Revised on
05/16/17 11:37am
SafetyNet #

Chemical Waste Disposal Guidelines

Contact information

A. Summary

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 for pick-up are available on the EH&S website.

B. Drain Disposal

Drain disposal of non-hazardous materials is strictly regulated (See: SafetyNet #6: Drain Disposal Guidelines for more information on the Local Limits Program), while disposing of hazardous materials down the drain is strictly prohibited. Contact EH&S with any questions about what can go down the drain.

C. Carcinogens

Carcinogens are chemicals that are capable of causing cancer or tumor development, typically after repeated or chronic exposure. Any waste containing regulated carcinogens must be collected by EH&S and disposed of as hazardous chemical waste. Contaminated lab equipment, such as small vials and petri dishes, should be placed in secure, double plastic bags and labeled with a hazardous waste label. All departments that handle Carcinogens shall have a written standard operating procedures (SOP) on hand for laboratory personnel to reference.

D. Sharps

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. See: SafetyNet #3: Sharps Safety Guidelines for additional handling and disposal instructions.

E. Light Bulbs

All fluorescent, metal halide and mercury vapor bulbs are considered hazardous waste, because they contain mercury vapor that may be released to the environment when they are broken. Please contact the Facilities Service Request Center at 530-752-1655 to arrange for pick-up of your used light bulbs as chemical waste, or use the WASTe application for disposal of broken bulbs or tubes as hazardous waste.

F. 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. See: SafetyNet #21: Minimizing Aerosol Exposure Guidelines for more information.

G. Oily Wastes

Oil-soaked rags, absorbent pads, or floor sweep must be stored in metal cans with tight fitting lids, and disposed of as hazardous waste. Metal cans can safely store materials exposed to oils that may be combustible.

H. Empty Containers

Empty containers may have previously held hazardous material, and therefore must be disposed of as chemical waste. See: SafetyNet #124: Empty Container Management for more information on safe disposal guidelines.

I. Packaging and Labeling Requirements

Materials must be properly packaged and labeled for safe transport. Please follow the appropriate packaging and labeling requirements below:

  • 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: Partial List of Incompatible Materials for additional information.
  • Waste containers must be labeled appropriately once 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 (530-752-1493) before packaging unknown chemicals, or chemicals in corroded or damaged containers, or if you have questions about the suitability of containers.

J. 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.

K. Chemical Waste Pickup

Use the WASTe application to request a chemical waste pickup. 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.