Environmental health and safety office


Labware and empty chemical containers may hold residues which are hazardous. Therefore, special precautions must be taken before recycling these items. Procedures

Empty chemical containers which did not contain pesticides, toxic, or acutely toxic (P-list EPA waste code, found in the Chemical Registry) may be disposed in the trash.   Empty glass bottles should be rinsed to remove residual chemicals, air dried, placed in a separate outer container (e.g. cardboard box or plastic pail) and labeled as "nonhazardous waste containing (broken) glass."

Laboratories may recycle rinsed flint glass containers (not labeled as Pyrex, Kimax, etc.) with the lids or caps removed through the University Recycling Program. For empty solvent bottles intended for recycling, uncap the container, rinse with water, remove labels or mark as "empty," and place it in a fume hood to air dry. Collect any residual solvent from containers as hazardous waste prior to rinsing.

Contact the Chemical Recycling Program at 726-6764 to recycle borosilicate (Pyrex or Kimax) containers and laboratory glassware such as test tubes, flasks, pipets, etc.

Empty bottles which originally contained pesticides or ingredients considered acutely toxic by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency may be disposed of or recycled after triple rinsing. Acutely toxic chemicals can be identified by an EPA# which begins with "P" listed in the Chemical Waste Registry.

Rinse bottles that contained pesticides, heavy metals (except mercury) or acutely toxic chemicals three times with 10% of the bottle volume of an appropriate solvent which is capable of removing the chemical. The rinsate must be collected as hazardous waste. Pesticides rinsates should be land applied when possible per EPA regulations or disposed of as hazardous waste.

If highly toxic residue remains on the labware, contact the UMD environmental Health and Safety Office EHSO at 726-6764 to determine the appropriate route of disposal. It may be necessary to dispose of the contaminated labware as hazardous waste. Complete a waste packing form for the contaminated labware. Label as "Lab ware (or glassware) contaminated with ______" (state name of highly toxic residue). These containers with residues are not acceptable for recycling, but they may be used to collect compatible hazardous waste. These containers must be relabeled appropriately.

Mercury Contaminated Lab ware must be collected as hazardous waste.