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Hazardous Waste Disposal Guide

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Last Updated: 2/15/2019

1.0 Definition of Chemical Waste

Any chemical that exhibits hazardous characteristics as defined by federal and Illinois rules and regulations, is unusable or unwanted in any way and poses a potential hazard to individuals, the environment or public health is a chemical waste.

Examples:

  • Waste and opened surplus chemicals
  • Expired or off -specification chemicals
  • Carcinogens and cytotoxic (antineoplastic) agents
  • Prescription drugs and controlled substances
  • Empty chemical drums and other chemical containers with a capacity of 10 gallons and greater
  • Thermometers and other items containing mercury
  • Non-returnable gas cylinders and lecture bottles or pressurized chemicals
  • Residue of spill clean-up materials-contaminated rags and absorbents
  • Non-radioactive lead shielding, lead blocks and lead scrap
  • Photographic film processing solutions
  • Used oil—motor, vacuum pump, lubricating
  • Pesticides
  • Used solvents
  • Batteries
  • Paint, paint thinners, brush cleaners, linseed oil, thinner contaminated rags
  • Heavy metal containing waste or products (arsenic, barium, cadmium, chromium, lead, mercury, selenium and silver)

The definitions and disposal procedures for radioactive waste can be found in the Radiation Safety Handbook.

Naturally-Occurring-Radioactive-Materials (NORM) for example uranium, thorium, samarium compounds must be disposed of through the radioactive waste program.

The definitions and disposal procedures for potentially infectious waste can be found on the Hazardous Waste page.

2.0 Waste Minimization

The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) policy for hazardous waste management places the highest priority on waste minimization. The University must annually report to the government on efforts it has made to reduce hazardous wastes.

Waste minimization is any action that:

  • Decreases the amount of hazardous waste generated
  • Reduces the inherent toxicity of the waste.

The costs associated with the proper disposal of chemical wastes and the safe storage of chemicals in the research laboratory are inextricably linked. Researchers are encouraged to limit the amount of chemicals purchased. It is easier to order additional chemicals than to dispose of unwanted or unused surplus chemicals. REMEMBER: The disposal cost can exceed ten times the cost of the chemical.

In some cases, there are no acceptable waste disposal options.

Rethink how you purchase, handle and store laboratory chemicals to control the increasing costs of proper chemical waste disposal and the inherent hazards of storing and working with hazardous chemicals.

Waste minimization benefits you, the university and the environment by:

  • Significantly lowering costs
  • Reducing potential health hazards
  • Reducing potential long-term liabilities for disposal
  • Promoting environmental ethics
  • Preventing pollution

It is the responsibility of every investigator who generates waste to incorporate the principles of waste minimization into experimental design.

3.0 Source Reduction and Waste Minimization Tips

  • Substitute less hazardous chemicals whenever possible.
  • When planning experiments or demonstrations, examine all wastes generated and ask if they could be minimized and how.
  • Reduce the scale of processes so that less waste is generated.
  • Minimize the volume of waste solutions containing mercury and heavy metals.
  • Clearly mark the contents of all chemical containers to prevent the generation of unknowns.
  • Actively manage the inventory of all hazardous materials used in your laboratory or work location.
  • Ask others in your department if they could use your unwanted chemicals.
  • Neutralize, quench or destroy hazardous by-products as the last step in experiments.
  • Separate halogenated from non-halogenated solvents. The non-halogenated solvent waste may be shipped for fuel blending.
  • Separate aqueous and solvent wastes if possible.

When in doubt, call Research Safety for assistance.

4.0 Hazardous Waste Management Plan

Northwestern University manages all hazardous waste in accordance with federal, state, and local regulations. Disposal procedures for specific waste streams generated in nonlaboratories are outlined in Appendix D.

For laboratory hazardous waste, Northwestern University elected coverage under Subpart K: Alternative Requirements for Hazardous Waste Determination and Accumulation of Unwanted Material for Laboratories Owned by Eligible Academic Entities1.

5.0 Subpart K - Laboratory management Plan

Northwestern University is an eligible academic entity as defined in 35 IAC 722.300. Only the laboratory facilities that generate hazardous wastes under the following generator identification numbers are included in the Subpart K2 election: ILT180011553, ILD982646721, ILO000040436, and ILT180011546. Hazardous wastes generated through facilities under these identification numbers are not part of the Subpart K election.

Part I

Northwestern University uses the term “chemical waste” on laboratory containers as an equally effective term in lieu of “unwanted material”. “Chemical waste” generated in the eligible laboratories has the same meaning as the term “unwanted material”, and the material is subject to the same requirements as if it were called “unwanted material”. The “chemical waste” terminology is consistent with the existing hazardous waste program of the University.

Laboratory containers are labeled and content records logged to impart information “associated with the container”. Laboratory workers complete and submit a Hazardous Waste Pickup Request online (Lumen) when a container is ¾ full or has reached 150 days since the start date of accumulation. Detailed chemical waste procedures are presented in the “Chemical Waste Disposal Overview” of this guide. A Hazardous Waste Professional will remove containers of chemical waste from each eligible laboratory no greater than six (6) months of each container’s accumulation start date.

Part II

Labeling

Northwestern University uses the term “chemical waste” on laboratory containers. In addition, the prescribed labeling protocol is the name or description of chemical contents or composition of the chemical waste (if known, product(s) of chemical reaction). Each container is also labeled with the date on which the chemical waste first began accumulating in the container. Laboratory workers who add the chemical waste to existing laboratory containers log the relative information on the label.

This information is used in determination of the status of the chemical waste as a solid waste and a hazardous waste.

Management

Laboratory containers are maintained in good condition and kept closed at all times, except when adding, removing, or bulking chemical waste. If a container is damaged, it will be replaced, repaired, or over packed.

Laboratory containers are compatible with their contents; they are made of, or lined with, a composition material that is compatible with the chemical waste.

Training-Laboratory Workers

Northwestern University provides training to all individuals working in the laboratories that is commensurate with their duties. Lab workers must complete the Hazardous Chemical Waste Management Training, which includes information on Subpart K implementation.

Training-On-site Transfers

In addition to the training for laboratory workers, Northwestern University provides training to all applicable Hazardous Waste Professionals on Subpart K.  Northwestern University considers Hazardous Waste Professionals “trained professionals” as defined in Subpart K.

Removal of Chemical Waste

A Hazardous Waste Professional removes containers of chemical waste from each eligible laboratory no greater than six (6) months of each container’s accumulation start date.

In general, laboratories accumulate no more than 25 gallons of chemical waste (total, per laboratory) and no more than one (1) quart of reactive acutely hazardous chemical waste prior to removal from the laboratory. Reactive acutely hazardous chemical wastes are P-listed wastes signified as reactive.

