Hazardous Materials Disposal Guide

Chemical Dispoal Biohazard and Sharps Disposal Radioactive Material Disposal


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Biohazard and Sharps Waste Disposal




Biological Waste

Cultures & Stocks

Pathological Waste




Chemical Waste Disposal


Hazardous chemical waste refers to any material substance that is






Aerosol Cans

Photographic Darkroom Chemicals

Used Oil

Organic Solvents


HAZARDOUS MATERIALS SPILLS are an inevitable part of most work environments. To effectively combat spills, it is necessary to prepare for them beforehand. Whenever employees work with a substance, they should be aware of its characteristics, and should have formulated plans of what to do in case of a spill, including what steps to take, who to call for assistance, what personal protective equipment is necessary, and what material is appropriate contend with a spill, and where to find appropriate spill-response equipment. The chemical spill response capability available from EH&S and Radiation Safety (RS) does not lessen the responsibility of work groups to prepare plans to deal safely with small spills. Departments are encouraged to have spill response kits at strategic locations.

GENERAL GUIDELINES The first step in dealing with any chemical spill is to assess the magnitude of spilled material and the associated level of hazard. No one should attempt to deal with a spill until properly equipped with adequate personal protective equipment and spill treatment materials. Risk assessment is successful only if personnel are familiar with the hazardous properties of the material they are handling and have developed methods to follow in the event of a spill. Information of this type is available from material safety data sheets and from EH&S. EH&S and RS have the responsibilities to respond to chemical and radioactive materials spills, respectively, and to oversee cleanup activities. These groups also have the authority to ensure that appropriate cleanup steps are taken in accordance with applicable environmental regulations. EH&S maintains a chemical spill response vehicle which is equipped to handle typical chemical spills.

REPORTING EH&S can be contacted for assistance in dealing with a chemical spill by calling 7-4038, or by contacting Public Safety/Security Services at 7-3010. RS can be contacted for help with radioactive materials spills at 7-2227. The Oregon DEQ has established regulations requiring OSU to submit reports for chemical spills over certain specified amounts. All large spills of a hazardous chemical (more than 1 gallon liquid or 1 pound solid) must be reported promptly to EH&S, who will make the report to DEQ if necessary. Reporting smaller spills is not required, but encouraged; EHS will respond appropriately to reports of any size spill. Radioactive material spills should be reported

MERCURY EH&S response capabilities includes a vacuum designed for cleaning up mercury spills. To aid that effort, do not spread other chemicals or absorbent materials on mercury spills. Doing so will make it more difficult to clean up the mercury and increase the disposal cost of contaminated debris.

PROCEDURES If the risk assessment suggests you can safely and properly clean up the spill (if not, call EH&S):

  1. Get personal protective equipment (PPE). Do not attempt spill response until you have put on PPE appropriate for the situation. Available equipment may include respiratory protection, goggles, gloves, impervious shoes/boots, and body protection. All equipment will not be necessary for every situation, but should be available. If you are unsure about your ability to control a spill, get assistance. Any spill for which respiratory protection is needed must not be conducted without backup personnel equipped in the same manner. This level of spill should be left to EH&S.
  2. Get spill control equipment from your department's spill kit. Spill control materials are sold in two general forms: loose materials (vermiculite, cat litter) and spill control pillows, which are produced in various shapes and contain different types of absorbents. Spill control pillows are preferred because they are much easier to pick up when finished. Also available are materials designed for specific types of chemical spills such as acids or solvents. In general, spilled liquids present more danger than solids, and quick response is therefore critical. For flammable liquids, special attention should be paid to potential ignition sources in the vicinity.
  3. Absorb the spill. If there is danger the spill may spread, dike the perimeter with absorbent, then absorb. "Floor chemistry" should not be attempted. If you desire to perform simple neutralization/treatment schemes, first absorb and contain the material.
  4. Collect the contaminated absorbent and put into an sturdy leak proof container. Close the container if there are volatile substances which may continue to pose a threat.
  5. Dispose of the contaminated absorbent in the same manner you would dispose of the substance that was spilled. If the spilled chemical is hazardous, do not put the cleanup residue in the dumpster. If hazardous, contact EH&S to dispose.


In situations which require emergency medical treatment, call 911 to reach the Corvallis Emergency Response Dispatch. Public Safety/Security Services will also be notified.

Empty Containers and Glass

Empty Containers

Chemical containers that have held hazardous substances are empty by definition when one of two conditions are met. For one group of materials, a container is empty when all contents have been removed by techniques ordinarily used for that type of material (eg, pouring for liquids), and the container has less than 3% of the original contents. For another group, called P-List materials, a container is only empty when it has been triple rinsed with a solvent capable of removing the remaining contents. P-List materials can be found here http://oregonstate.edu/ehs/sites/default/files/pdf/Plist.pdf

In all cases, remove as much of the contents as possible before disposal (including recycling). For liquids, this would be turning the container upside down and letting it drain until no more drops will come out. For low viscosity liquids such as aqueous solutions, let drip no less than 60 seconds.

Glass Recycling

Glass at OSU is recycled through Corvallis Disposal. The glass recycling program should not be used as an avenue to circumvent the proper disposal of chemical wastes, including the residues of chemicals in containers. In order to avoid continuing problems associated with its collection, the following guidelines should help when preparing glass for recycling.

