The University of Arizona


Risk Management Services

Chemical Waste Disposal


Proper management of chemical waste is the responsibility of the occupants of the generating lab until removed from the labs, and Risk Management Services (RMS) after removal. Through a cooperative team effort, UA can achieve and maintain the highest level of environmental compliance.


A Good Place to Start

The Chemical Waste Disposal Basics chart is the best starting point on the road to compliance. This chart simplifies the process in word and picture.

Chemical Waste Disposal Basics Chart

The following is a more in depth discussion of the 4 steps on the chart.


Step 1 – Container Preparation
Selecting the proper container is vital to waste management. An improper container can fail resulting in a release in the lab or to the environment.


The preferred containers are 3.5 gallon plastic (HDPE) pails available from UA Stores. The pail (Item # 16111056) and lid (Item # 16111057) costs about $5.00 total. It is recommended that a lab have two months' supply of buckets. The lab will then have waste containers while RMS empties full containers removed from the lab.


Assembling the bucket properly ensures maximum service life. Use the instructions listed below:


Remove the plug that is under the cap on the lid. The plug is easier to cut out from the underside of the lid.


Do not follow the instructions written on the lid. The slots should not be cut and the tab should not be removed. Align the outlet hole so it is 90o from the handle. Pound the lid on with a hammer or mallet. Do not stand on top of the bucket and stamp the lid into place. Write the building name and lab number on the lid opposite the spout or on the side of the bucket. Use an indelible marker.


Smaller containers are acceptable if a lab generates minimal amounts of waste. Acceptable small containers are made of thick wall plastic (not a soda bottle or milk jug). The containers are considered single use only and will not be returned.


Step 2 – Waste Identification Tag
Proper waste identification is as critical as proper containers. Everyone benefits if the contents of the waste container are known. Federal regulations require the contents of the container be identified as soon as the first drop of waste is added to the bucket. The University of Arizona Hazardous Waste Identification Tag is designed to list waste constituents. Attaching the tag to the bucket handle before the bucket is put into use is a good habit.


Required information on the tag includes: 1) name of the person most familiar with the waste, 2) phone number, 3) building name and lab number, 4) full chemical name of waste(s).


Step 3 – Waste Accumulation
Liquid waste should be segregated into the following compatibility groups:

As waste is added to the container, the complete chemical name should be written on the tag. (Simple abbreviations and formulas like H2SO4, NaOH and EtBr will be accepted).


Solids and liquids need to be segregated. Solids in the liquid waste containers hinder the consolidation process and may damage the waste disposal facility's pump system.


Containers must be kept closed except when adding waste.


Step 4 – Request Pick-up
Waste will be removed after RMS receives a pick-up request. Requests can be made in four ways.

     Phone: 621-5861
     Fax: 626-4925
     Email: hazmat@email.arizona.edu
     On-line: https://risk.arizona.edu/environmentalcompliance/chemicalwastepickupform.php


Regardless of the method of request, the following information must be provided:

  1. Name of person who knows about the waste
  2. Phone number
  3. Building name and room number
  4. Location of waste in room
  5. Number of containers and size of each
  6. Request tags and wires if needed.

A request must be made for a waste pick-up. For labs in the Chemistry Department, requests must be received by Monday night. For labs on the Quadrant schedule (PDF format), requests must be received by the Wednesday before the scheduled pick-up day.


Make sure the containers are properly tagged and closed before leaving on the day before the scheduled pick-up day. Improperly or untagged waste will not be removed and another request must be submitted.


Risk Management Services is a resource to help labs maintain regulatory compliance. Contact us for assistance in properly managing chemical waste.