Frequently Asked Questions

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As a general note, email with any question comments or concerns, we will gladly reply

How should a Hazardous Waste container be labeled?

Every container should first be labeled with the words “Hazardous Waste” at the top, then it should be followed by a list of the chemicals in the container, using full chemical name not formulas or abbreviations. If there is any hazard of other important information it should also be labeled (i.e. Toxic, Flammable, Corrosive, Water/Air Reactive, Oxidizer, Explosive, etc.).

What if there isn’t enough room to list all chemicals on the label?

Write down the ones with the largest volume and the ones that cause the most hazards.

What to do with waste containers that have unknowns?

Label the containers with the words “Hazardous Waste” at the top, then it should be followed by “Unknowns”. If you believe you know the contents write that below unknowns. Please contact us for proper disposal methods.

What container should be used for Hazardous Waste?

The Hazardous Waste may be placed in the same receptacle it was originally stored in and then properly labeled to be disposed of. If the receptacle is still being used for the original substance or would not like to be disposed of email with your building, room, the chemical(s) being used, whether it is a solid or liquid, quantity being produced, and frequency of production. The Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S) will then supply you with the proper container to use. Please do not use containers that have had other uses, such as old food containers.

When are the Hazardous Waste containers removed?

When your container is near full please email for waste pickup. Please provide the following information: your building, room number, container size(s), and chemical name(s).

What to do if the Hazardous Waste container is not full but no longer needed?

Email with the your building, room, container size(s), and chemical name(s) indicating that you will no longer be producing this waste.

Does the waste have to be segregated?

All Hazardous Waste must be segregated to prevent incompatible mixtures. Segregation can be by hazard class. Hazard class examples include: Flammable, Oxidizer, Pyrophoric, Reactive, Reducer, Acid, Base, and Toxic. For more information on specific chemical incompatibility, consult a safety data sheet (SDS) or feel free to email

What goes in the broken glass container?

ONLY glass. It is okay for contaminated glass to be placed in the Bucket/Box? No. only uncontaminated broken glass must go into those containers that can then be disposed of as regular trash.

Materials with a chemical exemplifying the characteristics of Toxic, Flammable, Corrosive, Water/Air Reactive, Oxidizer, Explosive go into different waste containers that required pick-up; please email

Where should I dispose of plastic?

Plastic cannot be combined with glass in broken glass containers. If you have plastic wastes please email for a waste container for plastic.

What if the container is too big or too small?

Email with your building, room, the chemical(s) being used, whether it is a solid or liquid, current container size, amount of quantity being produced, frequency of production and suggestion of desired size.

Where should the Hazardous Waste be stored?

They should be stored in a Satellite Accumulation Area over a secondary container (in case of spills) properly closed and labeled. If there is any flammable Hazardous Waste it should be stored in the flame cabinet.

Is secondary containment necessary?

For liquid waste it is NECESSARY to have secondary containment to ensure that no fluids goes down a sewage drain or even spread over the lab. A properly closed solids container is encouraged to have secondary containment.

Can the Hazardous Waste container be kept opened?

No, Hazardous Waste containers must be kept tightly closed at all times, except when actively adding Hazardous Waste.

How should rags, paper towels and gloves that have come in contact with waste solvent be handled?

Any contaminated solids must be placed in a bucket with a proper label with the words “Hazardous Waste” at the top, then it should be followed by the list of chemicals they are contaminated with followed by “solids”.

Can chemicals be poured down the drain with lots of extra water?

NO!!! It is not permissible by federal regulations to take waste that is the end product of a process and treat it to render it “non-hazardous.” Also, federal regulations state the mixing of a hazardous waste with a non-hazardous waste creates waste which is still considered hazardous. So you cannot dilute a waste with water to make it non-hazardous.

Can inorganic acid waste be mixed in one container?

Yes, inorganic acid waste may be mixed together providing the concentrations are similar (very concentrated acids such as 96% sulfuric acid must not be mixed with a very dilute acid 0.1% hydrochloric acid). Please include the percentage of each individual acid in the mixture on the Hazardous Waste label. Hydrofluoric acid must be stored and labeled separately from other inorganic acids whenever the process permits. Feel free to email for any questions.

Can flammable solvent wastes be mixed together, like acetone, methanol, hexane and ethanol?

Yes, flammable solvent wastes can be commingled in the same Hazardous Waste container, but the percentage ranges must be listed individually for each constituent. Halogenated solvent wastes containing Fluorine, Chlorine, Bromine, and Iodine (e.g., methylene chloride, tetrachloroethylene, and trichloroethane), must be collected separately from non-halogenated wastes such as acetone, hexane, and ethanol. Feel free to email for any questions.

Can wastes be treated to make it non-hazardous?

Yes, simple treatment of hazardous waste to render it non-hazardous can be done; however the EH&S office must be informed to ensure the product is non-hazardous. This can be done by emailing