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Environmental Health and Safety

Chemical Containers

Chemical Containers

Chemical Containers are often boxes made of cardboard. They can be made of other materials such as styrofoam. The containers will have markings and labels that identify the contents of the container and the hazards present in the container. The labels must be removed or defaced prior to disposal. Cardboard and many styrofoam containers can be recycled (check the recycling codes). These containers must be chemical clean and decontaminated prior to disposal or recycling

Chemical Bottles

Chemical bottles (acids, flammables, cell media, buffers, etc.) which are empty must be properly handled to ensure that no contaminants are present and the material can safely be placed in a waste site. The following procedure must be followed prior to disposing of any chemical container:

  1. Remove lids from bottle and dispose in regular trash;
  2. Rinse bottle three times with water to remove any chemical or contaminants from the bottle. The rinsate can be poured down the laboratory drain;
  3. Deface the label on the bottle completely by either removing the label or obscuring the label with a black permanent marker; and
  4. Write the word “empty” or “MT” on the outside of the bottle.

Bottles that contained extremely hazardous materials or poisons such as a cyanide or nicotine must have the rinsate collected and disposed of as hazardous waste. After these steps are taken the bottle is clean and can be disposed of in the regular trash.