Waste Identification

Read through the entire list before deciding how your wastes should be identified. If you have any questions, contact the Chemistry Department Storeroom Manager at 253.879.3350, or go to Storeroom Manager's office in Thompson 308A.

Your Objective: To know which chemicals you're using are hazardous, and therefore regulated.

Most likely what you are using in the laboratory is regulated in some way. Since, you have already looked up the hazards for your chemicals in the planning stages of your experiment or project, this should be easy because all you need is a "yes" or "no" answer to the following questions and criteria. A "yes" to any part of it means it is regulated. The P-listed Hazardous Wastes are the most important to separate from the rest of your wastes.

These regulated chemicals must be collected and disposed of and not put into the trash or down the drain. For right now, you only have to know if they are hazardous in some way, and if they are, you must label, collect, store, and dispose of them correctly and safely. Later as you generate them, you will be segregating them according to the Waste Segregation.

1. Is it on the P-Listed Regulated Materials List?

Check to see if your reagents are on the "P-list" of Regulated Materials 
Washington State Ecology and the EPA regulate these extremely hazardous wastes which are acutely toxic and/or reactive. We are limited to generating campus wide no more than 1 kg of waste per month ten times a year. Do not mix these chemicals with other wastes, even minute quantities, or else the whole container becomes a "P"-listed material! Check for P-Listed chemicals arranged by CAS Number or alphabetically.

2. Is it on the D-Listed Regulated Materials List?

Check to see if your reagents are on the "D-list" of Regulated Materials 
Washington State Ecology and the EPA regulate these extremely hazardous wastes which are acutely toxic. We are limited to generating campus wide no more than 100 kg of waste per month ten times a year. Check for D-Listed chemicals arranged by CAS Number or alphabetically.

3. Is it Halogenated?

Halogenated Hydrocarbons (HH's)
The HH's are any organic compound containing one of more atom of chlorine, fluorine, bromine, or, iodine, but not inorganic salts. The HH's are not regulated if the total concentration of all HH's is less than 0.01%. Any other concentrations are regulated.

4. Is it Toxic?

Toxicity Criteria
The reagents you use are also categorized by the Washington State Department of Ecology (WDOE) by their toxicity. There are various catagories, but the bottom line is: if the LD50 Oral Rat is less then 5,000mg/kg, then it is toxic — you must treat it as a hazardous waste. If you can not find an LD50 Oral Rat, assume it is toxic.

For solutions and mixtures, it is more complicated. When you dissolve or mix your reagents, the toxicity changes. Please check the Toxic Category Table in WAC 173-303-100 for the EC value (Equivalent Concentration) to calculate this new toxicity value and whether it may be regulated or not. Remember to include both the solute and the solvent.

5. What does the vendor or manufacturer say about it?

Use your information resources. What you are looking for in information on whether your reagents, products and by-products are:

  • Ignitable - combustible or flammable
  • Corrosive
  • Reactive
  • Toxic
  • Persistent - halogenated or an amromatic polycyclic organic
  • Carcinogenic

For your reagents, just look on the bottles, the MSDS, or in the vendor's catalog. Some catalogs will give the DOT hazard class, and Sigma-Aldrich's catalog will give other hazards. You can also look under the same references for your product or by-products below.

For your products & by-products, it is a little more difficult. Look in:

  • Safety Manuals and Books such as:
    The Merck Index
    Sax's Dangerous Properties of Inductrial Materials
    Sigma-Aldrich's Library of Chemical Safety Data
    NIOSH Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances

  • Also, check Web sites such as:
    ChemFinder
    ChemExper
    Vermont SIRI

6. Is it on the U-Listed Regulated Materials List?

Check to see if your reagents are a Regulated Material — the "U-list"
Washington State Ecology and the EPA regulate these hazardous wastes which are toxic, ignitable, corrosive, and/or reactive. We are limited to generating campus wide no more than 100 kg of waste per month ten times a year. Check for U-Listed chemicals arranged by CAS Number or alphabetically.

7. Will you be using solvents?

Halogenated Organic Solvent Wastes
Included are: dichloromethane, chloroform, carbon tetrachloride, and any organic compounds that are bromonated, chlorinated, fluorinated, or iodated. (Never acidify halogenated solvents!)

Aliphatic Organic Solvent Wastes <10% water
Included in this group would be methanol, ethanol, propanol, diethyl ether, pet ether, ligroine, acetonitrile, pentane, hexane, heptane, ethyl acetate, N,N-dimethylforamide, toluene, xylene, methyl ethyl ketone (2-butanone), dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO).

