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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There are many old, outdated and unused chemicals in a typical high school chemical storeroom.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 create unsafe learning environments. To learn about how to find use less-toxic chemicals and potentially reduce chemical inventories, please visit our page on Green Chemistry.

Need help cleaning out your school's chemical inventory? CleanSweepNY is a program of the DEC's Bureau of Pesticides Management. It is an effort to safely and economically dispose of canceled, unwanted, unusable, or otherwise obsolete pesticides and other chemicals. Schools can take advantage of this program as a convenient opportunity to clean out their chemical inventories in a safe, organized, and cost-effective way. Check out the fact sheet (PDF, 1.01 MB) to learn more about how CleanSweep may be able to help your school!

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

  • 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.
  • Refer to Chemical Storage and Handling Recommendations (PDF, 25 KB) which helps inform schools of proper storage conditions.

Additional Resources for School Chemical Management