Hazardous Materials Disposal Guide
NEW! Hazardous waste on-line training and QUIZ
Biohazard and Sharps Waste Disposal
- Infectious waste must be disposed of in a carefully controlled manner in accordance with regulations administered by both the Oregon DEQ and the Health Department.
- Infectious waste has been defined to include biological waste, cultures and stocks, pathological waste, and sharps.
- Infectious wastes must either be incinerated or treated prior to disposal.
- The term infectious waste is synonymous with biohazard; it does NOT include chemical agents, such as carcinogens, which affect living organisms through chemical means.
- Includes blood and blood products, excretions, exudates, secretions, suctionings and other body fluids that cannot be directly discarded into the municipal sewer system
- EXCLUDES articles contaminated with fully absorbed or dried blood.
- Biological waste must either be incinerated or sterilized with steam in a dedicated autoclave.
- After treatment, biological waste may be treated as normal refuse.
Cultures & Stocks
- Include etiologic agents and associated biologicals, including specimen cultures and dishes and devices used to transfer, inoculate and mix cultures.
- Includes wastes from the production of biologicals, serums, and discarded live or attenuated vaccines.
- Cultures and stocks must be treated in the same way as biological waste.
- Includes biopsy materials, all human tissues, and anatomical parts from surgery and other procedures.
- Includes carcasses and bedding from animals exposed to pathogens in research, but does NOT include teeth or preservative agents such as formaldehyde.
- Pathological waste must be incinerated.
- Includes needles, scalpel blades, lancets and syringes that have been removed from their original sterile containers.
- Sharps must be incinerated.
- The definition DOES NOT exempt needles or syringes used for non-infectious materials, such as transferring chemical solutions.
- Wastes which must incinerated must be collected and taken to a DEQ-permitted infectious waste incinerator.
- Wastes which may be disposed in the ordinary trash should be clearly marked "NON-INFECTIOUS" or "STERILE" and put inside outer packaging which is NOT red or orange in color.
- AUTOCLAVES used for infectious waste treatment must be designated and tested.
- Autoclave users must develop written operating procedures keep records which detail parameters for treatment, methods for monitoring, methods for indicating adequate sterilization conditions during each treatment, and monthly tests of sterilization conditions using a specified biological indicator.
- EH&S will collect full sharps containers from campus locations - use the on-line request form
- Generators who anticipate having other infectious wastes which require incineration should arrange this service through EH&S
- Infectious waste should be segregated from other wastes by putting in separate containers at the point of generation.
- Locate containers to minimize access by unauthorized persons and clearly identify as containing infectious waste.
- Except for sharps, store infectious waste in red plastic bags OR containers made of other materials impervious to moisture and strong enough to prevent tearing under normal use conditions.
- Pathological, biological and culture/stock wastes should be treated or disposed within 7 days of generation, or within 30 days if refrigerated or frozen.
- If a generator (laboratory or department) produces less than 50 pounds of waste in a calendar month, the 7 day storage limitation does not apply.
- SHARPS should be contained in leak proof, rigid, puncture resistant RED containers which have tight lids or are taped closed.
- Sharps containers can be purchased from commercial vendors
- There is no limit on the length of storage for sharps
Chemical Waste Disposal
- Prior to disposal of any chemical waste, OSU must perform an official hazardous waste determination to see if the waste is hazardous. EH&S performs that service for the university community.
- A short list of non-hazardous chemicals can be found on the EH&S web site; all others should be considered hazardous until the determination has been made.
- Hazardous waste is incinerated, at off-site locations, whenever possible. Departments are encouraged to employ waste reduction procedures to limit costs. Use these guidelines to prepare and request disposal of hazardous chemical waste.
Hazardous chemical waste refers to any material substance that is
- CORROSIVE (pH<2 or pH>12)
- REACTIVE (oxidizers, water reactive)
- FLAMMABLE (flash point <140 F)
- All waste must be in appropriate NON-LEAKING containers with lids that are non-leaking, tight fitting and are not cracked, broken, or chemically damaged.
- The container size should match the amount of waste.
- Containers must be compatible with the waste contained.
