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Oregon State University

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)


Aerosol Cans

  • 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 Oil

  • 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

  • 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.