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Oregon State University

Chemical Waste Disposal


  • Prior to disposal of any chemical waste, generators must perform an official hazardous waste determination to see if the waste is hazardous. EH&S also performs that service for the university, and routinely performs determinations when picking up the waste.
  • A short list of non-hazardous chemicals can be found on the Hazardous Waste Reduction page oif this guide; all others should be considered hazardous pending consultation with EH&S.
  • Hazardous waste is usually incinerated at off-site locations at substantial cost to the univeristy. 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.
  • Containers of questionable integrity should be put into sealed heavy duty plastic bags.


  • 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 fillable/printable 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.
  • Waste labels for EH&S-provided solvent containers should be put onto the hang tags which EH&S attaches to containers.
  • Complete the UPPER part of the label with building and room number. Include on the LOWER part identification of contents. Include total weight or volume and percent ranges for all constituents.


  • DO NOT pack waste in boxes, since waste containers will be visually inspected.
  • EH&S staff will segregate waste according to compatibility.


  • To request waste pickup,
    • Use the web request form
    • Fill out the requested information (name, phone, email, department)
    • Include pickup location (building name & room number)
    • Pickup will generally occur within a week
    • EH&S has access to all lab spaces on campus so it will not be necessary for you to leave the lab unlocked or to schedule a specific time for the pickup.
    • Please include special circumstances (such as room alarm) so an appointment can be made.


Aerosol Cans

  • All aerosol cans are considered hazardous waste.

Photographic Darkroom Chemicals

  • Used photographic chemicals are considered hazardous waste.

Used Oil

  • Used motor oil from internal combustion engine processes can be combined with used oil managed by OSU Transportation Services (Motor Pool). No other contaminants are allowed.
  • All used oil produced in laboratory operations, including pump oil, must disposed as hazardous waste.

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 in-lab 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.
  • EH&S will provide 20 liter containers for organic, halogenated, and aqueous-based solvent disposal.