- Liquid containers must be less than 5 gallons and weigh less than 45 pounds.
- Paper or cardboard primary containers should be put into sealed plastic bags.
- Except for common solvents which can be bulked together, waste disposal charges are related to container volume rather than solely a weight basis; a partially full container may cost the same as a full one.
- All unused chemicals in original non-leaking containers with manufacturer's label will be accepted as is.
- All other waste requires a hazardous waste label. Click here for printable single label and full sheet labels. The labels must be completed and attached to each waste container, except for very small containers.
- Labels should be affixed in a manner that does not cover existing labels or markings.
- Solvent labels should preferably be put onto string tags attached to containers.
- Complete the LOWER part of the label with your name, building, room number, department, and identification of contents. Include total weight or volume and percent ranges for all constituents.
- Generators should find cardboard boxes and make them available to EH&S staff at the time of waste removal.
- DO NOT pack waste in boxes, since waste containers will be examined by visual inspection.
- EH&S staff will pack waste in boxes according to compatibility.
- Boxes should be sealable when necessary, and sturdy enough to transport the material.
- Boxes exceeding 45 pounds or 18 inches on a side cannot be safely handled by one person, and will not be picked up.
- To request waste pickup,
- Use the web request form
- Fill out the requested information (name, phone, email, department)
- Include pickup location (building & room number).
- Pickup will occur within a week on scheduled waste pickup day (typically Tuesday)
- All aerosol cans are considered hazardous waste until completely empty and punctured.
- Several campus departments have purchased devices to open aerosol cans and drain contents, except for cans with pesticides or other highly toxic materials. The container used to collect contents must be closed to the atmosphere.
- Aerosol vans will be picked up as with other hazardous wastes.
Photographic Darkroom Chemicals
- Used photographic fixer is recycled through EH&S.
- Many other USED photographic chemicals are typically non-hazardous, but may not be; common contaminants include silver and chrome.
- Many darkroom chemicals are outside the allowable pH levels for disposal as non-hazardous waste.
- Unused chemicals may have value to other departmental darkrooms, and many are hazardous. Please contact EH&S to discuss specific items.
- Used motor oil from internal combustion engine processes can be recycled through OSU Transportation Services.
- All used oil produced in laboratory operations, including pump oil, must disposed of through the hazardous waste disposal program.
- Identification of potential contaminants is essential.
- Organic solvents can be combined by EH&S and reused for off-site fuel or solvent recovery. There is no minimum amount needed for requesting disposal.
- When organic solvents are mixed with other chemicals, the mixture becomes unsuitable for heat recovery and costs will increase.
- "Other chemicals" include halogenated solvents, acutely toxic material, acids, bases, heavy metals, oxidizers, and pesticides.
- Halogenated solvents should be separated from other liquids for solvent recovery.
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):
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
EMERGENCY MEDICAL TREATMENT
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
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, a container is only empty when it has been triple rinsed with a solvent capable of removing the remaining contents. Contact EH&S for specific discussions of which group a material falls into.
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 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.
- 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.
