Department of Environmental Conservation

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School Chemical Management

There are many old, outdated and unused chemicals in a typical high school chemical storeroom. Large stores of unused chemicals can overwhelm storage areas and cause unsafe learning environments.

Performing a Chemical Inventory

The first step to a sustainable chemical management system is to perform a complete chemical inventory every year.

  • With a complete chemical inventory, school personnel will know where items are stored and how much of a given chemical is on hand. This will lead to smarter purchasing practices and compliance with the school's chemical hygiene plans.
  • Schools that have multiple storage locations will need to assess all locations.
  • The Chemical Inventory Worksheet Template (PDF, 26 KB) was developed to aid schools in performing an inventory.

Organizing and Storing School Chemicals

  • The next step is to organize the chemicals listed in the inventory.
  • Never organize chemicals alphabetically!
  • There are generally two ways to organize a chemical storeroom: the Flinn method and the color coding method.
  • Both systems are safe, and each has advantages and disadvantages. Generally, the color coding method will require less space than the Flinn method.
  • DEC created Chemical Storage and Handling Recommendations (PDF, 25 KB) to help inform schools of proper storage conditions.

Additional Resources for School Chemical Management