Accumulation Rules and Empty Containers

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Hazardous Waste Accumulation Rules

  • Label all chemical waste with a Hazardous Waste Label or Non-regulated label. If you are in need of additional labels, please call/e-mail us and we will send some out right away.

  • Chemical waste will only be picked up if it is in an appropriate container for the waste with a screw top lid. Containers that were designed to store solid chemicals are not appropriate for holding liquid chemical waste. Please contact CEHS if you need any bottles for chemical waste or if you have any extra bottles (preferably wide-mouth jars with lids) that you no longer need. CEHS personnel will pick these bottles up and clean them, remove the original label and then distribute them to labs which need them for storing chemical waste.

  • Leave some extra room in the waste bottles for temperature and vapor pressure changes.

  • Chemical waste should be stored in secondary containers to avoid spills.

  • Chemical waste areas must be in a designated spot in the lab with a "Chemical Waste Satellite Accumulation Area" poster immediately above this area. Additionally, self-inspection checklists must be done on a monthly basis and kept on file for 3 years. Inspectors will check for these items.

    **To request a copy for your laboratory or work area, please send an e-mail to with your name, department, building, and room number.**

  • Any person in the lab who works with hazardous chemicals is required to attend annual Chemical Safety Trainings, which should be kept on file.

  • Do not accumulate the same type of waste in more than one container at the same time.

  • Fill out a Chemical Pickup Request Form and CEHS will pick up the chemical waste within 3 business days. If there is more than one chemical in a given solution, it is important to give approximate amounts/percentages of each separate chemical.

  • Bottles of chemical waste should have the original labels removed prior to storing different chemical waste.  Scratching out the original label with marker is not acceptable.  The entire label should be removed before attaching a hazardous waste label to a bottle of chemical waste that is different from the previous container contents.

Empty Containers

**If a lab has empty bottles (preferably 4-L) that they do not want, please contact CEHSWe will wash the bottle out, remove the labels, and provide them to labs who need extra chemical waste containers.**

Empty containers of five gallons or less may be placed in the dumpster if they meet the definition of the Resource Conservation  Recovery Act (RCRA) empty container rule. Containers that previously held a hazardous chemical or waste are defined as empty if:

  1. No hazardous matierals can be poured, pumped, or drained from the container.

  2. No hazardous materials remain in the container that can be feasibly removed.

  3. The walls of the container must not contain any significant residual materials.

  4. The label is defaced or the word "empty" is written on the container.

Rinsate from containers that formerly held an acutely hazardous commercial chemical product is, by the mixture rule, a listed hazardous waste subject to RCRA regulation. All other containers are empty when they have been emptied (by their normal means) and 1" or less remains in the bottom or a given percentage by weight of the contents remains.