- Remove lids from containers. If necessary to prevent rain accumulation, replace with foil caps or plastic wrap.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Heat Resistant Glass, which includes
- borosilicate glass (hard glass or lab glass):
- pasteur or volumetric pipets
- glass tubing & rods
- microscope slides and cover glasses
- Plate Glass (window glass)
- Automotive Glass
Non-Hazardous Wastes - Recycling - Treatment
- EH&S must perform an official hazardous waste determination for disposal of all chemicals
- Collect solids in disposable, non-leaking containers, labeled with contents, clearly marked as non-hazardous, and prepared for disposal
- EH&S will accept and dispose any well-identified non-hazardous waste; it can alternatively be placed in the campus garbage collection system
- Solutions containing only non-hazardous, water miscible liquid materials, pH between 6 and 9.5, can be disposed through the sewer system
- Remember: "hazardous" includes flammable liquids even if water soluble
- Corvallis wastewater disposal guidelines
- Full Corvallis Sewer guidelines
The items listed below are considered NON hazardous:
- Acetates: Ca, K, Na, K, Mg, NH4
- Naturally occurring amino acids & salts
- Citric acid and salts of Na, K, Mg, NH4, Ca
- Bicarbonates: Na, K
- Borates: Na, K, Mg, Ca
- Bromides: Na, K, NH4
- Carbonates: Na, K, Mg, Ca, NH4
- Chlorides: Na, K, Mg, Ca, NH4
- Formates: Na, K, Mg, Ca, NH4
- Lactic acid and salts of Na, K, Mg, NH4, Ca
- Sugars and sugar alcohols
- Iodides: Na, K, Ca
- Oxides: B, Mg, Ca, Al, Si, Fe, Zn
- Phosphates: Na, K, Mg, Ca, NH4
- Silicates: Na, K, Mg, Ca
- Sulfates: Na, K, Mg, Ca, NH4
- Possible if material is in unopened containers or partially used original containers and of high quality
- Materials are available to interested parties at OSU. Be careful not to obliterate any parts of labels
- Chemicals and chemical products should not be given or sold to the general public or offered as surplus property
- Commercial chemical products may be offered as surplus property if reasonable cautions are followed
- Elementary neutralization can be performed on wastes which are hazardous only because they are corrosive (acids, bases)
- A neutralized solution should have a final pH value between 6 and 9. Corrosive waste should not be discharged through the sewer system
- EH&S may be able to provide generators with appropriate neutralization materials
- Treatment of other materials to lessen the hazard or amount of a waste can be included as part of standard operating procedures in laboratories
- Such procedures should be written and made a part of specific experimental protocol
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 until completely empty. The Facilities Services department has purchased several devices to open aerosol cans and drain contents, except for cans with pesticides or other highly toxic materials, which should be treated as with other hazardous wastes. Departments which produce a lot of aerosol cans are encouraged to purchase their own opening device, in consultation with EH&S.
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
- Only containers available from or approved by EH&S shall be used.
- Each radioactive waste container must have a record of materials in the container which is kept up-to-date.
- Mark each container with a "Caution--Radioactive Material" label.
- Package the waste according to the instructions given for each waste type below.
- Segregate waste according to half-life:
- less than 91 days = short-lived
- greater than 90 days = long-lived
- When the container is full, complete a Radioactive Waste Disposal tag. Instructions are on the back of the tag.
- Attach the tag to the outer container surface.
- Fill out web request form for disposal. Allow one week for collection of the waste.
- Effective July 1, 2008, Radiation Safety no longer recharges generators for routine laboratory radioactive waste. Non-routine waste will be billed for the actual disposal costs. See Information Bulletin 09-01 for information on Radioactive Waste Disposal charges.
- Segregate by half-life.
- Place dry waste in EH&S-supplied 15 gallon drums, marked "Dry Radioactive Waste Only."
- Place all solid radioactive waste (filter papers, gloves, bottle caps, empty scintillation vials, etc.) into innermost plastic liner.
- When full, tape plastic liner shut; do not overfill.
- Don't put unabsorbed liquid in dry waste containers.
- Do not put contaminated equipment or radioactive powders in dry waste drums; contact EH&S for disposal instructions for these materials.
- Contain sharps in a separate rigid red plastic container to prevent puncture injuries.
- Must be placed in EH&S-supplied carboys with secure screw tops.
- Must have a "Caution - Radioactive Material" label attached.
- Keep containers closed during storage.
- Supply secondary containment able to contain the liquid in case of breakage.
- Segregate LSC fluid, aqueous, and other liquids.
- Segregate aqueous waste by half-life.
Scintillation vials with counting fluid
- Must be placed in a container supplied by EH&S
- Mark container "Scintillation Vials Only"
- Carefully place UNOPENED vials into inner plastic liner. When full, tape plastic liner shut; do not overfill
- Dispose bulk liquid scintillation counting fluid by emptying into EH&S-supplied, properly labeled liquid waste jugs and treating as liquid waste
- Segregate scintillation fluid from other liquid wastes
- Empty scintillation vials may be washed and reused, or may be disposed as dry waste if they contain NO residual scintillation fluid
- Place all biological wastes (animal carcasses or parts, blood, urine, feces, bedding, etc.) inside plastic bags with the ends sealed
- Autoclave infectious waste prior to disposal
- Identify each bag with a "Caution - Radioactive Material" label including radioisotopes, activities, dates, and name of program director
- Store in a freezer authorized for radioactive material until picked up by EH&S. DO NOT place unfrozen carcasses into a disposal drum.
