Chemical Waste Disposal

2016

The purpose of this information sheet is to provide guidance to staff and students using chemicals, for research and teaching purposes to ensure that the chemical waste generated is disposed of according to the requirements of:

Heads of academic/administrative units and supervisory staff have a particular responsibility for ensuring that all persons who generate chemical waste dispose of it appropriately. This includes the development of waste disposal procedures, communicating local requirements to staff and students and ensuring that appropriate training is provided. The local safety officer can also provide specific advice on for disposing of chemical waste.

1. Types of chemical waste

Chemical waste is treated according to its physical and chemical properties therefore segregation of waste products is crucial. The mixing of incompatible materials in waste streams can result in unwanted reactions, such as the production of toxic gases or explosions and risk the lives of everyone in the area.

In some instances, it may not be possible to dispose of the waste through waste contractors, as they may not have the relevant licence or treatment facilities. In this instance, the waste generator must investigate alternative methods of disposal and if it is not possible to dispose of appropriately, the activity should not be performed.

It is the responsibility of the person performing the activity to include chemical waste disposal in risk assessments and produce procedures for disposal prior to conducting the experimental work.

2. Waste disposal methods

The Safety Data Sheet (SDS) must be consulted for appropriate disposal methods when conducting the risk assessment for any work that involves the use of chemicals.

2.1 Licensed contractor

The preferred method of chemical waste disposal is to use an EPA licensed waste contractor via the Monash Chemical Stores. This ensures that waste is disposed of in a safe and environmentally responsible way. Waste must be properly labelled, stored in a suitable container, and housed appropriately until collection. Arrangements must be in place for waste to be collected regularly by the licensed waste contractor for appropriate off-site treatment.

2.2 Treating waste at source/waste to sewer

In some instances chemical waste may be treated in-house, but only if the material(s) convert to a non-hazardous product. Under no circumstances should hazardous waste be allowed to enter drains or be disposed down the sink. Dilution is not an acceptable alternative to appropriate disposal.

3. Labelling

All chemical waste containers must be labelled to accurately reflect their contents. These labels are available at your chemical store or are linked from this document and can be printed on Avery templates. The following details must be hand written on the waste label:

  • name of person responsible for the waste and contact details:
    • phone number
    • laboratory
  • description of waste details (including estimates of concentration where possible)
  • date of generation

4. Waste classification

Waste streams align with the broad classification under the dangerous good classification, but within these broad categories there are more specific waste streams as there are often incompatibilities within the dangerous good class; acids and alkaline materials being a prime example. Some frequently generated waste streams are listed below. However, these only cover the most common incompatibilities.

Chemical wastes can be disposed of via Toxfree. While biological and cytotoxic waste is to be disposed of by Sterihealth. For further advice on classifying waste, contact your safety officer, supervisor or Toxfree directly on 1300 869 373.

Waste type

DG Class

Description

Clayton

Parkville 

Flammable Liquids

3

Includes solvents such as acetone, ethanol and acetonitrile, mixtures and by-products from synthetic reactions. Sometimes, volatile solvents are mistakenly thought to be flammable. Refer to the SDS for verification.

Flammable Liquids 1x2

Flammable Liquids 2x2

Flammable Liquids 2x5

Flammable Liquids 1x2

Flammable Liquids 2x2

Flammable Liquids 2x5

Halogenated Solvent

3

Generally, these have chloro-, bromo- or fluoro- atoms attached. Any contaminants must be identified on the label.

Halogenated Solvent 1x2

Halogenated Solvent 2x2

Halogenated Solvent 2x5

Halogenated Solvent 1x2

Halogenated Solvent 2x2

Halogenated Solvent 2x5

Flammable Solids

4.1

These are solid material that undergo rapid combustion or are self-reactive. Aluminium powder and other metallic powders are flammable solids.

Flammable Solids 1x2

Flammable Solids 2x2

Flammable Solids 2x5

Flammable Solids 1x2

Flammable Solids 2x2

Flammable Solids 2x5

Spontaneously Combustible

4.2

These are materials will start to combust when they come in contact with air. White phosphorous is spontaneously combustible, as are some forms of activated carbon.

Spontaneously Combustible 1x2

Spontaneously Combustible 2x2

Spontaneously Combustible 2x5

Spontaneously Combustible 1x2

Spontaneously Combustible 2x2

Spontaneously Combustible 2x5

Dangerous When Wet

4.3

These are materials that combust or give off toxic vapours when they come into contact with air. Sodium is an example of a materials that is dangerous when wet.

Dangerous When Wet 1x2

Dangerous When Wet 2x2

Dangerous When Wet 2x5

Dangerous When Wet 1x2

Dangerous When Wet 2x2

Dangerous When Wet 2x5

Oxidising agent

5.1

Includes nitrates such as ammonium nitrate and chlorates such as calcium hypochlorite.

