Waste Frequently Asked Questions

Table of Contents

Who do I contact to request waste labels?

Request the following types of labels using this Waste Label Request form. Labels are free of charge and will be sent through campus mail.

  • Chemical Waste 
  • Radioactive Waste Tags
  • Biohazardous Waste Certifications
  • Universal Waste (Batteries, Lamps and Mercury Containing Instruments)
  • Used Oil
  • Beryllium Warning

Biohazardous Waste


Where Do I Obtain Biohazard Waste Certification Labels?

  • Labels are available at locations where red tubs are stored.
  • You may request labels using this Waste Label Request form. Labels are free of charge and will be sent through campus mail.

Where Do I Obtain Red Plastic Biohazardous Waste Tubs?

  • Red plastic biohazardous waste tubs are kept in the dock areas of certain buildings.
  • Large red bags that are used to line the tubs are also available at these locations and must only be used for that purpose.
  • Laboratory staff is responsible for obtaining containers and liners, as needed.

Red Plastic Biohazardous Waste Tub Locations

The following list shows the University building and where to obtain red plastic biohazardous waste tubs.

  • BB - 121A BB (Dock)
  • BBE - 121A BB (Dock)
  • BSB - 2655 BSB
  • CB - W43 CB
  • CBRB - 1107K MEB
  • DSB - DSB Dock
  • EMRB - 1107K MEB
  • HLI - 1221 HLI
  • IATL - E181 IATL
  • MEB - 1107K MEB
  • MERF - 1107K MEB
  • ML - 1107K MEB
  • MRC - 1107K MEB
  • MTF (Pod A) - A116 MTF
  • MTF (Pod B) - A116 MTF
  • MTF (Pod C) - C137 MTF
  • MTF (Pod D) - D180 MTF
  • PBDB - 1107K MEB
  • PHAR - PHAR Dock
  • SC - SC Dock (in Cage)
  • SLP - Near C4 SSH (Hallway)
  • SSH - Near C4 SSH (Hallway)
  • For other locations, contact EHS.

Where Do Filled Biohazardous Waste Tubs Go? Who Handles Them?

  • Laboratory staff should place properly filled/tied/labeled biological waste tubs in the same location as in the past.
  • Custodians will transfer the filled tubs displaying a completed Biohazardous Waste Certification label to an area for removal.

What Are the Container Labeling Requirements?

  • Laboratory staff must place all biohazardous waste materials in red plastic biohazardous waste tubs that includes all red bag waste, biological boxes, sharps container.
  • Laboratory staff must complete and attach the Biohazardous Waste Certification label to side of the red tub, near the handle.
  • Custodians will place a bar code on the tubs to identify the building.

Biohazardous Waste Guidelines and Instructions?

  • Definitions of biohazardous waste are found in the EHS Biohazardous Waste Guidelines.
  • How to close a biohazardous waste tub.
  • How to label biohazardous tubs.

Chemical Waste


How do I request a pickup of thermometers?

  • Submit a chemical waste pickup request. Enter them as solids, whether broken or unbroken. It is acceptable to type “broken thermometer” in the comments if that’s the case.

How do I change a pickup that I’ve already sent a request for?

  • Resubmit your request online with the word “resubmit” in the comments section of the form.

Controlled Substances


How do I dispose of partially used, unused, or expired injectable vials containing controlled substances (injectable veterinary medicine)?

  • As of April 2013, EHS has been approved by the DEA to dispose of controlled substances used in research through the application of an approved procedure. Expired containers of controlled substances (with any contents remaining) must be separated from non-expired containers of controlled substances, and must be clearly labeled as being expired. The expired containers of controlled substances must remain in the locked controlled substances cabinet or safe. To dispose of outdated, damaged, or otherwise unusable or unwanted controlled substances, contact Bill Murray in EHS at 335-4624.
  • Each licensed researcher is ultimately responsible to ensure controlled substances are properly disposed of and all necessary disposal forms are completed and submitted to the appropriate agency and EHS. The licensed researcher must maintain copies of the records documenting the transfer and disposal for a period of at least 2 years after disposal of a controlled substance.

Is there any difference in the procedures for discarding empty vials (injectable drugs) of controlled substances?

  • Empty vials of controlled substances (injectable drugs) can be disposed of in red bag biohazardous waste containers, although the label should be removed or rendered unreadable. In addition, the disposal of the empty vial must be recorded in the respective controlled substances accountability record.

I obtained a reagent that contains a controlled substance but it was sold to me without having to provide a DEA registration number. How can this be?

  • A manufacturer or distributor of certain reagents may apply to DEA for exemption from the requirements of DEA registration. These are typically research or analytical reagents that contain very small amounts of the controlled substance. A list of currently exempted substances is found on the DEA web site.

I want to dispose of an exempt substance. Do I have to go through a reverse distributor?

  • No. Since the substance is exempt EHS can take possession and will properly dispose of the substance. However, it must be verified that the reagent is on the DEA exempted list, (including the manufacturer and concentration).

The DEA informed me that I need to discard my expired drugs via a reverse distributor. How do I do this?

  • To dispose of outdated, damaged, or otherwise unusable or unwanted controlled substances in research labs, contact Bill Murray in EHS at 335-4624.

How can I dispose of controlled substances left behind by a previously licensed researcher or other investigator (“orphaned controlled substance")?

  • It is the responsibility of DEA-licensed researcher to dispose of all controlled substances before they leave the University. If you discover a controlled substance and the original licensed researcher is not available, then you are responsible for contacting the EHS office. EHS staff can assist you with proper disposal of “orphaned” controlled substances. Please contact Bill Murray in EHS at 335-4624 and indicate that you have discovered an orphaned controlled substance and require assistance for disposal.

I understand that at some institutions in other states, the EHS Office was given permission to accept controlled substances and blend them with hazardous waste solvents to be shipped for incineration. Is it acceptable at UI?

  • As of April 2013, EHS has been approved by the DEA to dispose of controlled substances through the application of a specific, approved procedure. Licensed researchers who want to dispose of controlled substances that are mixed with hazardous chemical waste must consult with EHS to ensure compliance with RCRA regulations.
  • Each licensed researcher is ultimately responsible to ensure controlled substances are properly disposed of and all necessary disposal forms are completed and submitted to the appropriate agency. To dispose of outdated, damaged, or otherwise unusable or unwanted controlled substances, contact Bill Murray in EHS at 335-4624.

Radioactive Waste


I need to request extra containers for Radioactive Waste, how do I do that through the online form?

  • You can type information about what types and numbers of containers are needed in the Comments field of the online form.

Can I use my own container to collect waste if I run out of the ones you provide?

  • No, EHS requires you to use containers supplied by EHS for collection of radioactive waste. If you have an emergency need for a container EHS is usually able to get one to you.

Can anybody request a waste pickup, or does it need to be the PI?

  • Anyone may request a waste pickup.