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Department of Chemistry Chemistry Storeroom

Chemical Waste Disposal


Proper containment, tagging, collection and disposal are essential to the success of the Hazardous Waste Program. The following sections discuss these areas.


Hazardous waste collection containers must be in good condition, must not leak, must be clean on the outside, must have a “dangerous Waste” label attached, and must be compatible with their hazardous contents (e.g., do not use metal containers for corrosive waste ect.). All containers must have suitable screw caps or other secure means of closure.

If you are reusing a container to accumulate waste, destroy the original product label. The identity of the contents must be labeled before waste goes in and can be updated later, and the words “Dangerous Waste”.


  • Never overfill hazardous waste containers (Never go over an 80% full line). Expansion and excess weight can lead to spills, explosion, and extensive environmental exposure.
  • Hazardous waste containers for liquids are generally rated by volume capacity. Allow extra room in liquid containers to allow for expansion of contents.
  • Do not fill jugs or bottles past the shoulder of the container. The shoulder of the container is the place where the container slopes in towards the neck.
  • Fill containers for solids no closer than two inches from the closure.
  • Keep all waste collection containers closed except when adding or removing material.

Hazardous Waste Label


When a container is ready for disposal, complete a waste tag (available from the STOREROOM-FULMER 23) and attach it to the container. A waste disposal tag must be attached to each waste container before disposal.

Follow these guidelines for completing hazardous waste tags:

  • Use full chemical names or common names. CHEMICAL FORMULAS OR ABBREVIATIONS ARE NOT ACCEPTABLE
  • List all chemical components in the waste container, including water. Long lists may be continued on a separate label attached to the container. The chemical must be named, no abbreviations, nor chemical notation (e.g. water not H2O, ethanol not ETOH, Tetrahydrofuran, not THF…)
  • Indicate the percent concentration. You have the best knowledge of the contents of the container, and an estimate done by you is much better than anyone else. The percents must total to 100%.
  • Indicate the major hazard by checking the appropriate hazard on the label. Check that a date is on the bottle.
  • Place additional hazard information on a separate label.
  • Print research lab name/building and room number and a contact phone number on the tag.

To make calculating percent concentration easier, a list placed by the container may be used to list the additions, and the percent concentration estimated when the container is full. It is preferable to use weight percent if at all possible.

If feasible, separate halogenated solvents from non-halogenated, but this is not required by our current contractor.



Containers with improper caps, leaks, outside contamination, or improper labeling will not be accepted until these problems have been corrected.

Improper disposal methods for hazardous chemical waste include the following:

  • Disposal down the drain
  • Intentional evaporation in a fume hood
  • Disposal in the regular trash


What do I do with empty chemical containers? How do I get rid of them? Can they be placed in the trash dumpster? These are questions frequently asked by department personnel. The answer is fairly simple but very important.

EPA regulations stipulate that empty containers must meet the following requirements:

  • Containers must be triple rinsed.(For Acutely Hazardous chemicals (list found in the SPPM Sections S70.42.5-8) this rinsate must be disposed of as dangerous waste-contact Gary about what chemicals are on this restricted list.)
  • Product labels must be defaced or removed.
  • Container lids or caps must be removed.
  • However empty containers, with lids, may be returned to the store room once they have been rinsed. These containers are useful for waste disposal by others.
  • Metal containers can be given to the storeroom for disposal/recycling.
  • Containers that do not meet the requirements mentioned here must be treated as hazardous waste.

Information on Recycling or Disposal of Chemical Wastes can also be found in