Oxidising agent 1x2

Oxidising agent 2x2

Oxidising agent 2x5

Oxidising agent 1x2

Oxidising agent 2x2

Oxidising agent 2x5

Toxic

6.1

Includes acrylamide, ethidium bromide, phenol/chloroform, cadmium and mercury batteries, mercaptoethanol waste, solid paraformaldehyde and other toxic wastes.

Toxic 1x2

Toxic 2x2

Toxic 2x5

Toxic 1x2

Toxic 2x2

Toxic 2x5

Contaminated Glassware

6.1

Glassware that has been contaminated with chemicals and needs to be disposed of.

Contaminated Glassware 1x2

Contaminated Glassware 2x2

Contaminated Glassware 2x5

Contaminated Glassware 1x2

Contaminated Glassware 2x2

Contaminated Glassware 2x5

Fixative Waste

6.1

This waste is generated generally by histology processes.

Fixative 1x2

Fixative 2x2

Fixative 2x5

 

Solid Waste (Contaminated)

6.1

This is lab consumables with chemical contamination. It includes gloves, paper towel, tubes et cetera.

Solid Waste (Contaminated) 1x2

Solid Waste (Contaminated) 2x2

Solid Waste (Contaminated) 2x5

Solid Waste (Contaminated) 1x2

Solid Waste (Contaminated) 2x2

Solid Waste (Contaminated) 2x5

Cyanide

6.1

Due to the potential to generate highly toxic Hydrogen Cyanide, waste containing cyanide should have its own waste steam.

Cyanide 2x2

Cyanide 2x5

Cyanide 1x2

Cyanide 2x2

Cyanide 2x5

Picric Acid <30% water

6.1

Picric acid is safe under most circumstance, but if the water is allowed to evaporate it becomes an explosive material. As a result it has a separate waste stream.

Picric Acid <30% water 2x2

Picric Acid <30% water 2x5

Picric Acid <30% water 2x2

Picric Acid <30% water 2x5

Biohazardous Waste

6.2

Includes bio-medical wastes, sharps, quarantine wastes and waste from work with Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). Biohazardous waste is disposed of in accordance with Using Biologicals and Animals Procedure.

  
Radioactive Waste7

Radioactive waste is disposed of in accordance with Disposal of Radioactive Waste Procedure.

  

Acid Waste

8

Includes acids, which can be sufficiently volatile to give off vapour irritating to the eyes and nose. Some acids are incompatible with other acids and should not be mixed.

Acid Waste 1x2

Acid Waste 2x2

Acid Waste 2x5

Acid Waste 1x2

Acid Waste 2x2

Acid Waste 2x5

Hydrofluoric Acid

8

This acid is extremely toxic and requires its own waste stream.

Hydrofluoric Acid 1x2

Hydrofluoric Acid 2x2

Hydrofluoric Acid 2x5

Hydrofluoric Acid 1x2

Hydrofluoric Acid 2x2

Hydrofluoric Acid 2x5

Nitric Acid

8

This acid is a strong oxidiser and should not be mixed with other chemical waste where possible.

Nitric Acid 1x2

Nitric Acid 2x2

Nitric Acid 2x5

 

Alkaline Waste

8

Includes alkalis, which can be sufficiently volatile to give off vapour irritating to the eyes and nose.

Alkaline Waste 1x2

Alkaline Waste 2x2

Alkaline Waste 2x5

Alkaline Waste 1x2

Alkaline Waste 2x2

Alkaline Waste 2x5

Miscellaneous Chemical

9

Includes chemical waste that falls under the miscellaneous dangerous goods classification, and other chemical waste.

Miscellaneous Chemical 1x2

Miscellaneous Chemical 2x2

Miscellaneous Chemical 2x5

Miscellaneous Chemical 1x2

Miscellaneous Chemical 2x2

Miscellaneous Chemical 2x5

Combustible Liquid

9

These are liquids that will burn, but are not volatile to be classified as flammable. Some examples are diesel and some motor oils.

Combustible Liquid 1x2

Combustible Liquid 2x2

Combustible Liquid 2x5

Combustible Liquid 1x2

Combustible Liquid 2x2

Combustible Liquid 2x5

Cytotoxic Wastes

N/A

Cytotoxic waste is material or drugs which are harmful to living cells or carcinogenic, mutagenic and/or teratogenic. Cytotoxic waste includes cytotoxic waste chemicals and materials associated with their use such as needles, syringes, intravenous appliances, ampoules, vials, gloves and swabs.

All Cytotoxic waste is to be identified by appropriate mauve coloured bags or containers with the telophase symbol. EPA licensed waste disposal contactors and transporters must be used and each waste load is to be accompanied by an on-line “wastecert” transport certificate.

  
BlankN/AThis waste stream is to be used for unusual waste that falls outside the normal waste streams. Additional details will need to be added by the person that generates the waste.Blank 1x2

Blank 2x2

Blank 2x5
Blank 1x2

Blank 2x2

Blank 2x5

All labels can be printed out on Avery Labels.

SizeRe-order numberSoftware code
1x2959008L7168
2x2959030L7169
2x5959031L7173

5. Further information

For further information, contact your local OH&S consultant/adviser or Occupational Health and Safety: