On the Disposal of Laboratory Chemical Waste

It is recommended that detoxification of small quantities of hazardous chemical waste be carried out in small quantities by qualified personnel.

Detailed information on the procedure to be applied is given in the mode of operation. The following types of hazardous waste are routinely produced during laboratory work. Therefore, some information on how to deal with and dispose of them is given here.

Chemical residues:
Only those materials may be disposed of as chemical residues that.
- Have known components,
- Are not classified as explosive, and
- Are not radioactive.

They must not contain highly toxic components such as polychlorinated dibenzodioxins and furans (PCDD/F), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), or warfare agents.

Waste containers should be appropriately labelled, even the smallest ones. Small bottles and vials from laboratory courses can be collected together in containers for solid materials and labelled as e.g. "synthesis products from an inorganic chemistry laboratory course in vials". In case of unknown chemicals (e.g. in unlabelled vials) it is recommended to clarify the type of compound.

Chemicals categorised in certain waste groups must be disposed of in accordance with those groups. The case of hydrochloric acid can be taken as an example. It is assigned to the waste group "Inorganic Acids, Acid Mixtures, and Mordants". This means that HCl should not be disposed of as chemical waste.

Old chemical compounds in properly closed containers can be offered to other groups or institutes for further use. They should only be disposed of if there is no one interested in having such substances within a reasonable period of time.

It is also possible to return excess chemicals or solvents to the manufacturer of the chemicals or solvents.