 

Table 5.0

P-LISTED WASTE CHEMICAL NAME
P006 aluminum phosphide
P009 ammonium picrate or 2,4,6-trinitrophenol ammonium salt
P065 fulminic acid mercury (2+) salt or mercury fulminate
P081 nitroglycerine or 1,2,3-propanetriol trinitrate
P112 tetra nitromethane
P122 zinc phosphide when present at concentration greater than 10 percent

 

Laboratory workers complete and submit a Hazardous Waste Pickup Request online (Lumen)when a container is ¾ full or has reached 150 days since the start date of accumulation.

Total chemical waste stored in any one laboratory is checked regularly. Lab workers follow this procedure should the total volume of chemical waste reach the storage limit:

  • Mark on all contributing containers the date on which the 25-gallon or one-quart applicable volume was exceeded
  • Complete and submit the Hazardous Waste Pickup Request online (Lumen)
  • Once a request has been submitted, pick up by a Hazardous Waste Professional will occur within three (3) business days.

Hazardous Waste Determination

Lab workers first classify chemical waste within the laboratory. A Hazardous Waste Professional transfers the chemical waste directly from the laboratory to the on-site central accumulation area. The hazardous waste determinations are made within four (4) calendar days of arrival at the on-site central accumulation area.

If the Hazardous Waste Professional characterizes the chemical waste as a hazardous waste, he/she labels the container with the words “hazardous waste”. A Hazardous Waste Professional also labels the shipping container with all applicable hazardous waste codes.

Laboratory Clean-outs

Northwestern University does not intend to use the incentives for laboratory clean-outs provided in 35 IAC 722.313.

Emergency Prevention

Northwestern University is firmly committed to the safe and proper disposal of all its hazardous wastes. Moreover, the University is committed to promoting waste minimization and pollution prevention in all aspects of its activities. The section “Reporting Inappropriate Disposal of Potentially Hazardous Chemicals” presents the Research Safety statement of intent to safely and properly dispose of hazardous waste.

This guide includes an Emergency Contact List that provides contact information for the University’s emergency coordinators and internal response contacts; external response contacts for federal, state, and local agencies; and spill response contractors.

Availability

This Laboratory Management Plan section is available to laboratory workers, students, and others who may request it.

Review

Northwestern University will review and revise this Laboratory Management Plan as needed: when new waste streams are introduced, when the Hazardous Waste Disposal Guide is reviewed and revised, or when prompted by disposal circumstances.

6.0 Chemical Waste Disposal Overview

  • Collect chemical waste in sturdy leak-proof containers. (See also Hazardous Waste Supplies)
    • Do not use the sinks or surrounding areas for handling or storing of hazardous chemicals.
    • Do not dispose of hazardous chemicals via the sink, in the trash with/as Biological Waste or with/as Radioactive Waste.
    • Evaporation is not an acceptable waste disposal method. The only exception are insignificant, residual amounts of liquid associated with labware or containers.
    • Do not mix radioactive materials with chemical waste.
  • Label and seal chemical waste containers at all times.
    • Complete and attach a Chemical Waste Label (as seen in Appendix A) for any unlabeled waste containers.
    • Always enter an accumulation start date.
    • Identify all constituents by chemical name. No abbreviations, trade names, or chemical formulas!
    • List the concentration of constituents.
    • Chemical waste, radioactive waste and biological waste have unique labels.
  • Store waste containers properly.
    • Caps must be tight. No open funnels or filling aids may be left in containers.
    • During waste collection, process waste containers (i.e., HPLC, photographic solutions) must have a cap with tight fitting hole for the fill tube.
    • Never store flammable waste with waste containing oxidizers. Flammable wastes are best stored in a fire rated cabinet.
    • Use bins to segregate acidic from caustic waste streams and to provide secondary containment. Segregate nitric acid waste containers from organic waste containers.
    • As a last step of a research project quench potassium or pyrophoric potassium alloys (NaK) in the lab. Let etch and cleaning solutions (i.e., piranha, aqua regia).cool down to room temperature and use a vented cap.
  • Request a non-laboratory waste container pick up in 60 days or when container is ¾ full through hazardous-waste@northwestern.edu.
  • Request a laboratory chemical waste container pickup in 150 days or when container is ¾ full.
    • Fill out and submit a Hazardous Waste Pickup Request online (Lumen). Once a request has been submitted, pick up will occur within three (3) business days.

Other Reminders

Never abandon chemicals. Contact Research Safety immediately for proper disposal.

Always wear eye/face protection, lab coat and gloves when working with hazardous chemicals.

Consult Safety Data Sheets (SDS) for more information on hazardous chemicals you may work with at Northwestern University.

7.0 Chemical Waste Collection Areas

Regulations define any location where small amounts of chemical waste are temporarily stored as a “Satellite Accumulation Area” or SAA. To be considered a SAA, waste must be stored at or near the point where the waste is generated.

SAAs in laboratories must not contain greater than 25 gallons of chemical waste. In non-laboratory areas the limit is 55 gal. Keep waste volumes to a minimum – request routine waste pickups.

8.0 Satellite Accumulation Area (SAA) Setup

Lab chemical waste accumulation areas may be located inside a chemical fume hood or on a laboratory bench top.

NOTE: Waste handling and SAAs may not be near open sink or floor drains!!

SAAs outside of laboratories must be posted with a sign). SAAs must be provided with secondary containment.

Incompatible wastes must be separated by storing wastes in separate containment bins, or if appropriate, in separate areas within the lab. Contact Research Safety if you have any questions regarding incompatibility of waste streams, especially waste containing nitric acid and etching solutions.

9.0 Chemical Waste Collection Containers

Appropriately size waste containers (See also Hazardous Waste Supplies).

All chemical waste containers must be:

  • Properly labeled (See example label in Appendix A.) Package small containers so a fully completed label is securely attached.
  • Closed and sealed except when adding contents; and

ORIGINAL CONTAINER

Submit for disposal in the original labeled container. Do not deface any manufacturers’ label.

CONTAINER OTHER THAN ORIGINAL CONTAINER

Deface existing label or mark “XXX” through the existing label.

CARBOYS (HIGH VOLUME LIQUIDS)

Separately collect mercury or other heavy metals containing solvents. Separate aqueous waste, halogenated and non-halogenated solvents.

  1. Use 5gal carboys only if they can be filled within 60days.
  2. Complete the carboy tag. Each time you add waste to the container, note this on the waste tag. Use pencil as ink will smudge.
  3. Fill container no more than ¾ full. DO NOT OVERFILL.

BAGGED WASTE (CHEMICALLY CONTAMINATED SOLID WASTE NO SHARPS)

  1. Line a five-gallon pail with a clear plastic bag. The lid must be on the pail except when adding contents to the bag.
  2. When bag is ¾ full, close bag with tape or zip tie. Complete and attach a Chemical Waste Label to the bag. NOTE: Never use black plastic or biohazard bags to collect chemical wastes!
  3. For smaller solid waste volumes obtain a one-gallon or smaller size plastic container with lid from Fisher. Label the outside of the container with a completed Chemical Waste Label.

