Last Revised: January 31, 2024

Last updated 1/2024

Frequently Asked Questions about Chemical Waste Management:

How do I get my chemical waste picked up?  Chemical waste pickup requests should be made online using the Chemical Waste Pickup Form.

Does EHRS provide chemical waste containers?  EHRS provides various types and sizes for collecting chemical waste.  These containers and other waste supplies can be requested using our Chemical Waste Pickup Form.

What do I do with empty chemical containers?  Most chemical containers that have been emptied by ‘reasonable means’ (i.e. pouring, dumping, pumping, scraping) should be processed by lab staff.  Certain qualifications necessitate disposal by EHRS as chemical waste.  See Disposal Guidance for Empty Chemical Containers for disposal guidance protocols and quick reference flowcharts for both Main Campus and NBC Campus.  For additional guidance, direct specific questions to

Does EHRS pick up chemically contaminated pipettes/tips?   No.  Chemically contaminated sharps, including pipettes and pipette tips, are handled in a similar way as biologically contaminated sharps, except they cannot be autoclaved.  Place sharps in a leak-proof, puncture-resistant lidded container labeled with the universal biohazard symbol.  Label container by hand or sticker with the words “Chemically Contaminated Sharps Waste – Do not Autoclave” and dispose as infectious waste.  For more information, see Chemical Contaminated Sharps Policy.

How do I schedule a Laboratory Clearance?  The procedures for having your lab cleared by EHRS can be found on our website

How do I get additional chemical waste labels?  Additional chemical waste labels can be ordered and other waste supplies can be requested using our Chemical Waste Pickup Form.

How do I dispose of unknown chemicals?  An unknown chemical must be managed as hazardous waste and be evaluated on a case-by-case basis prior to removing it from your lab.  Submit a Chemical Waste Pickup Form and write ‘Unknown’ in the Pickup Comments section along with any details you and your associates can provide about the unknown, such as:  possible contents, location found, etc…  Someone from EHRS will be in touch with the next step.  

What chemicals can I pour down the drain?  Hazardous chemicals must never be poured down the drain as a method of disposal. Contact Jim Crumley of EHRS if you have specific questions about drain disposal.

How do I get a chemical waste satellite accumulation area poster?  These posters can be printed from our website or requested through the Chemical Waste Pickup Form. They can also be ordered from our office at 215-898-4454.

What should I do in the event of a chemical spill?  The procedures for handling chemical spills are detailed on the Emergency Info page of our website.

What do I do with broken glass?  All non-biological broken glass should be placed into a cardboard glassware box or bucket for disposal by housekeeping staff. For more information, see Laboratory Sharps Waste.

Does EHRS exchange mercury thermometers?  EHRS will exchange mercury containing thermometers with non-mercury thermometers.  To request these thermometers, please fill out this Non Mercury Thermometer request form. For more information, see Mercury Containing Thermometers

For additional chemical waste FAQs, see the "Laboratory Waste" heading on our Lab Safety Quick FAQs website