Disposal

Batteries contain various metals and chemical compounds that can contaminate groundwater if improperly disposed. The following types of batteries must be given to RMS for proper disposal at an EPA permitted disposal facility: lead-acid, mercury, lithium, nickel-cadmium, silver oxide and nickel metal hydride.  Sealed lead acids batteries need to have the terminals covered with electrical or duct tape prior to pick-up.

The newer alkaline batteries, (e.g., flashlight batteries, clock batteries, etc.) do not contain leachable metals and can be disposed of as regular trash.

To arrange for disposal of batteries, please contact RMS using the chemical waste pickup form. For more information, contact Joe Divijak by phone at 621-5861 or by e-mail at hazmat@email.arizona.edu.

Risk Management Responsibility

University of Arizona Risk Management Services (RMS) will transport full biohazardous/pathological waste containers from the collection points to the central accumulation point. Clean, sanitized waste containers will be returned to all collection points. The Research Laboratory Safety Services (https://rgw.arizona.edu/compliance/RLSS) will coordinate training for all University personnel involved with the biohazard/pathological waste program. Training includes information on personal protective equipment, designation, segregation, packaging and handling of contaminated waste. RMS staff will be available to assist laboratory personnel in rectifying any problems that may arise. Any questions should be addressed to RMS.

Bio-hazardous Waste Collection Sites

Here is the list of Bio-hazardous Waste Collection Sites.

For more details, see Biological Waste Management page.

All broken glass must be disposed of properly to prevent injury to University students, faculty, or staff.

The generator is responsible for disposing of all broken glass in special plastic-lined, cardboard receptacles (available from Facilities Management Custodial Services at no charge, call 621-7558). These containers must be used for broken glass only. Do not smash glass to increase the volume of the container. When these receptacles are full, the generator is required to call Custodial Services and inform them. Please, do not overfill. Custodial Services will seal the receptacle, remove it, and replace it with a new container.

Contact the University Research Instrumentation Center Cryogenics Facility at 621-2374 for disposal of All acceptable compressed cylinders.

Acceptable Criteria

  • Not leaking
  • Contents known
  • Regulator removed
  • Cylinder cap and plug in place, if provided.

Contact Risk Management Services at 621-5861 to discuss disposal of gases that do not meet the acceptable criteria.

Three Good Reasons to Dispose of Old Compressed Gas Cylinders

  • You will reduce unnecessary hazards in the lab. Compressed gases have limited shelf-lives (certificates of analysis expire, purity is compromised) and cylinders can leak or rupture – especially corrosive gases, which can corrode cylinder components and build up pressure and possibly burst. That is why corrosive gases should be used within one year and why larger cylinders must be inspected and pressure tested every 5 years.
  • You will create more useable space – especially in fume hoods. Toxic and corrosive gases must be stored and used in fume hoods or other exhausted enclosures.
  • You will avoid extended cylinder rental charges or replacement cost if the cylinder is lost, missing or damaged, and do someone else a favor. Campus cylinders are limited and someone else may need a cylinder.

Some researchers at the University of Arizona work with controlled substances that are regulated by the Department of Drug Enforcement (DEA).  Users of controlled substances must obtain advance authorization, and comply with applicable regulations for purchase, use, storage, tracking and disposal of these materials.  A significant goal of this regulatory program is to prevent the diversion of controlled substances for illegal use, and maintain a compliance structure to allow continued access for University research purposes.  Additional, proper management of controlled substances also serves to prevent the detrimental effects of improperly disposed pharmaceuticals in the environment.  Researchers proposing use of controlled substances must obtain advance authorization from Procurement & Contracting Services (PACS). 

A key component of the regulatory framework for controlled substance is disposal at a DEA approved facility.  Risk Management Services will arrange appropriate collection and disposal of unused, unwanted or expired controlled substances that cannot be returned to the sponsoring organization.  Non-scheduled pharmaceuticals can also be disposed of through this program.  Please contact Hazardous Waste Supervisor Joe Divijak at 621-5861or jdivijak@email.arizona.edu for the required forms if you need to dispose of controlled substances.

Electronic equipment, (including printed circuit boards and UPS units), contains leachable heavy metals that have the potential to contaminate the environment if improperly discarded.

Many of the metals are recoverable when handled by a licensed recycler. The Surplus Property Office is the contact for disposal of electronic equipment. Surplus Property can be reached at 621-1754.

Risk Management recommends the following methods for disposing of spent electrophoresis gels and Ethidium Bromide (EtBr) contaminated materials:

  • Less than 0.1% EtBr should be disposed of as regular trash. Gels should be double bagged in black or buff bags. Both bags need to be sealed and weigh no more than 15 pounds.
  • More than or equal to 0.1% EtBr or dark pink or red gels, dispose as biohazardous waste. Double bag waste in red or orange bags. Seal both bags and deposit in biohazardous waste barrel for ultimate disposal.
  • Heavily contaminated gloves, tubes and wipes should be disposed of as biohazardous waste.

Ethidium Bromide can be removed from solutions using a filter available from Risk Management. Ethidium Bromide solutions should not be poured down the drain.

Please contact Joe Divijak at 621-5861 or jdivijak@email.arizona.edu if you have questions about the recommendations.

Fluorescent, compact fluorescent lamps (CFL), ultra-violet (UV) and high intensity discharge (HID) lamps should not be disposed of as regular trash. Most fluorescent lamps, including CFLs and UV lamps, contain Mercury (a highly toxic, heavy metal) and HID lamps contain elemental Sodium (which is water reactive). For disposal of these lamps, please call the UA Facilities Management Work Desk at 621-3000 to arrange for pick up and disposal. You will be asked to provide the Bldg. name, room number, contact person and phone number. Your request will be put on a daily log and you should see a response within 24 - 48 hours.

RMS is responsible for mercury containing short arc bulbs. Complete the on-line chemical waste pick-up request form to schedule removal.

By definition, a sharp is anything capable of inflicting a puncture wound. Examples are needles, scalpels, razor blades, pipette tips and other sharp metallic or plastic object. Such items must be disposed of properly to prevent injury to students, faculty or staff.

Individuals generating sharps waste are responsible for containing sharps in sharps containers. These containers are puncture resistant plastic containers available from UA Stores and vendors such as Fisher ScientificVWR or Grainger. Sharps containers must be located in the immediate area where sharps are used. When disposing of a needle, drop the needle and syringe assembly into the container. There is no need to re-cap a needle! When a sharps container is full, it becomes part of the Biohazardous/Pathological Waste Program. For information on this program go to "Biohazardous/Pathological Waste Disposal Procedure".

Questions regarding sharps can be directed to hazmat@email.arizona.edu or call 621-5861.