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How to Store and Dispose of Extremely Hazardous Chemical Waste

Learn how to contain, store, and dispose of extremely hazardous chemical waste at UC San Diego.

In the right place? These procedures are for extremely hazardous chemical waste only.

Follow these procedures for selecting containers and safely storing extremely hazardous chemical waste until it is collected by Environment, Health & Safety (EH&S).

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Is it "hazardous" or "extremely hazardous"?

Procedures and requirements are different for hazardous and extremely hazardous chemical waste.

Designate a hazardous waste storage area

Hazardous waste sign
  • Select an area that is:
    • Near where the waste is generated
    • Under the control of lab personnel
    • Out of the way of normal lab activities
  • Label the area with a "Danger – Hazardous Waste" sign. Request signs from the EH&S Environmental Management Facility, (858) 534-2753.
  • Make the area easily accessible and recognizable to EH&S waste technicians.

Note: Fume hoods may be used to temporarily store small quantities of waste materials, but should not serve as designated waste storage areas.

Select compatible containers

  • Chemical compatibility:
    • Choose a container chemically compatible with the material it will hold. Chemicals must not react with, weaken, or dissolve the container or lid.
    • Follow these basic compatibility guidelines:
      • Acids or bases: Do not store in metal.
      • Hydrofluoric acid: Do not store in glass.
      • Gasoline (solvents): Do not store or transport in lightweight polyethylene containers such as milk jugs.
    • Read Chemical Compatibility Guidelines for more detailed information.
  • Caps and closure:
    • Use waste containers with leak-proof, screw-on caps so contents can't leak if a container tips over. Corks, parafilm, and beakers are not acceptable.
    • If necessary, transfer waste material to a container that can be securely closed. Label the new container.
    • Keep waste containers closed except when adding waste.
    • Wipe down containers prior to your scheduled collection date.
  • Size:
    • Choose appropriately sized containers. Store smaller quantities in smaller containers. It's not cost effective to dispose of 50 milliliters of material in a 4-liter container.
  • Secondary containment:
    • Always place your container in a secondary container to:
      • Capture spills and leaks from the primary container
      • Segregate incompatible hazardous wastes, such as acids and bases
    • A secondary container must be chemically compatible and able to hold 110% of the volume of waste stored in the primary container(s). Lab trays and dishpans are frequently used for secondary containment.
    • EH&S provides free secondary containers for 20-liter (5-gallon) waste containers. Request these secondary containers from the EH&S Environmental Management Facility, (858) 534-2753.

Tag every waste container

  • Attach a completed hazardous waste tag to the container before you begin using the container to accumulate and store waste.
  • Cross out all other labels on the container. Do not obliterate the original product label; waste technicians need to see what the container held before it was designated as a waste receptacle.

Liquid waste

Dry, solid waste

Chemically contaminated solid waste includes 3 categories that are packaged differently for disposal: lab trash, dry chemicals, and sharps.

  • Lab trash: Examples include absorbent paper products, Kim Wipes, gloves, benchcoats, and other lab supplies. Follow these guidelines:
    • Double-bag the waste in clear plastic bags (Marketplace part #5015) to allow visual inspection by EH&S waste technicians. If contents cannot be visually inspected, EH&S cannot collect the bag.
    • Seal each bag individually.
    • Accurately list the bag's contents and chemical constituents on the hazardous waste tag.
  • Dry chemicals:
    • Dispose of solid reagent chemicals in the manufacturer's container.
    • Label the container with a hazardous waste tag.
  • Sharps: Sharps are items capable of puncturing, piercing, or tearing regular waste bags. Examples include pipettes, pipette tips, needles, scalpels, razor blades, and broken glass. Sharps require special packaging.

Empty containers

Empty containers that once held extremely hazardous waste must be labeled with a hazardous waste tag and collected by EH&S for disposal.

Storage time and quantity limits

Storage time and quantity limits for extremely hazardous chemical waste are very strict. Keep UCSD in compliance. Request a hazardous waste collection before time or quantity limits are reached.

  • Time: All extremely hazardous waste must be collected within 90 days from when waste is first put into containers.
  • Quantity: Up to 1 quart of extremely hazardous waste may be accumulated before it must be collected.
    • When 1 quart or more of extremely hazardous waste accumulates, the waste must be collected within 3 days.
  • Read How to Request a Hazardous Waste Collection for details.

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Notice: Disposal of hazardous waste using sinks, intentional evaporation, or as regular trash is against the law. Campus laboratories must abide by strict state and federal waste disposal requirements. You may be held liable for violations of applicable laws.