Last Revised: April 27, 2023

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 request 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 online form.

What do I do with empty chemical containers? 

Most empty chemical containers must be “triple rinsed” before defacing the bottle’s label and then following the building’s recycling/disposal protocol.  Below are two exceptions:

1. Empty containers that held EPA-defined acutely toxic (P-listed) chemicals must be managed as hazardous waste and given to EHRS for disposal.  DO NOT TRIPLE RINSE these containers. 

2. Empty containers that should not or cannot be “triple rinsed” with water should also be collected as chemical waste.  Some reasons to not “triple rinse” a bottle for disposal will be if the chemical is:  reactive (water-reactive chemicals if residual chemical remains, like sodium metal), odiferous (smelly, like thiols/mercaptans), or impervious (water will not do anything to remove the contents such as hydrophobic oils or organosilanes). Empty containers of odiferous materials should be placed into a bag and stored inside fume hood until EHRS collects them for disposal. For more information, see Disposal Guidance for Empty Chemical Containers

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 online 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 Request 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 they can 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 can be found on the EHRS 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. Additional information can be found on our website.

Does EHRS exchange mercury thermometers?  EHRS will exchange mercury containing thermometers with non-mercury thermometers.  The Mercury Thermometer Exchange Form can be used to make the request.

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