps). These containers may have
a Hazardous Waste Identification "short form" already attached. Prior
to return the form should be completed and signed.
Other Waste Items
Empty aerosol cans, batteries (alkaline, lithium, Ni-Cad, lead- acid),
and light bulbs are collected in segregation containers located in the
waste collection areas of the CSEC and BFC. Ask a staff member where items
such as leftover product in the container, small broken appliances or
tools, and broken window glass should go. At field camps, these items
should be segregated by class into drums. A drum tag or "short form' must
be attached and completed prior to retrograde.
The BFC usually distributes hazardous materials to the appropriate work
center when they are returned from the field camps. It is necessary to
properly package and label the container with contents, amount, and science-number
on the tags provided so it may be properly handled. Laboratory Waste
In general, all laboratory wastes should be handled as hazardous and should
be properly segregated. This includes not only reagents and mixtures,
but also laboratory glass and plastic ware contaminated with either hazardous
materials or biologicals, sharps, and other debris (benchliner, gloves,
etc). At field camps, these items should be segregated by class into drums.
A drum tag or "short form" must be attached and completed prior to retrograde.
Bio-hazardous waste is defined as any product that has been contaminated
by microorganisms, human tissues, or animal material including secreta,
excreta, blood, tissues, or tissue fluids. These wastes should be collected
separately from other waste streams in a 55-gallon drum and properly tagged
Chemical wastes generated in laboratories may fall into any of the hazard
classes and must be segregated by their hazard class. Some mixtures can
contain constituents with differing hazard classes, making this determination
difficult. Consult with the laboratory staff if you have wastes like this.
Large volume waste chemicals such as glutaraldehyde, formalin, ethylene
glycol, acetone, methanol, etc., will be collected in 2- to 5-gallon approved
containers or drums located in the waste collection area. It is necessary
to log in the S-Event, quantity, dilution factor, and container contents
each time you add waste to the collection container. Please notify the
CSEC staff when containers are full so they can be turned over to hazardous
waste for retrograde.
Small volume chemicals should be packed in the original containers whenever
possible and labelled as waste. Containers are also available in the main
stock room, if needed. Please label the container as described above and
complete a Hazardous Waste Identification Form. These containers are then
packed in steel overpack drums lined with heavy plastic bags and cushioned
with vermiculite. Photochemical waste should be collected in the labeled
2- to 5-gallon plastic containers located in the darkroom and given to
the CSEC laboratory staff when full.
Radioactive wastes should be collected according to the procedures and
regulations outlined in a separate document distributed at the CSEC orientation.
All empty reagent bottles, jars, vials, pipettes, glass syringes (without
needles), and any other used lab glassware excluding those with highly
toxic (see below) or radioactive residuals should go in these containers.
They do not need to be rinsed prior to disposal. At field camps, collect
these wastes in a properly tagged 55-gallon drum.
All empty reagent bottles, jars, vials, pipettes, plastic syringes (without
needles), and any other used lab plasticware excluding those with highly
toxic (see below) or radioactive residuals. They do not need to be rinsed
prior to disposal. At field camps, collect these wastes in a properly
tagged 55-gallon drum.
All non-glass waste containing residual hazardous materials--including
gloves, contaminated paper products (non-radioisotope), etc., should be
disposed in this bin. At field camps, collect these wastes in a properly
tagged 55-gallon drum.
Highly Toxic Waste
All wastes contaminated with highly toxic chemicals, carcinogens, mutagens,
and poisons (i.e., osmium tetroxide, potassium cyanide, etc) should be
segregated, clearly labeled, and brought to the attention of the lab staff
for turn-over to the Hazardous Waste Department.
Needles and Razor Blades (Sharps)
All needles, razor blades, and other "sharps" should be disposed in the
red sharps containers.
All disposable labware such as plastic beakers, sample bottles, plastic
syringes, etc., contaminated with biological materials (excluding live
cultures and infectious agents) should be disposed in the LAB GLASS or
LAB PLASTIC receptacles.
All labware contaminated with live cultures or infectious agents must
be autoclaved. After sterilization, any nonhazardous liquid materials,
such as phytoplankton cultures, may be disposed of down the sink. Otherwise,
these materials should be collected for disposal. Reusable glassware should
be washed and returned to the stockroom. Place disposable labware in the
proper lab waste receptacle.
14.5 General Waste Handling in The Field
Drawings by David Rosenthal
Removing food contamination from the waste stream in the Antarctic is
very important for the success of waste retrograde and recycling. Food
contamination can be removed directly in the field, making the whole retrograde
process easier. This is a guide with quick hints from other science field
groups for handling waste in the field efficiently.
*[See figure ³WASTE1²]
Glass: When preparing a meal from glass jars, make sure to remove
all contents by using the rubber spatula provided in the Kitchen Box.
Before any jar contents dry, wash jar(s) in used dish water. If washed
directly after dishes, no extra gray water or time is needed. If you use
snow to clean your dishes, it works just as well for glass.
Metal: When empty, cans should be opened at both ends, remaining
contents scraped out, and cans washed in used dish water or snow. Cans
must have labels removed and be flattened. This reduces their volume,
allowing easier transport back to McMurdo.
Aluminum: This consists of aluminum beverage cans only. Cans
should be empty and crushed to reduce volume. They will be shredded and
crushed further in McMurdo for shipment to the U.S. Aluminum cans are
easily and successfully recycled.
Plastic: Plastic food wrappers and containers should be cleaned
like glass or metal containers. A small amount of contamination can cause
rejection of a whole shipment to the U.S. Diminish the amount of plastic(s)
in the field by removing items from their packaging prior to departing
for the field camp. Plastic is not recyclable, blows around, and harms
* [See figure ³WASTE2²]
Gray Water: This is nonhazardous "used water" (dish water, used
cooking water, etc.). Gray water is strained and stored in 55-gallon drums
that are shipped back to McMurdo for retrograde. No other liquid waste
Notes on Field Latrines
A weighted lid should be placed on top of the lined drum to keep both
the lid and the can from blowing away.
Handle the drums of waste carefully to prevent punctures. This will
make everyone's task of disposing of human waste easier and more pleasant.
The seat provided can be placed on top of the can for your comfort.
Please drum any and all human waste in 20-gallon Poly Pack drums.
Chapter 15: Snowmobiles