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Chemical wastes that cannot be neutralized or deactivated in the lab as described in Section 2 and Section 3 must be collected for disposal by EH&S.

4.1 Preparing Hazardous Chemical Waste for EH&S Collection

Segregate and use appropriate containers for each type of waste.

Use separate containers for each type of chemical waste. Segregation enables EH&S to use the best available disposal option for each chemical.

4.2 Containment

4.2.1 Solvents

Solvents should be contained in one-gallon glass bottles or in a DOT-approved five-gallon carboy. Carboys will be returned to the lab for reuse.

4.2.2 Corrosives

Corrosives should be contained in glass bottles.

4.2.3 Reactives

Reactives should be sealed and double-contained in waterproof and airtight containers. Some examples of air and water reactives are listed below.

Air Reactives

Water Reactives

Alkali metals*

Alkali metals

Metal carbonyls

Organic acid halides of low molecular weight

Grignard reagents


*Alkali metals include potassium and sodium metals. Potassium metals may form peroxides. See Section 4.6, Special Instructions for Peroxide-Forming Chemicals.

4.2.4 Solid Chemical Wastes

Hazardous wastes in solid form should be collected in clear plastic bags provided by EH&S. Bags of hazardous waste must be kept closed when not in use. It is recommended that hazardous waste bags be placed into a plastic bucket with a lid during accumulation, and then removed from the bucket for pick-up by EH&S. Use of the bucket's lid to keep the waste closed is easier than taping a bag closed after each use.

4.3 Waste Storage

4.3.1 Storing Waste

When storing containers of hazardous waste in the laboratory, segregate each class of waste according to the chemical storage and segregation principles described in Chapter III. Waste should not be stored in the fume hood. Storage in the cabinets under the fume hood or in other chemical storage cabinets is recommended.

Labs that generate large volumes of liquid waste may use approved five-gallon or smaller carboys. These carboys may be stored on the floor only when secondary containment trays are used. Containment trays are provided by EH&S.

4.3.2 Accumulation Time Limits

Waste should not be accumulated in the laboratory for longer than six months. If it takes longer than six months to fill a waste container, a smaller container should be used. Small waste containers save space and minimize volumes of hazardous waste stored in the laboratory.When a container is full, it should be collected by EH&S on the next scheduled waste collection day for that building (listed in Section 4.4.1 below).

4.3.3 Closed Containers

All containers of hazardous waste must be kept closed at all times, except when adding waste.

Bottles, carboys, bags, buckets, and all other containers must be securely closed when not in use. A closed container prevents spills and evaporation of the waste. When not in use, funnels must be removed from the waste container and the lid secured.

Special funnels with double closing mechanisms are available for purchase, if frequent dumping of waste is necessary. Contact EH&S for information or approval.

HPLC and other process waste lines must be routed into waste containers through special caps or fittings which allow the container's lid to remain in place at all times. Contact EH&S for information on HPLC waste caps and containers.

4.3.4 Labels

Each container of hazardous waste must be labeled with a hazardous waste label (provided by EH&S). The label must be affixed to the container as soon as the first drop of waste is added to the container. The label must contain the following information:

  1. Lab info (room number, employee name, phone number/extension);
  2. Date accumulation began, and date container was full;
  3. Chemical contents (list each component of waste and percentage of total mixture); and
  4. Hazards of waste: check all hazard boxes that apply.

4.3.5 Unused Chemicals

Partially used or unused chemicals still in original containers with original labels should not be labeled with a hazardous waste label. Such containers should be labeled with a post-it, piece of tape, or otherwise indicated for EH&S collection.

4.3.6 Empty Chemical Containers

If the container is labeled with an EH&S inventory barcode, the container should be set aside for EH&S collection. It is necessary for EH&S to collect barcoded containers to maintain an accurate chemical inventory. Labs should use a cardboard box to accumulate empty bottles for EH&S pickup. When full, the box of empty containers will be collected when EH&S is notified as described in the Waste Collection Procedure that follows.

4.3.7 Empty Hazardous Materials Containers

Empty containers that held hazardous materials should be set aside for EH&S collection. Some containers, although empty, are still considered hazardous waste because of their residue, and the rinsate may not be sewered. Containers which held buffers, media, enzymes, salts, and lab-mixed chemicals do not need to be collected by EH&S.

4.4 Hazardous Waste Collection

4.4.1 Waste Collection Schedule

EH&S collects waste from each laboratory building according to the following schedule:


Waste Collection Day

Weintraub A


Weintraub B










4.4.2 Waste Collection Procedure

  1. Make sure that waste is ready for pick-up.
  2. Label waste properly.
  3. Waste containers must be closed and in good condition.

Notify EH&S

  1. Labs that have waste to be collected should request a pick-up by sending an e-mail to EH&S. The requested pick-up will be completed on the following collection day for your respective building.
  2. Information such as type of waste, and location of waste should be included in the e-mail. This e-mail request system can also be used to request hazardous waste supplies or to ask questions concerning hazardous waste.

4.5 Special Instructions for Residual Cytotoxic Waste

Residual cytotoxic waste is any item contaminated with chemotherapy agents, also called antineoplastic or chemotherapeutic agents. Such items most often include contaminated needles, vials, intravenous tubing, bottles and bags, linen, masks, gloves, and lab coats. Wastes containing more than residual amounts (such as non-empty vials or syringes) must be segregated and collected as hazardous chemical waste as described in Sections 4.3 and 4.4.

Residual cytotoxic waste must be separated and disposed of differently from other hazardous chemical wastes and biohazard waste.

4.5.1 Accumulation

Solids, including sharps, contaminated with residual cytotoxic wastes should be collected in rigid plastic yellow chemotherapy waste containers or other properly-labeled rigid and leakproof containers. Standard red sharps containers must not be used. Yellow chemotherapy waste bins are available at the Hutchinson Center through EH&S.