  1. Clean glass of all chemical residues. Proper chemical disposal policies should be followed for chemical disposal. Employees who recycle glass must handle these containers, and should not be exposed to hazardous or unknown materials. Separation of glass by color is NOT necessary.
  2. Remove lids from containers. If necessary to prevent rain accumulation, replace with foil caps or plastic wrap.
  3. Keep broken glass to a minimum. Any clean broken glass should be loosely packaged to facilitate removal without exposing recycling employees to sharp edges. Broken bottles should be handled carefully.
  4. Protect containers left out of doors to prevent rain accumulation inside them. Water inside bottles may be mistaken for a liquid chemical, and generally makes the recycling process more difficult. Turning bottles upside-down works well.
  5. Pay careful attention to types of glass. Listed below are the types of glass that are NOT acceptable for recycling. Non-recyclable glass mixed with recyclable causes more difficulties for the recycling operation than any other.

Non-Recyclable Glass

  1. Heat Resistant Glass, which includes
    • borosilicate glass (hard glass or lab glass):
      • corning
      • pyrex
      • kimax
      • kimble
    • pasteur or volumetric pipets
    • glass tubing & rods
    • microscope slides and cover glasses
  2. Plate Glass (window glass)
  3. Automotive Glass

Non-Hazardous Wastes - Recycling - Treatment


The items listed below are considered NON hazardous:



Office and Shop Waste

Office and shop settings typically utilize products that are found also in homes. Environmental regulations allow homeowners greater leeway in disposal of materials than in the workplace environment. What people are used to legally throwing away at home may not be legal to do at work.

AEROSOL CANS All aerosol cans are considered hazardous waste.

OFFICE PRODUCTS In the past, correction fluid ("white-out"), duplicating fluid, glues, and various thinners for these products were extensively used in offices. With the advent of word processing systems and photocopiers, the use of the these solvent- based products has decreased. Containers that are not completely dry are typically hazardous waste when disposed. In addition, toner fluid (for copiers and printers) may be hazardous, depending on constituents. Inks used for stamp pads or certain pens are typically hazardous.

CLEANING PRODUCTS Many cleaning products have a high or low enough pH to qualify as hazardous waste. Any cleaning product which smells of ammonia is likely to be above the pH allowed for sewer disposal under Corvallis drain disposal regulations. This does not affect the use of these products as intended, but should be kept in mind when getting rid of old or outdated stocks. In addition, many cleaning products contain solvents which may be classified as hazardous waste when disposed.

RAGS which are to be used for solvent-based purposes should be purchased, when possible, through a laundering service which includes laundering the rags. If this is not feasible, rags with flammable solvents or hazardous constituents should be collected in flammable rag containers and disposed as hazardous waste.

PARTS WASHERS typically contain flammable or halogenated solvents. Whenever possible, users should set up a recovery system to reclaim the solvent, or arrange for a commercial service which does this. Manufacturers often market replacement solvents which they claim are "non-toxic" or "biodegradable". Their use is encouraged, especially if it results in less chlorinated solvent use. Users must keep in mind, however, that the material they are cleaning may add contaminants to the solvent, such as metals or grease, which make it a hazardous waste.

PAINT is typically hazardous before drying. The use of lead and mercury in paint has largely disappeared, but the solvents used in both latex and oil-based paints are usually hazardous. Excess unopened or scarcely used paint in good condition should be offered as surplus property. Paint that has been opened should only be thrown away if it is completely dry. If not dry, it can be painted on something or disposed as hazardous waste. There are methods to recycle latex paint to groups that can use it. Contact EH&S for details.

Radioactive Waste Disposal




Aqueous wastes

Scintillation vials with counting fluid



Mixed waste is any waste material, other than LSC fluid, that contains radioisotopes and possesses other hazardous properties; i.e. the waste is:

Contact EH&S before generating ANY mixed waste.

Waste Costs


PURCHASE CHEMICALS to match anticipated needs.





Waste Storage and Disposal


THE STORAGE of hazardous materials must be in compliance with federal and state regulations. Your methods of handling waste are subject to unannounced inspections by state regulatory inspectors.


CONTACT Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S, 7-2273) for the disposal of:

CONTACT Property Administration (7-3102) for the disposal of

Hazardous Waste Determination

Hazardous Waste Determination - Oregon State University
You have a solid waste that you want to discard or is no longer useful. Is it hazardous?

You will need to ask yourself is it “hazardous” in order to determine how to properly dispose of the material. This process is called a “waste determination”. Waste determinations can be conducted using one of two methods: 1) Sampling and analysis or 2) Using generator knowledge. The below process applies to method #2:
1. Is the "solid waste" excluded from the definition of a hazardous waste? Check exclusion list. YES - waste is NOT hazardous
NO - go to step 2
2. Is the material on the K, F, P, or U lists? Check lists or run Report from online chemical inventory program. YES - waste IS hazardous
NO - go to step 3
3. Does the waste exhibit one or more characteristic hazards? Check D-list or run Report from online chemical inventory program. YES - waste IS hazardous
No - go to step 4
4. Waste is not hazardous by state/federal hazardous waste regulations, but may be hazardous by local or OSU rules.