Last Revised: November 10, 2020
Issue Date 11/20
Unless a container held a chemical that is defined as acutely toxic, or P-listed according to the EPA (40CFR SS261.33), an empty bottle that has, through reasonable means, been emptied of its contents may be triple-rinsed, defaced of its labels, and disposed of as regular trash or with recyclables (40CFR SS261.7). At Penn, each building/school may vary slightly in how these empty and defaced bottles are collected and disposed. We encourage you to reach out to your building administrator with any questions about this.
Other than the acutely toxic chemicals mentioned above, there are still many other chemicals that in prudent laboratory practices should not or cannot be rinsed out. For example, sodium metal is highly reactive with water and should not be rinsed. Also, many organosilanes will simply repel water, making triple-rinsing with water ineffective. Particularly odiferous chemicals like mercaptans or thiols could lead to odor problems in your sink. If you are concerned about triple-rinsing an empty container, then please submit it for a chemical waste pick-up by affixing a waste tag to the container and placing a waste pick-up request. A member of the EHRS staff can then advise you upon receipt of your waste request or during our visit.