Acetone
The acetone you use to wash and dry your glassware can be redistilled and recovered for use again. Keep this type of waste (washing and drying acetone) separate from reaction wastes. You must keep the same detailed records of what is in the acetone so that we can determine if it is suitable for reclamation by distillation.

Peroxide-Forming Solvent Wastes
Solvents capable of forming peroxides should be separated from other wastes and tested for peroxides weekly. Peroxides are highly explosive compounds sensitive to heat, friction, impact, and light. They form when stored for a month or longer regardless if exposed to air or not. This category includes: tetrahydrofuran, diethyl ether, cyclohexene, p-dioxane, and diisopropyl ether.

Formaldehyde Solutions
Keep formaldehyde solutions separated from your other wastes. We must ship formaldehyde wastes off campus for incineration.

8. Does your waste contain Mercury, Lead, Silver, Arsenic or Osmium compounds, aqueous solutions, or the elemental form?

Please keep dry solids separated from solutions. A mercury concentration greater than or equal to 0.2 mg/L is designated as hazardous waste. A lead concentration greater than or equal to 5.0 mg/L is designated as hazardous waste. A silver concentration greater than or equal to 5.0 mg/L is designated as hazardous waste. An arsenic concentration greater than or equal to 5.0 mg/L is designated as hazardous waste. All concentrations of Osmium are designated as hazardous waste.

9. Does it contain other metal compounds and aqueous wastes?

For some specific metals, concentrations greater than or equal to the following limits are designated as hazardous waste: Barium = 100 mg/L, Cadmium = 1.0 mg/L, Chromium = 5.0 mg/L, and Selenium = 1.0 mg/L. For other metals, like Nickel Copper or Tin, etc. Check the Toxic Category Table in WAC 173-303-100 for the EC value (Equivalent Concentration). Please keep dry solids separated from solutions. All anions of these metal compounds are accepted with the exception of sulfide. These will go to a metals recovery facility and smelted.

10. What is the pH? 

Note: what is dissolved in it, and is it regulated?

Acids
Any liquid with a pH less than must be designated as a hazardous waste. We are permitted to neutralize acidic solutions to a pH range between 5 and 9. This applies to these common lab acids only: nitric acid, sulfuric acid, hydrochloric acid, and acetic acid.

Bases
Any liquid with a pH greater than 9 must be designated as a hazardous waste. We are permitted to neutralize basic solutions to a pH range between 5 and 9. This applies to common lab bases only: potassium hydroxide, sodium hydroxide, and ammonium hydroxide.

11. Will you be using Filtering Aids?

Agents that are used for filtering such as, Silica Gel, Sand, Celite, and Diatomaceous Earth, are to be treated as a hazardous material since it is contaminated with chemical products and by-products. Label it with all the hazard warnings as if it was reactants and products and by-products.

12. Will you be using Azide, Cyanide, Sulfide compounds and solutions?

Azide compounds and solutions
Sodium azide is a "P-listed" hazardous waste and is regulated — we are limited to 1 kg per month for all "P-listed" chemicals campus wide. Azides are also highly explosive, especially if they are allowed to react with metals. Please keep dry solids separated from solutions. Azide wastes must be shipped off campus for special treatment. Solutions less than 10% are accepted — solutions greater than 10% are refused by the waste treatment facility.

Cyanide compounds and solutions
Sodium and potassium cyanide are "P-listed" hazardous wastes and are regulated — we are limited to 1 kg per month for all "P" listed chemicals campus wide. Please keep dry solids separated from solutions. Cyanide wastes must be shipped off campus for special treatment. Never acidify cyanide solutions!

Sulfide compounds and solutions
Please keep dry solids separated from solutions. Sulfide wastes must be separated from your other wastes.

13. Is it an Aromatic Polycyclic Organic wastes?

Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon
PAH's are organic compounds composed of two or more benzene rings, which include anthracene, naphthalene, pyrene, etc. The PAH is not regulated if it is less than 1.0%. All PAH's greater than 1.0% are designated as an "extremely hazardous waste" and are regulated.

Other Chemical Wastes

 If your waste does not fit into any of the above categories, contact the chemistry storeroom manager. Either your waste is not regulated, or there are special regulations for it — the storeroom manager will help you determine this.

Surplus Reagents
If you are finished with your project, see this section for information on what to do with your left over reagents.

Empty Bottles
If you empty a bottle of reagent, see this section for what to do next.

In General

With the exception of soap, sugar, and other household products and some biochemicals, most of your reagents, products and by-products will fit into one of the above catagories. Remember, we are only looking to determine whether your reagents, products and by-products are hazardous — a "yes" or "no" answer... If you answered "yes" to one or more of the above — it is regulated and you must label, collect, store, and dispose of them correctly and safely.