Revised on
01/26/17 02:06pm
SafetyNet #

Guidelines for Disposal of Chemical Waste

Contact information

All hazardous material and hazardous chemical waste must be picked up by Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) or an EH&S-approved contractor. Instructions  to request pickup are available on the EH&S website. 

Drain Disposal

Drain disposal of non-hazardous materials is strictly regulated. See SafetyNet #6 “Can This Go Down the Drain?” for more information on the Local Limits Program.


Any waste containing regulated carcinogens must be collected by EH&S and disposed of as hazardous chemical waste. Contaminated lab ware, such as small vials and petri dishes, should be placed in secure, double plastic bags and labeled with a hazardous waste label.


All sharp objects such as needles, syringes, and broken glassware must be placed in a hard-walled container and labeled with the hazardous waste label.

Light Bulbs

All fluorescent, metal halide and mercury vapor bulbs are considered hazardous waste and must be disposed of properly. Please contact the Facilities Service Request Center at 530-752-1655 to arrange pickup of your used light bulbs. 

Aerosol Cans

Aerosol cans that contain or previously contained hazardous materials (such as paint or solvents) are considered hazardous waste. These aerosol cans should be labeled with a hazardous waste label and disposed of through EH&S.

Oily Wastes

 Oil soaked rags, absorbent pads or floor sweep must be stored in metal cans with tight fitting lids, and disposed as hazardous waste.

Empty Containers

 Refer to SafetyNet #12 "Why Didn't the Custodian Pick Up My Trash?" and SafetyNet #124 "Empty Container Management".

Packaging and Labeling Requirements

Materials must be properly packaged and labeled for safe transport.

  • Liquids must be in leak-proof containers compatible with liquids. All containers must be securely sealed with lids. Ample headspace should be left in liquid waste bottles to allow for expansion.
  • Do not use “biohazard bags” for anything other than biohazardous materials.
  • Incompatible chemicals must be separated. See SafetyNet #4, “Partial List of Incompatible Materials” for additional information.
  • Waste containers must be labeled when the first drop of waste is added. Use the WASTe application to create a label.
  • Broken mercury thermometers should be placed in the original shipping tubes, with the ends sealed with tape and placed in securely sealed double plastic bags. If the original shipping tube is unavailable, seal the broken ends of the thermometer with tape, and place in securely sealed double plastic bags. Label the plastic bag with a completed hazardous waste label. See SafetyNet #16 “Guidelines for Mercury Spill Control” for additional information.
  • Contact EH&S at 530-752-1493 before packaging unknown chemicals or chemicals in corroded or damaged containers, or if you have questions about the suitability of containers.

Special Wastes

Disposal of the following special wastes should be coordinated with EH&S (530-752-1493):

  • Acid bath pump outs
  • Water-reactive, pyrophoric, organic peroxide, or other special wastes
  • Picric acid, dried, other than dilute picric acid solutions such as Bouin’s fixative
  • Compressed gas cylinder that cannot be returned to the vendor
  • Unknown wastes

See SafetyNet #43 “Identification and Segregation of Chemical Waste” and SafetyNet #34 “Managing Liquid Chemical Waste to Reduce Disposal Cost” for more information on managing hazardous waste. 

Chemical Waste Pickup

Requesting pickup of your hazardous waste:

Your waste will be picked up within five working days of receipt of your request. Please do not call EH&S to request a hazardous waste pick-up.