SHARPS CONTAINER (CHEMICALLY CONTAMINATED)

Dispose of chemically contaminated broken glass, and pipette tips in labeled puncture resistant containers. Segregate contaminated needles and blade wastes in a labeled yellow sharps container available through the Fisher stockrooms.

Put potentially infectious sharps only into a red sharps container. See Hazardous Waste.

EMPTY CHEMICAL CONTAINERS

  1. Thoroughly empty all contents. Only de minimis3 amounts of the chemical may remain before rinsing. Collect all triple rinsate as chemical waste.
  2. Obliterate, remove or thoroughly deface labels before disposal.
  3. Place rinsed and dried glass in the glass disposal container, or affix a recycling sticker and place in the hallway.

If the chemical containers has a capacity of >10 gallons, or solids or sludge remain, submit as chemical waste.

Manufacturer septum caps on empty septum-sealed containers (such as Sure/SealTM bottles) may be removed and the containers subsequently rinsed and disposed only if safe to do so.  Empty septum-sealed containers that held inherently dangerous or air-reactive substances, such as pyrophoric or acutely toxic chemicals, should be disposed of as chemical waste with their septum caps intact.

10.0 Storage of Hazardous Chemicals in Teaching and Research Laboratories

In the laboratory, hazardous chemicals can be divided into four general categories – corrosives, flammables, reactives and toxics. In most cases, it is the immediate or obvious hazard that determines which category a particular chemical is classified. See the Laboratory Safety and Chemical Hygiene Plan for further definitions.

Note: Highly toxic gases and select agents are restricted commodities requiring purchase approval from Research Safety.

Below are some general principles to follow when handling and storing chemicals:

General Principles for Managing Laboratory Chemicals

  • Less is better. Purchase small amounts that you will use up within a year. Whereas the per-unit cost may be greater—significant savings are realized in reduced disposal costs and safer storage.
  • Buy pre-made molar and normal solutions, thereby reducing the likelihood of generating concentrated wastes.
  • Obtain access to a SDS for each chemical, and consult the SDS before using a chemical.
  • Read labels. Handling and storage information is on the manufacturer’s label.
  • Purchase chemicals in plastic containers to minimize potential breakage. If this is not possible, purchase shatter-resistant plastic coated bottles.
  • Manage first-in, first-out! Indicate the date received and the date opened. Pay particular attention to expiration dates.
  • Dispose of open, partially used or expired chemicals.
  • Peroxide-forming compounds require frequent testing or disposal.
  • Keep all chemical containers off floors, carts and electrical equipment.
  • Physically segregate your chemicals according to compatibility.
  • Label the secondary storage containers or areas in which particularly hazardous chemicals may be used. These substances must be kept in a Designated Area.
  • Store hazardous chemicals below eye level. This simple task greatly reduces the likelihood of something falling from above and breaking.
  • Cabinets with doors are safer locations than open shelves for hazardous chemicals.
  • Safely transport any hazardous chemical. Place in secondary containment such as a bottle carrier.
  • Avoid placing any chemical container in direct sunlight, underneath a sink or near heat sources.
  • Place volatile or flammable chemicals only in specially designed refrigerators.
  • DO NOT STORE HAZARDOUS CHEMICALS, FLAMMABLES, AND CRYOGENIC LIQUIDS IN COLD ROOMS.
  • Be especially careful with reactive chemicals. Obtain and read the SDS for each reactive chemical that you may have or may work near.
  • Label all containers in the laboratory with the following information (this includes any stock or working solutions):
    • Name of chemical or stock solution
    • Date started
    • Your initials
    • Hazard warning (i.e., flammable, toxic, corrosive, reactive)
  • Store chemical by hazard class. Do not store merely by alphabetical order.
  • Use and manage your chemical fume hood, wisely. Too many chemical containers or equipment block the air slots and compromise the containment performance.
  • Follow all waste disposal guidelines.

Storage of Flammable Liquids

  • Limit the amount of flammable liquids in use to the smallest practical volume. Work with flammable liquids inside a chemical fume hood. Return all flammable liquids to an approved flammable storage cabinet. The doors to flammable storage cabinets must close securely. Self-closing doors are best. Contact Research Safety for assistance in ordering flammable storage cabinets.
  • The maximum quantity of flammable and combustible liquids that can be stored openly or within an approved flammable storage cabinet is defined for each campus. See the Laboratory Safety and Chemical Hygiene Plan.
  • The purchase of 5-gallon containers of flammable liquids is strongly discouraged. All transfers of flammable liquids from containers of five gallons or more must be performed inside a fume hood. These containers also must be stored in a flammable storage cabinet.
  • Segregate flammables from oxidizers and oxidizing acids.
  • Most refrigerators/freezers purchased by the labs are designed for non-hazardous materials. Refrigerators and freezers suitable for flammable material storage are specially labeled “Explosion safe” of “Explosion proof.”

Storage of Gas Cylinders

  • In general, only keep cylinders in your lab that are in current use or waiting for immediate use.
  • Large toxic gas cylinders must be in an approved gas cylinder cabinet.
  • There are maximum allowable storage quantities for cylinders. A summary table is available online on section 9.0 of the Guide to Compressed or Liquefied Gases in Laboratories.

Table 12.0 – Maximum Size and Quantity Limitations for Compressed or Liquefied Gas Cylinders in Laboratories

Flammable Gases and Oxygen Liquefied Flammable Gases Gases with High Health Hazard Rating
Maximum cylinder size (approximate dimensions in inches) 10x50 9x30 4x15
Maximum number of cylinders per 500 square feet or less of floor space in non sprinklered areas 3 2 3a
In sprinklered areas 6b 3 3a
a – Cylinders of all toxic gases shall be kept in a continuously mechanically ventilated hood or other continuously mechanically vented enclosure, with no more than 3 cylinders per enclosure.
b – In instructional laboratory work areas, the total number of cylinders shall be reduced to 3 maximum-sized cylinders. Ten approximately 2″x12″ cylinders (lecture bottles) are allowed. In other than instructional laboratories, 25 lecture bottles are permitted.
Reference: NFPA 45, Protection for Laboratories Using Chemicals, National Fire Protection Association, 1996

 

  • All cylinders not attached to a regulator must have a valve protection cap in place.
  • For vertical storage, cylinders must be secured (at a minimum) in their upper third by a tight fitting chain or belt secured to the wall or non-movable casework. This applies to all cylinders.
  • One cylinder per chain or web belt.
  • Horizontal storage of cylinders is only allowed in racks designed for the purpose. Cylinders must be chained to the rack.
  • Cylinders must not be kept in corridors, hallways, stairways or cold rooms (or any other area with limited ventilation).

