Environmental Health and Safety

Hazardous Waste

Disposal Procedures

To prevent injury, minimize environmental health hazards and meet regulatory requirements, campus laboratories, studios, workshops, etc. must comply with the following chemical waste disposal procedures.

  • Individuals may be held criminally liable for violations of applicable laws and regulations.
  • Do not dispose of chemicals in the sink or the trash cans.
  • Do not use fume hoods to intentionally evaporate chemicals.

How to Handle Chemical Waste

Minimize Initial Generation

  • Review each experimental protocol to assure that hazardous and radioactive reagents are used efficiently and that excess purchases are minimized.
  • Conduct microscale processes to minimize hazardous materials used and waste generated.
  • Use substances which can be neutralized or stabilized, either physically or chemically. Use radioactive materials which can be practically stored for decay (half-lives less than 60 days).
  • Substitute materials presenting the lowest degree of hazard for materials presenting a greater hazard.

Comply with Requirements for Waste Storage

Ensure all chemicals are stored in containers designed for those chemicals.

  • Liquid waste in screw top containers only (do not fill containers more than 80%).
  • Containers must be completely sealed to prevent spillage (no open beakers or rubber stoppers!).
  • Outside of containers must be clean and free of any contamination.
  • Containers must be compatible with the contents.
  • Food containers are not acceptable for storing chemicals.

Appropriately Label each Container

  • Do not lose track of container contents! All unknowns must be analyzed and their hazardous contents identified. (The cost to identify an unknown chemical can exceed $1,700.00, and will be charged to the department that generated the waste, Presidential Memorandum 95–02).
  • Use only pre-printed labels approved by the Department of Environmental Health and Safety.
  • Waste must be identified by chemical name, spelled out. Labels such as “Inorganic Waste” and “Organic Solvent” are not adequate (no abbreviations; no formulas).
  • All constituents in mixtures —solids and liquids— must be identified and their concentrations stated as accurately as practicable (not reaction products).
  • If new labels are attached, any existing label must be removed or lined out.

Properly Segregate the Chemicals

Segregate solids, liquids , and gases.

  • Segregate chemicals into the following categories:
  • Acids of pH<2 (do not mix).
  • Alkaline solutions of pH>12.5 (do not mix).
  • Alkali metals and other water reactives.
  • Heavy metal solutions and salts.
  • Chemical carcinogens.
  • Halogenated organics.
  • Non-halogenated organics.
  • Peroxide-forming chemicals.
  • Strong oxidizers.
  • Cyanides.
  • Other toxic materials.
  • Biohazard Agents: Contact EH&S at x5126 or your supervisor for more information.

Dispose of Properly

  • To arrange for a chemical waste pickup, please fill out a Request for Removal of Hazardous Waste Form (PDF) and send it to EH&S via campus mail to zip 019 within 60 days of accumulation start date.
  • EH&S cannot accept responsibility for improperly labeled and/or improperly sealed containers and will not pick them up.
  • Transferring of waste into appropriate containers is the generator's responsibility.
  • Waste containers become the property of EH&S and will not be returned.
  • To discuss waste minimization and disposal procedures for you lab, contact EH&S at ext. 5126.
  • For emergencies involving chemical spills, call ext. 5126 for technical assistance. EH&S will advise and assist lab personnel in handling spills. It is the responsibility of those working with the materials to be prepared for emergencies and to cleanup small spills and contain larger spills.
  • Do not throw cleanup material that has been contaminated with chemicals into the trash. Label appropriately and treat as hazardous waste.

Instructions for Completing the New Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS)

Contribute to a safe working environment. Your cooperation is appreciated.