1.5 Pickup

All hazardous waste is picked up by EHS in the lab or area where it was generated. Waste must be packaged and labeled properly prior to arranging for pickup. Because EHS’s transport vehicle has limited space, do not accumulate a large number of containers for pickup. Lab cleanouts involving more than 20 containers must be pre-arranged. EHS’s waste pickup schedule is available on the EHS Web site. Each building is visited weekly on the same day, although a few buildings are visited bi-weekly. EHS must be notified at least one day in advance.

Arranging for Pickup

For waste collection notify EHS by using the link on the EHS Web page to submit a waste request online .

What if Your Waste is Not Removed?

If EHS cannot complete a pickup, a note (see below) will be left explaining the reasons. Deficiencies should be corrected and another pickup scheduled.

Lab Cleanouts

Lab cleanouts are defined as a large quantity of unused chemicals that need to be disposed of at once. The following guidelines apply to lab cleanouts:

  • Special arrangements are required.
  • Cleanouts are handled on a first come, first served basis.
  • Several trips may be necessary to complete the cleanout.
  • Notifying EHS as soon as possible will expedite your cleanout. 


An unknown is defined as a chemical of unknown identity in an unlabeled container. Federal regulations prohibit transportation, storage, or disposal of wastes of unknown identity. For this reason and for the safety of personnel, it is important to not create unknowns. With proper management, the generation of unknowns is preventable.

Prevent generating unknowns by:

  • Labeling all containers properly. This should be done even when creating reagent solutions for temporary use. Labeling will also prevent using the wrong material accidentally.
  • Inspecting containers and labels periodically. Replace fading or deteriorating labels.

If an unknown is discovered, these steps may help in identification.

  • Ask area personnel about the container. Someone may remember its contents.
  • Contact groups that previously used the area and see if they can recall the waste’s identity.
  • Simple tests such as pH may aid in identification.
  • Check fresh reagents present; the waste was most likely derived from them. The field of possibilities can be greatly reduced in this manner.
  • Review projects currently in progress.

If the identity of the unknown still cannot be determined, EHS provides an identification service. Unknowns are handled on a first come, first served basis. Following is a description of the process for unknown identification and disposal. Please note that this identification process is offered by EHS for the purpose of chemical disposal only, and there is a nominal fee charged to cover the cost of supplies.

  1. Complete the “Request to Test Unknown” form for each item that needs testing.  The form is located on the EHS Web site.
  2. Send the completed form(s) to Environmental Health & Safety, 100 EHS, or FAX 335-4919.
  3. After receipt of the form(s) a pick-up will be scheduled by EHS and the item will be removed for testing.