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Oregon State University

Empty Containers and Glass

Empty Containers

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 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