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Controlled Substances: Disposal

Learn how to properly dispose of controlled substances (CS).

Return all unused CS to the Controlled Substances Program (CSP) for disposal.

When to request CS disposal

  • A project closes or is terminated and a CS is still in supply
  • A CSUA expires and a renewal has not been submitted
  • The PI determines a CS is no longer required
  • The PI terminates employment
  • The CS expires
Are you in the right place? To dispose of pharmaceuticals that are not controlled substances, see Pharmaceuticals Disposal.

Expiring inventory reminders

CS Lab Contacts will be reminded up to 70 days in advance of an inventory item’s expiration date by email. Notices of any expired inventory will be emailed to the Principal Investigator (PI) and CS Lab Contacts on the first of the month until the inventory is relinquished to the Controlled Substances Program (CSP) or the CS Usage Log for the item has been submitted to the CSP for reconciliation. 

Return unused CS to the CSP

Disposal of CS is strictly regulated by federal law.

Return all unused CS and CS dilutions to the CSP for disposal. Unused, unneeded or expired CS and CS dilutions must be returned to the CSP if there is any movable solid or liquid remaining in the container. 

How to request CS disposal

Use the online CSUA application to request disposal of unused, unneeded, or expired CS inventory in their original containers.  

  1. Go to the online CSUA application
  2. In the CSUA application, select the My Inventory tab.
  3. Select the product from the inventory list by checking the box in the “Dispose” column.
  4. Click the Submit Disposal Request button.
  5. The CSP will contact your lab to schedule the CS return.
  6. After item has been relinquished to the CSP, retain CS Usage Log in the CS Log Book for an additional 3 years. 

Appointments for disposals, or disposal of CS dilutions, can also be made by sending a request to

Alternatively, if more CS will be ordered soon, CS for disposal may be returned to the CSP at the same time the new CS is picked up. Please bring the corresponding CS Usage Log Sheet when disposing of any CS.

Dispose of empty CS containers

A controlled substance (CS) container is empty when there is no movable liquid or powder left in the container and the CS Usage Log shows 100% usage. Any CS containers, including dilutions that have movable liquid or powder must be returned to the CSP for disposal ( or 858-534-9016).

How to dispose of a completely empty CS container:

  1. Deface the container’s label.
  2. Place the empty bottle(s) in a bag and tag them with a Hazardous Waste Tag:
    1. Content = Chemical Waste
    2. Chemical Waste = Lab Trash contaminated with chemicals
    3. Physical State= Solid
    4. Hazard Properties= ToxicWaste Tag
  3. Schedule a pickup of the items with EMF.

 Complete the CS Usage Log:

  1. Fill out the box at the bottom of the CS Usage Log.
  2. Promptly upload or send a copy of the completed CS Usage Log to the CSP:
    1. Upload:
      1. Go to the online CSUA application 
      2. In the CSUA Application, select the My Inventory tab
      3. Search for and select the empty vial's container ID
      4. Select the View/ Edit button to open the Inventory Details page
      5. Change the Remaining Amount to 0 and upload the CS Usage Log
    2. Alternatively, send a copy of the CS Usage Log to, Mail Code 0090, or fax (858) 822-0561
  1. Retain the original CS Usage Log in the CS Log Book for 3 years after the date of disposal.

Remember – always report CS Usage Log discrepancies, suspected misuse, or theft to the EH&S Controlled Substances Program Manager and PI immediately ( or 858-534-1362)

Questions? Contact Controlled Substances Program, (858) 534-1362 or (858) 534-9016.