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Agricultural Teaching Labs: Background and Overview
Table of Contents
Background and Overview
Reasons for Change
Preventing Pollution
Where To Go for Help
Complete List of Links

Essential Links:

Guides to Pollution Prevention - Research and Educational Institutions
This guide provides an overview of waste generating processes and operations which occur in educati...

The New American Farmer
A 160-page collection of in-depth interviews with farmers and ranchers describing their diverse oper...

Vocational Education in the United States: Toward the Year 2000
Describes trends in participation in secondary and postsecondary vocational education. Also presents...

Various types of career and technical education are offered in U.S. high schools and many include training related to agricultural careers. According to National Center for Education (NCE) statistics, 97% of public high school graduates complete one or more courses in vocational education. There currently are over 11,500 National FFA Organization advisors/agricultural education teachers. One of every five jobs in private industry in the United States is related to agriculture. By teaching agriscience and agribusiness topics, teachers help students learn, grow and develop skills they will carry into their careers.

Agriculture has evolved from a production-centered industry into a competitive field which demands a blend of scientific, technological and business skills. As agricultural and trade industries evolve to meet changing policies, regulations and work force supply and demand, it is increasingly important to train students to keep pace with recent developments.

A typical agricultural education program covers a variety of subjects including biological sciences (animal, plant, horticultural, etc.), mechanics, business management, and technology, among others. Development of critical thinking skills and hands-on experience are enhanced in a laboratory setting. From mechanics to plant growth, many of these teaching areas have the potential to produce hazardous and harmful wastes. Common wastes produced are listed in the following table:

Potential Wastes and Hazardous Materials by Laboratory Area

Horticulture/ Floriculture

Herbicides; insecticides; fertilizers


Stains; solvents; wood preservatives; paints; stripping and cleaning solutions; glues


Metal dust and shavings; acids; bases

Engine and Vehicle Repair

Degreasing solvents; oil; grease; batteries; acids; alkaline waste; paints; thinners; used filters


Muriatic acid; alkaline waste; paints; additives

Welding and Cutting

Stripping and cleaning solutions; acids; bases; metal dust and shavings; metal waste; compressed gasses; fluxes

Livestock Production

Manure; bedding; stormwater runoff from lots; pesticides; pharmaceuticals; carcasses; tank sludge from aquaculture

Adapted from: Guide to Pollution Prevention: Research and Educational Institutions, EPA,1990

Though high school teaching labs typically produce small quantities, a wide variety of wastes may be produced. Small quantities and large variety can make waste tracking more difficult and may require additional expertise. This hub provides an overview of waste-generating processes and operations in teaching labs. It also presents options for minimizing waste through source reduction and recycling. The agriculture industry benefits greatly from reuse, recycling and byproduct use. Reduction of agricultural waste (before its creation) in teaching labs and recycling or reusing small quantities on- or off-site will be of equal benefit to educational institutions by reducing disposal costs and increasing safety.


The Topic Hub™ is a product of the Pollution Prevention Resource Exchange (P2Rx)

The Agricultural Teaching Labs Topic Hub™ was developed by:

Peaks to Prairies Pollution Prevention Center
Peaks to Prairies Pollution Prevention Center
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Hub Last Updated: 5/15/2013