Handling Cryogenic Fluids

  • Cryogenic liquids, such as liquid nitrogen, must be handled only in containers designed for that purpose.
  • Full face protection (face shield) including safety glasses and goggles as well as insulated gloves, lab coat, covered shoes must be worn when handling cryogenic liquids.
  • When transferring liquid from one container to another, the receiving container must be cooled gradually.

11.0 Appendix A - Label Formats

Adhere the completed label securely to the container.

Example of a labeled Satellite Accumulation Area:

12.0 Appendix B - Disposal Procedures for Specific Waste Streams

Refer to the following list for specific disposal information:

Acids and Bases

  1. Collect concentrated acids and bases in original containers whenever possible. This includes nitric, hydrofluoric, sulfuric, glacial acetic, hydrochloric, sodium hydroxide, ammonium hydroxide. Hydrofluoric acid etches glass and must be collected in plastic containers. Be aware that some acids are not compatible (for example nitric acid and glacial acetic waste). Never mix oxidizing acids with organic chemicals.
  2. Acids and bases may be treated as the last step of a reaction. Neutralized solutions may be disposed of down a lab sink with copious amounts of water provided they are treated as follows:
  • Slowly stir acid in a large amount of an ice-water-to dilute to about 5% by volume.
  • Prepare a base solution of one of the following: sodium carbonate (soda ash), or sodium hydroxide. The base concentration should be 5 to 10 % for nitric and perchloric acids. A one-molar solution is about 4% (4 grams per 100 ml).
  • Slowly stir diluted acid into the base solution until the pH is at least 5 but not greater than 104.
  • Slowly pour the neutralized solution down the drain with large amounts of water.

     3. No solvent or metal contamination is permitted for drain disposal.

    NOTE: The use of chromic acid or Chromerge® is strongly discouraged by Research Safety. If used, these cleaning solutions must be collected through the third rinse.

Acrylamide

  1. Dispose of unused/unwanted acrylamide powder or opened liquid as hazardous waste.
  2. Collect acrylamide gels that contain ethidium bromide, in a lined five-gallon plastic pail.

NOTE: Only small amounts of liquid can be placed in a bag. For large amounts of unpolymerized acrylamide liquid use a container.

Aerosol Cans

If completely empty and punctured, aerosol cans may be disposed of as trash. If contents or pressure remains, dispose through Research Safety.

Aqua Regia

Aqua regia is typically a 3:1 mixture of Hydrochloric Acid (HCL) and Nitric Acid (HNO3). It is commonly used to remove metals and trace organic compounds from glassware, as well as noble metals from some substrates.

Aqua regia MUST be prepared in a fume hood.

PPE

Proper PPE must be worn while making or handling aqua regia. This includes a lab coat, face shield, safety glasses, neoprene apron and neoprene gloves.

Preparation and Handling

Aqua regia should be made fresh before use; it should never be stored. Aqua regia should only be prepared and handled in clearly labeled glass containers (preferably Pyrex) inside of a fume hood free and clear of all chemicals. When preparing aqua regia, always add the nitric acid to the hydrochloric acid. The concentration of nitric acid must never be over 38%.

Aqua regia is an oxidizer, and will oxidize over time; this will form toxic gases, such as nitrogen dioxide and chlorine. Therefore, aqua regia should be disposed of as soon as possible after use. Aqua regia should never be handled outside of a fume hood, and should never be tightly capped. Aqua regia should only be handled with PTFE or glass implements. Aqua regia can corrode and react violently with metal.

Disposal

Allow aqua regia solution to cool in an open container, preferably overnight, in a working fume hood. Place a sign on the fume hood alerting people to the hazard. You should neutralize aqua regia before disposal, according to the procedure below. Once the aqua regia is neutralized, submit for disposal.

  1. Inside a fume hood, place the neutralization container in a secondary container onto a stir plate. The neutralization container must be glass, free of any organic residue, large enough that the dilution water and aqua regia is no more than 2/3 of the total volume of the container. The amount of solution water needed is 7.5 times the amount of aqua regia.
  2. Weigh out the necessary amount of magnesium hydroxide (0.53 grams per mL of aqua regia).
  3. Add the total necessary volume of dilution water to the neutralization container, and begin stirring with a PTFE coated stir bar without over-agitating the water.
  4. Add the magnesium hydroxide and a dash of bromothymol blue solution to the beaker. The bromothymol solution is prepared with 0.8 g of bromothymol blue, 100 mL of water, and a drop of NaOH.
  5. SLOWLY add the aqua regia to the full volume of water, carefully avoiding overheating. The bromothymol blue indicator will turn yellow if you overshoot neutral pH. If your solution turns yellow, but there is still undissolved magnesium hydroxide, let the solution stir longer to equilibrate. Test the pH using a pH strip, and add more magnesium hydroxide if necessary.
  6. Allow solution to cool to room temperature before moving the container, capping the container, or transferring the solution.5

Once the solution has cooled, it may be transferred to another glass container for pickup. Use a pressure-venting cap. Label the waste bottle appropriately, and submit a pickup request immediately. Do not try to combine multiple batches of aqua regia solution into one waste container; Hazardous Waste Professionals will pick up multiple containers.

Arsenic

Liquid wastes6 containing more than 5mg/L are regulated. List all arsenic bearing compounds on the chemical waste label.

Asbestos

Wet asbestos containing lab ware and bag them up for disposal.

Azides

See sodium azide.

Barium

Liquid wastes7 containing more than 100mg/L are regulated. List all barium bearing compounds on the chemical waste label.

Benzene

Liquid waste8 containing more than 0.5mg/L are regulated.

Bromine Solution Waste

Bromine solutions containing more than 1% bromine must be collected in containers no larger than 1 gal. List all bromine bearing compounds on the chemical waste label.

Cadmium

Liquid wastes9 containing more than 1mg/L are regulated. List all cadmium bearing compounds on the chemical waste label.

Chemical Carcinogens and Mutagens

Discard in original or closed container. Bag up associated contaminated disposable labware. Triple rinse empty containers and collect all rinsate as chemical waste.

Chloroform

Liquid wastes10 with concentrations of more than 6mg/L are regulated.

Chromium

Liquid wastes11 with concentrations of more than 5mg/L are regulated.

Contaminated Glassware

Chemically contaminated glass ware, pipette tips, needles, blades and sharps are collected in a puncture proof container.
Broken glass ware not contaminated with hazardous chemicals can be put in a card board container, sealed and picked up as trash.

Copper

Liquid wastes with concentrations of more than 3mg/L are regulated12.

Cyanides

Cyanides, nitrites and sulfides are among the most toxic and rapidly acting substances found in a chemical lab. Symptoms of toxicity occur if these materials are swallowed, inhaled or absorbed through the skin. Keep stored in locked and secure locations away from acidic materials. Always use secondary containers to help prevent breaks or spills. Wastes containing more than 5ppm (5mg/L) are regulated13.