- Collect 1-2 cubic feet of waste; complete a Radioactive Waste Disposal tag for the entire lot.
Mixed waste is any waste material, other than LSC fluid, that contains radioisotopes and possesses other hazardous properties; i.e. the waste is:
- Flammable or explosive
- Corrosive (pH greater than 12.5 or less than 2)
- Persistent (halogenated hydrocarbons and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons with more than three and less than seven rings)
Contact EH&S before generating ANY mixed waste.
- Mixed waste must be characterized for isotope as well as hazardous components and concentrations (% by weight or volume)
- Common examples of mixed waste include
- radio-labeled carcinogens
- solvents containing radioisotopes
- contaminated lead
- There is a disposal option for liquid scintillation cocktail containing radioisotopes.
- Contact EH&S PRIOR to generating mixed waste for guidance on
- minimizing waste generation
- treatment options
- The cost to dispose of hazardous chemical waste will often exceed the original purchase price of a chemical or chemical product
- EH&S is funded for disposal of most hazardous waste costs. EH&S strongly encourages waste generators to use waste reduction techniques
- Techniques listed below will help reduce the volume and disposal cost of our waste
- Check with EH&S for current disposal rates if interested
- Fines from regulatory agencies may be assessed for not properly handling waste materials and can be substantial
PURCHASE CHEMICALS to match anticipated needs.
- Substantial portion of hazardous waste generated at OSU consists of unused or partly used chemicals that are in original containers
- Per-unit savings from purchasing larger sized chemical containers are often offset by costs for disposal of unused portions, especially those with limited shelf life
- Even if it isn't possible to exactly determine future needs, any effort will be beneficial
- Hazardous substance procedures can often be modified to lessen the hazard or amount of waste products. A less hazardous material can be substituted and perform as well
- Example: substituting a commercial lab glass cleaner (e.g. NOCHROMIX) in place of chromic acid cleaning solution. The resulting mixture is still hazardous because of its corrosive properties, but has no toxic chromium and can therefore be neutralized
- Reactive substances--those that react with water or air or are unstable--are especially troublesome disposal items. Disposal costs associated with picric acid, for example, can be as much as ten times the original purchase price
- Difficult and expensive to dispose
- Prevent by good record keeping and labeling, including designating constituents and percentages.
- Responsible departments must make every effort to identify unknowns
- If this is not possible, then the responsible department may be asked to share the cost of identification or classification required for disposal of unknowns
- Possible if material is in unopened containers or partially used original containers and of high quality
- Materials available to interested parties at OSU
- Do not obliterate any parts of labels
- Chemicals and chemical products should not be given or sold to the general public or offered as surplus property
- Commercial chemical products may be offered for surplus if reasonable cautions are followed
- Mixing a low-cost disposal item with a higher one makes the entire lot a higher-cost item
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.
- All containers need to have a label at all time indicating contents. For waste materials, this could be a simple label such as "WASTE SOLVENT" or "USED ACETONE".
- Put the label on thecontainer BEFORE ADDING WASTE.
- All containers need a lid at all times when not actively adding or removing waste. Evaporation in a hood is not a legal disposal method. Funnels do not count as lids.
- Secondary containment is advised for liquid containers.
- Storage limits and locations are the same for waste as for new materials. For example, storage of flammable liquids in excess of 10 gallons requires a flammable liquid storage cabinet. Glass bottles may not be stored on the floor because they can easily be broken by accidental kicking.
CONTACT Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S, 7-2273) for the disposal of:
- aerosol cans
- biohazards and sharps
- chemical waste
- pump oil
- paint (unused or partially used)
- radioactive waste
- radioactive fire alarms
- all other nuclear (not unclear) material
CONTACT Property Administration (7-3102) for the disposal of
- empty rinsed recyclable glass