Waste management

Managing non-radioactive waste

The Laboratory has a centralised waste management system that handles all non-radioactive waste collection and transportation for safe and appropriate disposal. Hazardous waste is sent to a temporary buffer zone and is collected weekly. Metallic and electronic waste are sorted and sold.

CERN implements waste reduction projects and awareness campaigns. CERN’s main objective for waste management is to increase the current recycling rate, which was 56% 2018.

Managing radioactive waste

Radioactive waste management has always been a high priority for CERN. Today it is handled in the framework of the tripartite agreement on radiation protection and radiation safety. The process begins with the initial conception of a facility or experiment, and concludes with disposal of radioactive waste to the final repositories. The generation of radioactive waste is minimised by avoiding, recycling and reusing activated material.

Further information on waste and CERN's recycling rate can be found in the CERN Environment Report.

Typical yearly waste collection

Typical distribution of the waste collected annually at CERN.