Dioxane

Dioxane (1,4-Dioxane) is a highly flammable liquid and can form potentially explosive peroxides upon long exposure to air. Containers of dioxane must be dated when opened and tested periodically for the presence of peroxides. If old, undated dioxane is found, do not open. Contact Research Safety immediately.

Drain Disposal

The range of substances that can be potentially hazardous is enormous. Almost any substance can be a hazardous waste if it is disposed of in large quantities or in high concentrations. Federal and state hazardous waste laws permit laboratories to dispose of small amounts of some chemicals in quantities that do not pose a hazard to human health or the environment. It is the policy of Northwestern University to prohibit the drain disposal of all potentially hazardous chemicals and take a more conservative approach when confronted with a less defined disposal situation.

Suitable for Drain Disposal (See Appendix C)

NOT Suitable for Drain Disposal

  1. Inherently toxic, malodorous or lachrymatory chemicals
  2. Solutions containing heavy metals
  3. Flammable liquids (flash point < 140◦F) of any type
  4. Organic solvents—methanol, acetone, hexane, chloroform
  5. Paint and paint thinner
  6. Poisons, carcinogens, teratogens or embryotoxins
  7. Toxic dyes and stains
  8. Sodium azide
  9. Strong acids and bases (outside of pH 5-10)
  10. Chromic/sulfuric acid cleaning solutions
  11. Photographic fixer
  12. Motor oil, gasoline, degreasing solutions, antifreeze or other automotive fluid
  13. Pesticides

Drugs and Controlled Substances

See Pharmaceuticals

Ether

Ether is a highly flammable liquid and can form potentially explosive peroxides over time. Containers of ether must be dated when opened and tested periodically for the presence of peroxides. Ether cans have expiration dates on the label. Dispose before they expire. If old, undated ether is found, do not open. Contact Research Safety immediately.

Ethidium Bromide (ETBR) & Propidium Iodide

Dispose ethidium bromide staining and running buffer solutions in a closed container. For the collection of acrylamide gels that contain ethidium bromide, dispose of in a lined five-gallon plastic pail.

Never use bleach to treat EtBr wastes. This actually increases toxicity.

NOTE: SYBR Safe® is sold as a safer alternative to Ethidium Bromide. It is less toxic and the stain and gels can be disposed as regular waste. SYBR Safe can be used in the same manner as solutions of EtBr. Tests indicate that it is just as, if not more sensitive than EtBr. It can also be read in the same manner with a standard UV or visible light trans-illuminator, or laser based scanner. SYBR Safe is provided ready to use as a concentrate, it can be cast directly in the gel or used as a post stain. It may also be used to stain RNA in gels. Recommended storage time is six months at room temperature.

Filters, Used

Filters used with hazardous chemicals must be disposed of as chemical waste. Examples are charcoal canisters used to filter waste anesthetic gases and vacuum pump filters.

Formalin/Formaldehyde/Glutaraldehyde/Paraformaldehyde

  1. Unwanted or unused formalin or formaldehyde must be disposed through Research Safety.
  2. If you have a large number of specimens preserved in formalin that you wish to dispose of, contact Research Safety to discuss disposal options.

NOTE: The use of so-called “cold sterilants” such as Cidex® or other higher molecular weight aldehydes such as glutaraldehyde is strongly discouraged for both occupational and environmental reasons.

Formamide

Formamide must be collected. If radioactive, attach a Radioactive Waste Label and dispose of as radioactive waste.

Gas Cylinders

Compressed gases are among the most problematic wastes to handle and dispose. Rent gas cylinders if at all possible so cylinders can be returned to the gas vendors if empty or not routinely used.

Lecture bottles can be a serious disposal problem. If at all possible, return these to the manufacturer or supplier for reuse. If not, dispose of through Research Safety. Label integrity is essential. Ensure that the label on each cylinder is legible. Keep the valve protection cap on the cylinder when not in use. When the cylinder is in use, keep this valve cap near the cylinder so that it does not get misplaced. Return gas cylinders to Lab Gas Services using the online tool at http://nugastanks.com/.

NOTE: Never dispose of hazardous gases by releasing outdoors or in a fume hood.

Gloves, Papers, Cardboard

Bag up gloves, papers, or cardboard that are grossly contaminated or were immersed in hazardous chemicals. (See also Hazardous Waste Supplies)

Dispose gloves, papers or cardboard that are not contaminated with hazardous chemicals, radioactive materials or potentially infectious agents as trash. See Appendix C.

Laboratory Equipment

Any piece of scientific equipment must be carefully surveyed and decontaminated when it may have been in contact with potentially hazardous biological, chemical or radioactive materials.

Submit a completed Laboratory Equipment Disposal Form .

Lead

Solid wastes14 containing more than 5ppm lead are regulated.
Liquid wastes containing more than 0.5ppm (0.5 mg/L) lead are regulated15.

Malodorous Waste

Sometimes closed primary containers may not be sufficiently odor tight. Bag or put in secondary container malodorous containers such as thiols, mercaptans, phenol/chloroform and sulfides.

Mercury

Mercury and mercury compounds are especially hazardous. If spilled, elemental mercury in cracks of lab benches or floor tiles may pose an exposure hazard for years. Few hazardous waste facilities accept mercury. Therefore, it is essential that the use of mercury be avoided. Substitute mercury thermometers with non-mercury alternatives or electronic devices to measure temperature and pressure.

Solid wastes16 containing more than 0.2 ppm must be disposed through Research Safety.
Liquid waste containing more than 0.5ppb (0.0005mg/L) are regulated17. For mercury spill kits or spill response assistance, contact Research Safety.

See also Fluorescent light bulbs for clean-up of broken bulbs.

Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials (NORM)

NORM refers to all radioactive elements found in the environment where human activities have increased the potential for exposure compared with unaltered situation.

Chemical compounds containing NORM are mostly purchased as staining agents for electron microscopy. Common compounds contain long-lived radionuclides such as uranium and thorium. Typical commercial forms include samarium, uranium oxide, uranium fluoride, uranium nitrate, uranium acetate, thorium oxide, thorium fluoride, thorium nitrate and thorium acetate.

In general, all chemical compounds containing NORM must be collected and disposed of as radioactive waste. Uranium nitrate and thorium nitrate are considered radioactive and oxidizers, and are treated as “mixed waste”.

Never mix aqueous uranyl acetate with other staining compounds such as lead citrate or other heavy metals, solvents and other hazardous chemicals.

All liquid and solid radioactive waste must be accumulated in properly labeled containers provided by Research Safety- Health Physics Services.

Nickel

Liquid waste containing more than 10 ppm (10mg/L) are regulated18.