4.5.2 Labeling

If using a container other than a yellow chemotherapy waste container, it must be clearly labeled Residual Cytotoxic Waste. All containers must be labeled with the lab number, PI, and date.

4.5.3 Collection

When the box is full, secure the lid for pickup by EH&S. Do not place the container in the hallway, and do not autoclave cytotoxic waste. Cytotoxic waste from laboratories must be collected by EH&S. Follow the procedures described in Section 4.4 to have the waste picked up.

4.6 Special Instructions for Peroxide-forming Chemicals

Warning: Do not disturb a container of a peroxide-forming chemical or mixture that has been stored several months beyond its storage limit, nor one that is not marked with its first opening date. Call EH&S immediately.

  1. Read Chapter III, Section 12.8, Peroxide Formers.
  2. Peroxide-forming chemicals, such as diethyl ether, should be given to EH&S for disposal within 6 months of opening or 1 year of receipt.
  3. Seal the container, complete the hazardous waste label, and apply it to the container.
    Note: EH&S combines many waste mixtures. It is essential to the safety of EH&S hazardous waste staff to be notified of any amount of peroxide-forming chemicals in the mixtures they transport and treat. Make sure the hazardous waste label lists the presence of peroxides or peroxide-formers.
  4. Call EH&S or have the container ready for pickup as described in the collection procedure in Section 4.4.

4.7 Mercury Thermometer Disposal

4.7.1 Non-broken Mercury Thermometers for Disposal

Mercury thermometers, even when not broken, must be disposed of as hazardous waste. When possible, place the thermometer in the original plastic case or cardboard box. Thermometers (including those in original packaging) must be double-bagged in two zip-lock type bags. Write the date on the outer bag and schedule a pick-up from EH&S according to the procedure described in Section 4.4 for hazardous waste collection. A hazardous waste label should not be used on non-broken mercury thermometers.

4.7.2 Broken Mercury Thermometers for Disposal

Never place mercury thermometers, broken or not, into sharps containers for disposal.

If the thermometer is broken or non-functioning but otherwise still intact and containing mercury, prepare it for pickup according to same instructions for non-broken thermometers above, except label the bag with a hazardous waste label provided by EH&S. If the thermometer has broken and released mercury contents into the lab, do the following:

  1. Do not handle the mercury or the thermometer.
  2. Do not place any part of the broken glass into a sharps container.
  3. Alert other employees and restrict access to the area where the mercury was spilled.
  4. Notify EH&S immediately for proper clean-up and disposal of the mercury and thermometer.

4.8 Hazardous Materials Recycling and Universal Waste

The EH&S department recycles several materials that are regulated as hazardous wastes. Because these wastes are recycled, the standard procedures for collecting and labeling hazardous wastes described earlier do not always apply to these wastes.

4.8.1 Lead

Lead is regulated as a hazardous chemical waste and cannot be buried as radioactive waste.

Lead waste, which includes lead shipping containers ("pigs"), lead sheeting, and lead bricks, is recycled, so make sure the lead is not contaminated with radioactive material.

Contaminated lead must be cleaned by lab personnel before it is given to EH&S. Any contaminated lead will not be accepted by EH&S.

Place the lead in a sturdy cardboard box. Please do not overfill the box with lead, and keep the weight of the box under 20 pounds. Label the box with your name and room number.

When lifting a load of lead, bend at the knees and lift with your legs while keeping your back straight. Do not twist while lifting.

4.8.2 Batteries

Batteries of all types including alkaline, nickel cadmium, nickel metal hydride, lead acid, lithium, and others that are used at the center must be given to EH&S for proper recycling and disposal.

Batteries should be delivered in person to EH&S at AD-140, PHS E-level parking entrance and deposited into the appropriate bin, depending on the battery type. Additional information regarding which batteries are accepted at each location are described on the EH&S website.

Very small quantities of batteries may be mailed via interoffice mail to EH&S, AD-140. If batteries are to be accumulated in the laboratory prior to disposal at one of the EH&S drop-off locations, the container used for collecting batteries must be:

  1. Of good quality to contain the batteries appropriately;
  2. Kept closed except when adding more batteries;
  3. Labeled with the words Universal Waste-Batteries; and
  4. Dated as soon as the first battery is added to the container.

Batteries from personal or home use should not be deposited in Center collection bins. Refer to the website above for additional information on recycling personal batteries.

4.8.3 X-Ray Film

X-ray film is recycled for its silver content. Used x-ray film should be delivered to EH&S, AD-140.

4.8.4 Photo Fixer

Spent photo fixer is recycled for its silver content. If the service provider for your processor does not collect the spent fixer, it must be given to EH&S for silver recovery. Accumulate the spent fixer in a five-gallon carboy (available from EH&S) and store the carboy closed and inside of a secondary containment tray (also available from EH&S). Label the fixer as hazardous waste and prepare for collection according to Section 4.4.

4.8.5 Microscope and UV Light Tubes

Some high-intensity light tubes used in microscopes contain mercury and must be disposed of accordingly. All mercury-containing microscope light tubes should be placed in the original package and delivered to EH&S at AD-140. Alternatively, tubes can be given to EH&S during the normal waste collection schedule described in Section 4.4.

UV light tubes used in biosafety cabinets also may contain mercury. UV tubes should be given to Facilities Engineering for proper disposal with other mercury-containing fluorescent light tubes.

UV, fluorescent, and microscope light tubes containing mercury must never be disposed of in the normal garbage.

4.8.6 Computers and Monitors

Computers and computer monitors have cathode ray tubes (CRTs), which contain heavy metals and must not be disposed of with regular garbage. For proper disposal, submit an Equipment Conveyance and Work Order form to Material Management.