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Chemical Waste


The following guidelines are to be used for the safe handling and disposal of Hazardous Chemical Waste at Ohio University. No Radioactive Waste will be handled through this procedure. Consult the Radiation Safety Handbook for the proper disposal of Radioactive Waste. No Biohazard or Asbestos Waste will be handled by this procedure. Consult the Biosafety Manual and Asbestos Manual (found on the Program Documents page).


See Policy procedure here.

The responsibility for chemical waste identification, labeling, and packaging rests with the principal investigator or area supervisor. The principal investigator or area supervisor should follow all of the procedures in the guidelines and provide proper instruction to personnel under their supervision.

When ordering chemicals, minimize volumes by purchasing the smallest quantity of a chemical consistent with experimental protocol. Chemicals should be dated when received in a permanent and legible fashion. This procedure will aid in evaluating the hazard when a particular chemical becomes waste. Frequently chemical suppliers will attempt to sell more chemicals for less, please don't buy surplus chemicals. Surplus chemicals tend to end up in the chemical waste stream at a later date.


  1. Chemicals should always be segregated according to compatibility and hazard class.
  2. Excess or outdated chemicals should not be allowed to accumulate in any location to a point that would create an unsafe working environment for laboratory personnel. NOTE: Before disposing of excess chemicals, determine if any other researcher has a need for them.
  3. Inventories of all chemicals in each laboratory should be conducted every year. Check for damaged labels, outdated chemicals, damaged containers, and peroxide forming compounds.
  4. Do not overfill containers.
  5. Only mix compatible wastes.


3.1 Hazardous Wastes Generated in the Lab

  1. 1. Identify your waste stream. Select a container for waste collection, ensuring that the container is appropriate for the waste stream. The waste must not weaken or destroy the container, and the container must have a sealable lid. (example: Do not use a metal container to store a corrosive mixture.) Place the collection container into a secondary containment device; this is a tray or dish to collect spills or leaks. The secondary container must be able to contain the volume of the primary container.
  2. Place a red hazardous waste sticker on the container. Fill out the contents, building and room number. Write a description of the type of waste to be collected (organic solvents, aqueous acids, etc.) Contact the Safety Department Hazardous Materials Manager to request the hazardous waste stickers (
  3. Do not mix hazardous waste streams or hazardous and non-hazardous wastes.
Hazardous Waste Label
  1. Transfer waste to the container using a funnel to reduce spills. Ensure that the waste put into the container will not undergo further reaction causing hazardous pressurization of the container.
  2. The cap must be used to seal the waste container except when the container is actively being filled.
  3. Select a location for the container and secondary containment device where it can be easily accessed, but is not likely to be knocked over. If needed, store the waste in a chemical fume hood or in a cabinet.
  4. Keep a list of chemicals that are added to the waste container. You can keep the list directly on the red sticker. Or you can keep the list elsewhere to be added to the sticker, or attached to the container, when the container is full. Waste containers MUST be removed when they are full. You must request that the waste be removed from your lab.
  5. For waste removal to occur, you must:
  1. Complete the information on the yellow sticker. Example of sticker shown below.
Hazardous Waste Card
  1. Complete a Chemical Waste Disposal Form [Excel]
  2. Email or send the completed form to the Hazardous Materials Manager at or through campus mail to Hazardous Materials Manager, Safety Department, University Service Center.
  3. Please call the Facilities Management and Safety Work Center at 740-593-2911 to submit a work request for collection.
  4. The Hazardous Materials manager will pick-up the waste from your area, and store it in an accumulation area until it can be removed from campus by hazardous waste contractors.
  1. Being as complete as possible in identifying the waste on the sticker and forms helps to:
  1. Ensure the Hazardous Materials Manager handles the waste properly.
  2. Allow the disposal company to properly handle the material, recycle it when possible and treat it when necessary.
  3. Keep costs down. Any unidentified waste must be tested prior to treatment or disposal.
  4. Identify unidentified containers.
  1. Call Cliff Hamilton at (740)593-1663 for help.

3.2 Disposal of Unwanted Chemicals

When to Dispose of Chemicals?

- If the chemical is not wanted.
- If the expiration date on the container has passed.
- If the chemical has a change (separated, formed crystals, changed color, etc.) such that the chemical can no longer be used for its intended purpose.

To dispose of the chemicals please:

  1. Label the container clearly and accurately with a yellow/orange hazardous waste label. Include the hazard information and the date.
  2. Store the hazardous waste as outlined on the other side of this sheet.
  3. Request that the Hazardous Materials Manager pick-up the waste by completing and submitting a Chemical Waste Disposal Form [Excel]


If the EPA inspects hazardous waste in your lab, what will they be looking for?

►If any outside agency asks to inspect your lab: ask the agency to wait until there is a Safety Department representative, and call the Safety Department at 593-1666.◄

  • Do you know what hazardous waste you generate?
  • Have the following been posted by the telephone?
    • Name and telephone number of emergency coordinator (OUPD 593-1911 & Safety Department 593-1666)
    • Location of fire and spill control equipment
    • Telephone number of local fire department (911)
    • Are employees familiar with waste handling and emergency procedures?
  • Are steps taken to minimize the possibility of fire, explosion, or any unplanned release of hazardous waste?
  • For your waste storage areas (also called satellite accumulation areas)
    • Are they near the point of generation?
    • Are they under the control of the waste generator?
    • Do they have closed containers that are compatible with their contents and well maintained?
    • Are the containers marked with the words “hazardous waste” and other words identifying the contents?
    • Containers handled in a manner to prevent rupture or leakage?
  • Is the start of accumulation date on the container?

Here is a printable emergency information sign [PDF]. Be sure to complete your area-specific information.

Questions regarding the chemical waste program should be addressed to the Environmental Engineer or call 740-593-1663.