Nitric Acid

Many reported waste container ruptures and explosions in laboratories involve the accidental mixing of nitric acid with reducing agents (e.g., organic compounds). Avoid creating nitric acid waste mixtures with acetone, acetic acid, acetic anhydride, alkali metals, cyanides, aldehydes, powdered metals organic materials, ammonia, acetonitrile, alcohols, acrylonitrile and organic matter. Nitric acid is a powerful oxidant and reacts violently, sometimes explosively with liberation of toxic nitrogen oxides. Oxidation is invariably accompanied by more or less gas evolution, usually capable of rupturing closed vessels.

Oils

Uncontaminated instrument and machine oils such as centrifuge, diffusion pump and vacuum pump oils must be collected in plastic containers and labeled with a Chemical Waste Label. Oils found in X-Ray machines and other similar devices may contain PCB’s (polychlorinated biphenyls), especially if the equipment is old. DO NOT MIX PCB CONTAMINATED OIL WITH OTHER OILS. Contact Research Safety if you suspect you have PCB oil.

NOTE: All vacuum pumps must be emptied of oil prior to disposal. If sending them out for service, they must be rinsed and purged with clean oil. Collect rinse oil for disposal through Research Safety.

Organic Mercury (Alkyl and Aryl) Compounds

Organic mercury compounds pose special hazards in the laboratory. Under all circumstances, these compounds must be handled according to the Laboratory Safety and Chemical Hygiene Plan. Alkyl mercury compounds require prior approval from Research Safety before purchase or use.

Osmium Tetroxide

Osmium tetroxide can be converted to a less volatile (safer) form by adding corn oil to the solution and shaking. This method takes advantage of the double bonds of the unsaturated oil to form a cyclic osmic ester. The reaction may be slow because corn oil is not readily miscible in water, but it’s easy and it works.

Bag up osmium tetroxide contaminated labware or dispose in a closed container.

Paint

Paint can be a significant potential source of pollution in landfills. Dispose of all oil based paints through Research Safety. Old, unwanted full cans of latex paints must be disposed of through Research Safety. Opened, nearly empty cans of latex paint can be allowed to air dry until solid then be disposed in the trash as non-hazardous waste. This must be waste generated at Northwestern University. You may not bring personal wastes from home for disposal through Northwestern University.

Paint Thinner, Related Chemicals, Contaminated Rags

Chemicals associated with the use of paint thinner, brush cleaners, linseed oil, etc. must be collected for disposal by Research Safety. Rags and paper towels contaminated with paint thinner or related chemicals are chemical waste. Contact Research Safety for more information on fire rated collection containers and disposal.

Perchloric Acid

Perchloric acid reacts violently with many substances. The anhydrous (dehydrated) acid presents a serious explosion hazard. It is unstable and can decompose explosively at ordinary temperatures or in contact with many organic compounds. Amounts in labs must be limited to 500grams or less. Any work with perchloric acid heated above ambient temperature requires Research Safety approval. Special wash-down hoods may be required.

Many heavy metal perchlorates and organic perchlorate salts are extremely sensitive explosives; the ammonium, alkali metal and alkali earth perchlorates are somewhat less hazardous. Mixtures of perchlorates with many oxidizable substances are explosive. Cold 70% perchloric acid is a strong acid but is not considered to be a strong oxidizing agent; however more concentrated solutions are good oxidizers. Work with >85% perchloric acid requires special precautions and should be carried out only by specially trained personnel and in specially designed fume hoods.

Peroxide Forming Compounds

Certain chemicals such as isopropyl ether, diethyl ether, dioxane, 2-butanol, tetrahydrofuran can form organic peroxides. If the solvents are exposed to air or evaporation, the organic peroxides become more concentrated. Organic peroxides may violently explode. (i.e., combined with metals or by heat, shock, friction, light or static discharge). Peroxide test strips are available through Research Safety. See the Laboratory Safety and Chemical Hygiene Plan for additional information.

Never move or open a container if crusty deposits formed on the material or its container, an oily, viscous layer appeared, or there are solids on the bottom. Immediately contact Research Safety if rusted, damaged, undated or suspicious looking containers of peroxide forming materials are found.

  • Clearly and explicitly label chemicals known to form peroxides.
  • Always date the container when received and when opened.
  • Limit the on-hand stock to a three (3) month supply or less.
  • Air dry empty containers under the hood, flush with water, deface the label and put containers in the glass disposal container.
  • Store away from heat and light.
  • Protect from ignition sources, physical damage, contact with strong reducing agents or oxidizers, or other contamination.
  • Ensure air-tight closures on containers, purge head space with nitrogen when possible.
  • Keep a minimal working inventory.
  • Never store in a freezer. Use explosion-proof or explosion-safe refrigerators, as needed.
  • Never store in glass bottles with glass stoppers.
  • Never attempt to clean containers that were used to store peroxide forming compounds by scraping or rubbing, especially if an oily deposit or crusty residue is present.
  • Test for peroxide concentration before distilling or concentrating.
  • Prevention of unwanted peroxides is paramount. Stabilization and disposal can cost up to $3,000 per container.

Pharmaceuticals

The possession of controlled substances is only permitted with a valid Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) license. Keep DEA regulated drugs under lock and key security until time of pick up. Any drugs provided by the Center for Comparative Medicine (CCM) must be disposed of through CCM – contact h-fletcher@northwestern.edu . Dispose otherwise acquired Schedule 2-5 DEA Controlled Substances through a reverse distributor such as Pharma Logistics. For other drug disposal requests send an email to hazardous-waste@northwestern.edu.

Phenol/Chloroform

  1. Collect liquid mixtures. Indicate percentages on the label.
  2. Phenol/Chloroform contaminated labware such as pipette tips and disposable pipettes with small volumes of liquid must be collected using puncture resistant container. See also Small Vials.

Phenol/chloroform waste is malodorous. Bag up gloves, wipes and empty tubes.

It is not acceptable to throw this type of waste into general trash containers, autoclave in biohazard bags, or dispose of as biological waste.

Photographic Solutions

All darkrooms must be registered with Research Safety.

Used Fixer (Black & White, Color, Bleach, Microfilm, X-ray): Used fixer solutions are classified as a chemical waste and are prohibited from drain disposal.

Stabilizers and Activators: Some activators and stabilizers pick up unexposed silver during photo processing.

Indicator Stop Bath or Acetic Acid: If Indicator Stop Bath has changed color, the solution is neutral and can be drain disposed. If the Stop Bath does not have an indicator, check the pH. Adjust the pH to between 5-10 before drain disposal. Collect Indicator Stop Bath or acetic acid solutions that do not meet either of these conditions as hazardous waste.

Developers – Black & White: In general, these solutions can be drain disposed. Identify the chemical constituents from the product’s SDS and call Research Safety for disposal information.

