Chemical Waste FAQs

How do I dispose of Ethidium Bromide?

The disposal protocol for disposing of Ethidium bromide can be found here.

How do I dispose of batteries?

If they are alkaline then they can go in the regular trash. If they are less than 2 pounds, they can be placed in any of the recycling bins we have on campus. If they are over two pounds they must be submitted as chemical waste.

What kind of container can I use to put my waste in?

The chemical waste must be compatible with its container. The container must be securely closed so that it does not leak. Para film, foil, and tape are not allowed.

What do we do with an empty bottle that once had a chemical in it?

Once outer labels are defaced, empty bottles can be triple rinsed and thrown into the regular trash or labs may reuse containers for collecting waste, making sure contents are compatible with said container. KEEP IN MIND – Duke Recycling does not accept lab glassware.

What if I have several small bottles of the same chemical waste. Do I have to put a barcode on every one?

If you are able to put all the the small bottles in a box that you can tape closed or a ziploc bag that closes, then you will only have to use 1 barcode. However, the bottles must be exactly the same chemical.

What is the difference between the waste accumulation labels and the small container labels?

The larger waste accumulation labels have a place for you to write in the "open date" and "fill date." They are used for larger containers that you add small amounts of liquids until it becomes full. The small container labels are for waste containers that already full. You can order these labels through the Waste Pickup Request System.

What is secondary containment?

Areas where waste chemicals are accumulated must have secondary containment sufficient to collect incidental spills that might occur when adding waste. The containment must be compatible with the waste being stored and not leak.

What are the guidelines for using the 5 gallon red solvent cans?

  1. The cans are intended for solvent-type wastes. Acidic or caustic materials cannot be placed in the cans. If the mixture contains acidic or basic materials, the entire solution must have a pH between 5 and 9 before it is placed into the solvent can.
  2. The liquid level must not be visible above the bottom of the flash arrestor (the perforated steel basket in the mouth of the can). The flash arrestor is not a strainer. All solids must be removed from wastes before addition to the can.
  3. Solvent cans are to be kept closed when not actively adding or removing waste from them. All of the cans are equipped with stay-open lids, but lids should only be locked open when adding or removing wastes.
  4. Please use the proper can for the solvents you are using. For example, halogenated cans (i.e. chloroform) are marked with a green and white “HALOGENATED” label and non-Halogenated cans (i.e. ethanol) are marked with a yellow and black “NON-HALOGENATED” label.
  5. Each can must be marked with an waste accumulation label detailing the contents of the can (waste “chemical name”). Also, the cans must have an “open date” and a “fill date” listed on the label. The “open date” is the earliest date that waste is placed into the can whereas the “fill date” is the date when the container has been filled and will no longer be used to accumulate waste.
  6. Please barcode and submit the waste through the on-line Waste Pickup Request System.