Gordon L. Nelson Health Sciences Building

Frequently Asked Questions

As a general note, email or 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. All applicable hazards should also be included on the label. (i.e. Toxic, Flammable, Corrosive, Reactive, Explosive, etc.) EHS can provide labels upon request. 

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. Please contact us by email with concerns:

What to do with waste containers that have unknowns?

Every effort should be made to ensure all chemicals are labeled at all times to prevent unknowns. Label the containers with the words “Unknown” at the top, followed by "Pending analysis." If you believe you know the contents write that below. Testing will need to be done on all unknowns; any testing outside the scope of EHS's abilities will be charged to the producer of the unknowns

Please contact EHS 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, use the following link to request a container. The Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) 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?

EHS does weekly checks of all the laboratories; when your container is near full please we will remove the container and replace it for you. If you are need of a new container prior to our weekly visit, you may use the following link: request a new container. 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. Incompatible materials must be stored in separate containers in separate secondary containment. Common incompatible mixtures include: acids / bases, flammables / oxidizers, and acids / cyanides.

What goes in the broken glass container?

ONLY glass (non-contaminated). 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. Facilities Department contracted service provider will pick-up the broken glass box. 

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

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, and frequency of production.

Where should the Hazardous Waste be stored?

Hazardous wastes should be stored in a Satellite Accumulation Area over a secondary container (in case of spills) properly closed and labeled.

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 or venting.

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

These items do not meet the criteria for "hazardous waste" and may be disposed of with municipal trash.

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.

Exceptions include: Hydrofluoric acid, which must be stored and labeled separately from other inorganic acids, and Nitric acid which should be disposed of as oxidizer waste.

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. 

Can wastes be treated to make it non-hazardous?

NO. Hazardous waste treatment requires special permits that Florida Tech does not hold. 

What do I do with empty containers?

Empty containers, even if they previously held a hazardous material, are not considered hazardous waste if:

  • The container did not previously contain a P-listed material.
  • All wastes that can be removed have been removed, and
  • No more than 2.5 centimeters (one inch) of residue remain on the bottom of the container, OR
  • No more than 3% by weight of the total capacity of the container remains if the container is less than 119 gallons.

Before disposal, all GHS symbols must be defaced and all lids must be removed from containers. EHS collects containers that are too large to fit in a trash can. Small glass bottles may be disposed of in a broken glass box, and small plastic bottles may be disposed of in the trash. If you are unsure if a chemical is P-listed, set the container aside for EHS.

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