Developers – Color: Some color developers contain hazardous constituents and others have a pH that prohibits them from being drain disposed. Identify the chemical constituents from the product’s SDS and call Research Safety for disposal information and assistance.

Hypo Clearing Agent: These solutions can be drain disposed.

Mixtures: Certain photo processing operations do not allow for the collection of fixer separate from other photochemicals. These mixtures cannot be discharged to drain.

NOTE: All automated film processors must be equipped with silver recovery systems. Conversion to digital imaging systems is strongly encouraged.

Piranha Etch Solution

There are two types of piranha etch: acid piranha and base piranha. Standard acid piranha is a 3:1 mixture of concentrated sulfuric acid (H2SO4) and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2).

This reaction is extremely exothermic when the peroxide is added to the acid. A standard base piranha solution is a 3:1 mixture of ammonium hydroxide (NH4OH) and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). This mixture must be heated to 60C before the oxidizing reaction takes place.

PPE

Wear proper PPE while making or handling piranha etch. This includes a lab coat, neoprene apron, safety glasses, and neoprene gloves. Additionally, you should wear a face shield.

Preparation and Handling

Piranha solution should be made fresh before use; it should never be stored. Piranha should only be prepared and handled in clearly labeled glass containers (preferably Pyrex) inside of a fume hood free and clear of all chemicals (especially organic compounds). When preparing piranha, always add the peroxide to the acid. If the peroxide concentration is greater than 50% in a piranha etch, the solution can explode.

Piranha is used to remove residues, not actual compounds. Failure to properly remove the majority of a compound could result in an explosion, especially with organic materials. If piranha is mixed with sufficient amounts of organic materials, it will generate large quantities of heat and gas. Piranha reacts violently with most plastics and should only be handled with glass or PTFE lab ware.

Disposal

Hot piranha solution should be allowed to cool in an open container, preferable overnight, in a working fume hood. A sign should be placed on the fume hood alerting people to the hazard. Once the solution is cool, it may be transferred to another glass container for pickup. This container must have a pressure-venting cap, as piranha will continue to off-gas. Label the waste bottle appropriately.

Do not try to combine multiple batches of piranha solution into one waste container; Hazardous Waste Professionals will pick up multiple containers.

Reactives

Chemicals that are considered reactive can react violently with air, water or other substances and also have the potential to explode. These chemicals include picric acid, sodium cyanide and sodium azide.

  • Segregate oxidizers from flammable and combustible materials, organic material and reducers.
  • Pyrophoric chemicals ignite spontaneously on contact with air. Store breakable glass bottles inside a plastic bottle carrier. Keep these chemicals in a glove box.
  • Shock-sensitive and/or explosive materials (benzoyl peroxide) can spontaneously release large amounts of energy when struck, shaken, dropped or agitated. Some chemicals become increasingly shock sensitive with age. Inspect these regularly for degradation and dispose of promptly. Consult the Safety Data Sheet (SDS) before working with reactives.
  • Never contaminate reactive chemicals with heavy metals or incompatibles.

Selenium

Liquid wastes19 containing more than 1mg/L are regulated.

Silver

Liquid wastes20 containing more than 5mg/L are regulated.

Small Vials

Small vials filled with compatible chemicals may be collected in wide mouth quart and gallon jars or 5gal buckets with lids. Separate containers are required for the collection of mercury containing liquids, reactive, oxidizing and acutely toxic liquids. Label the outside of the collection container with all chemical contents. Choose the container size according to expected waste volumes so the container can be filled and frequently picked up for disposal.

Sodium Azide

Sodium azide is commonly used in low concentrations as a microbiocide to preserve samples. Avoid exposure to the pure material and purchase sodium azide solutions when possible. Take care not to contaminate pure sodium azide with metals or foreign materials as this can lead to the formation of explosive metal azides. Azide solutions can also form explosive metal azides in drain pipes. Collect solutions and pure material for disposal. Best practice is to make azide waste solutions basic >pH 10 before submittal.

Solvents

Separate aqueous, halogenated and non-halogenated waste streams if possible. Halogenated solvents include methylene chloride and chloroform. Non-halogenated solvents include methanol, acetone and xylene. List all chemical constituents and the pH on the waste label. This includes any metals. Do not add excess solids or debris. Please contact Research Safety for more information on solvent recycling. Preprinted Research Fuel Blends tags are available through Research Safety for the collection of non-halogenated solvent wastes.

Staining Solutions

Collect staining solutions such as Wright’s, eosin, iodine and methylene blue stains in a sealed container. List the solvent concentrations on the waste label (i.e., water, glacial acetic acid, methanol).

Universal Wastes

Universal waste is defined as a hazardous waste that is “universally generated.” It has lower risk relative to other hazardous wastes. Types of universal wastes recognized in Illinois are batteries, fluorescent light bulbs, mercury containing devices, used automotive antifreeze, certain pesticides and color cathode ray tubes. A pickup request must be made within 9 months of accumulation. See Appendix D.

You may not bring personal wastes from home for disposal through Northwestern University.

Unknowns

Analysis and disposal of material for which the identity is not known can be expensive, from $300 to $1500 or more per unknown. If unknowns are found, consult with other workers who may have an idea as to the identity of the material. Even a general chemical classification (such as “aromatic sulfur compound”) can be very helpful. A phone call to a colleague who has left will pay for itself several times over.

To prevent unknowns, remember to label all your containers regardless of size. Labeling of stock solutions is essential. All labels must include the commonly accepted name (NO CHEMICAL FORMULAS). Include any special warnings, and the date made. When scientists plan to leave the University, contact Research Safety to help clean out the laboratory so that unknowns can be avoided.

List unknown materials on the Hazardous Waste Pickup Request. It is helpful to include the color and physical state of these materials on the form and any other information that may help in identification.

When unknowns are found in the laboratory, exercise caution as these materials may be old and unstable. If you suspect unknowns are reactive, call Research Safety prior to moving these materials.

Zinc

Liquid wastes containing more than 15ppm (15mg/L) are regulated.

13.0 Appendix C - Sanitary Sewer or Ordinary Refuse Disposal

Only dilute solutions of non-toxic materials shall be disposed of in the sanitary sewer system. This includes most normal biological metabolites and nontoxic cellular constituents (proteins, nucleic acids, carbohydrates, soluble fats, and their precursors and catabolites, common sugars, amino acids, non-toxic common salts (NaCl, MgCl2, etc) and biological buffers with pH between 5-10. (Phosphate buffers, saline, Tris, etc.).

Note that acid or base solutions containing organic or inorganic impurities (e.g. base baths or acidic solutions used to clean glassware) must not be flushed down the drain even if neutralized. These solutions must be collected for chemical waste disposal by Research Safety.

In general, only the following non-hazardous laboratory chemicals may be placed into the ordinary refuse (garbage) for disposal. Non-hazardous materials in aqueous solution may be poured down the drain with the exception of >2% slurries of sand-, earth-, gypsum-, cement or other insoluble material.

Table C

Acids, pH>5 Calcium oxide Iron Oxide Riboflavin
Actin Calcium phosphate L-cysteine Sephadex
Agar Calcium sulfate L-glutamic acid Silica Gel
Agarose Citric acid L-histidine Sodium borate
Alcohol <24% Collagen L-leucine Sodium bicarbonate
Alanine Dextrin Lactose monohydrate Sodium carbonate
Albumin, bovine EDTA (acid free) Lysine hydrochloride Sodium chloride
Alumina EDTA disodium salt Maltose Sodium citrate
Aluminum oxide Egg albumin Manganese chloride Sodium phosphate
Ammonium acetate Ferric citrate Manganese sulfate monohydrate Sodium sulfate
Ammonium phosphate dibasic Ferric oxide Mannitol Sorbitol
Ammonium sulfate Ferrous sulfate hexahydrate Magnesium borate Stannic oxide
Amylase Fetal bovine serum Magnesium carbonate Stannous oxide
Amylose Folic acid Magnesium chloride Starch
Anifoam E Emulsion Fructose Magnesium oxide Sugars
Asparagine Gelatin Magnesium phosphate Tetraethylammonium chloride monohydrate
Aspartic Acid Glucose Magnesium sulfate Thiamine hydrochloride
Bases, pH <10 Glutamic acid Niacin Tin
Boric Acid Glycerol Pectin Titanium oxide
Calcium acetate Glycerine Potassium borate Tris base
Calcium borate Glycogen Potassium carbonate Trypsin
Calcium carbonate Hypo Clearing Agent Potassium chloride Yeast extract
Calcium chloride Inositol Potassium phosphate Zinc oxide
Calcium citrate Iron Potassium sulfate  

Materials that do not appear on these lists MUST be collected for disposa.


NOTE THAT LIQUID NITROGEN OR DRY ICE MUST NEVER BE PLACED IN THE SINKS, AS THEY CAN CRACK THE SINK AND CAUSE DAMAGE TO THE PLUMBING.

14.0 Appendix D - Disposal Procedures for Non-Laboratory Areas

Northwestern University non-laboratory areas utilize and generate a wide variety of hazardous substances. Hazardous waste handling and disposal compliance in non-laboratory areas is managed by Risk Management Services and includes departments such as: Art Practice & Theory shops, Athletics, Facilities, Library Preservation Lab, Residential Services and Wirtz Center shops.

For disposal questions, contact hazardous-waste@northwestern.edu.

Aerosol Cans

If completely empty and punctured, aerosol cans may be trash disposed. If contents or pressure remains, bring to the designated satellite accumulation area.

Batteries

There are a variety of batteries used: lead-acid (automotive), mercury, lithium containing, ordinary household and rechargeable. Dispose of all battery types through hazardous-waste@northwestern.edu . Battery recycling boxes are available through Research Safety.

Cleaners, Degreasers, Parts Washers

Consult with hazardous-waste@northwestern.edu to set up collection, disposal and service options. Dispose of all degreasers and parts washing fluids as hazardous waste.

Fluorescent Light Bulbs

Collect all fluorescent light bulbs, place bulbs in break-resistant packaging and bring to the designated satellite accumulation area.

Broken light bulbs: Gather coarse debris, package in a closed container and use a sticky roller to pick up fine debris. Sticky rollers are available through Risk Management. See also the Universal Waste Guide for clean-up.

Gas Cylinders

If at all possible, return compressed gases to the manufacturer or supplier for reuse. Ensure that the label on each cylinder is legible. Keep the valve protection cap on the cylinder when not in use.

Glycol

Dispose of all spent glycol in a closed container and bring to the designated satellite accumulation area.

Oils

Place waste oil containers in secondary spill containment.

Paint

Old, unwanted full cans of latex or oil paints must be disposed of through hazardous-waste@northwestern.edu. Opened, nearly empty cans of latex paint can be allowed to air dry until solid then be disposed in the trash.

Paint Thinners, Related Chemicals, Contaminated Rags

Rags and paper towels contaminated with paint thinner must be collected and stored in a flammable-rated container, and bring to the designated satellite accumulation area.

Pesticides

Dispose of all pesticides through hazardous-waste@northwestern.edu.

Photographic Solutions

Used Fixer (Black & White, Color, Bleach, Microfilm): Dispose in a designated container with a Hazardous Waste Label.

Stabilizers and Activators: Dispose in a designated container with a Hazardous Waste Label.

Developers – Black & White, and Color: Dispose in a designated container with a Hazardous Waste Label.

Solvents

Aqueous, halogenated and non-halogenated waste streams should be separated if possible. Common solvents include acetone and methanol. Solvents must be collected in compatible and right-sized containers. Attach a Hazardous Waste Label to the container. List all chemical constituents and pH on the waste label.

Saw Dust

Collect saw dust in a designated sealed container. Deposit no other material inside these containers. Dispose in trash when full.

15.0 Citations

  1. 35 Illinois Administrative Code 722
  2. 35 Illinois Administrative Code 722.314
  3. The mixture rule at 40 CFR 261.3(a)(2)(iv) states that if you mix a solid waste with any listed waste, the entire mixture is listed hazardous waste. Discarded, unused, commercial chemical products arising from what are known as de minimis losses are exempt from the mixture rule when they are discharged through a wastewater treatment system regulated by the Clean Water Act.  De minimis losses include spills from unloading or transfer of materials, leaks from process equipment, leaks from well-maintained pump packings and seals, sample purgings, relief device discharges, safety shower discharges, rinsing and cleaning of personal safety equipment, and rinsate from emptying containers.
  4. The pH of solutions poured down the drain shall be between 5 and 10 to avoid violating local, state, or federal regulations.
  5. Adapted from University of Michigan Occupational Safety and Environmental Health Aqua Regia SOP
  6. Source: 40 CFR §261.24
  7. Source: 40 CFR §261.24
  8. Source: 40 CFR §261.24
  9. Source: 40 CFR §261.24
  10. Source: 40 CFR §261.24
  11. Source: 40 CFR §261.24
  12. Metropolitan Water Reclamation District Sewage and Waste Control Ordinance, Appendix B (2015)
  13. Metropolitan Water Reclamation District Sewage and Waste Control Ordinance, Appendix B (2015)
  14. Source: 40 CFR §261.24
  15. Metropolitan Water Reclamation District Sewage and Waste Control Ordinance, Appendix B (2015)
  16. Source: 40 CFR §261.24
  17. Metropolitan Water Reclamation District Sewage and Waste Control Ordinance, Appendix B (2015)
  18. Metropolitan Water Reclamation District Sewage and Waste Control Ordinance, Appendix B (2015)
  19. Source: 40 CFR §261.24
  20. Source: 40 CFR §261.24