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What Are Lab Wastes from Schools, Colleges, Universities, Research Facilities and Educational Institutions

Lab Wastes from Schools, Colleges, Universities, Research Facilities and Educational Institutions

Pails of warehoused small containers for disposal

What is a lab waste?

Do you manage a warehouse, laboratory, hospital, school, medical facility, factory, or operation that uses small containers (usually less than 10 gallons each) of chemicals, solvents, reagents, paints, thinners, dyes, inks, acids, bases, cleaners, strippers, pool chemicals, dry cleaning compounds, etc.?

Over time, you will find that jars and cans have accumulated that are out-of-date, contaminated, partially used, leaking, or simply no longer needed. Some chemicals, like picric acid (commonly used in medical laboratories) become explosive as they age, and in a few months can explode just from the friction of opening the lid. Other chemicals, like solvents such as acetone, MEK, xylene, ether or toluene are hazardous wastes after you have used them. Chromic acid cleaning solutions, used or unused, are a hazardous waste. Old compressed gas lecture bottles can become very dangerous if the valves have rusted. Aerosol cans of paint, printed circuit board cleaners and degreasers are also hazardous wastes.

What are typical "lab wastes"?A pallet of paints, cleaners and chemicals in a warehouse, awaiting lab-packing

When we speak of "lab wastes", what exactly do we mean? Here's a general list:

  • Chemical wastes generated in research laboratories, and during teaching activities;
  • Old chemical agents, often even unopened; considered an institutional liability, often difficult to identify and abandoned in the laboratory;
  • Outdated chemical agents surpassing their expiration date and therefore in need of re-evaluation of their effectiveness, and need for disposal;
  • Unlabeled - bottles of chemicals without labels or with wrong or unreadable labels;
  • Damaged containers - material in a state of deterioration or in packages which are deteriorated, or damaged;
  • Unknown residues in chemicals containers;
  • Miscellaneous Minor Laboratory waste such as paper towels and rags;Jars of laboratory chemicals awaiting disposal
  • PPE, personal protective equipment: aprons, glasses, masks, gloves contaminated with harmful biological, chemical or radioactive material;
  • Non-recyclable batteries and gas cylinders; items which are normally able to be recycled or reused;
  • Photographic film processing solutions; such as fixers and devlopers;
  • Pesticides, equipment containing toxic compounds, different types of waste oils, used solvents, Thinner, oil remover, wood preservers;
  • Formaldehyde, formalin, acrylamide waste in liquid or gel form;
  • Mercury and other metals with high toxicity;
  • Defunct electronics, computers and thermometers;
  • Sharps - such as: needles, syringes, chromatography needles, Pasteur pipettes, tips;
  • Bleach, ammonia, cleaning solvents, liquid wood polish;
  • Empty - chemical bottles (glass and plastic) empty but contaminated;
  • Contaminated broken (or damaged) laboratory glass;
  • Mercury-contaminated, broken (or damaged) thermometers;
  • Carcinogenic and radioactive chemicals, such as uraniumcompounds, pathogenic microorganisms.

Here's a guide to the proper, legal method to dispose of lab wastes.

Who are the companies that offer lab packing services?

Looking for company to do your lab packing for you? There are far fewer in business today than just a few years ago. Click here for a current list of lab packing companies.

The following are pages related to lab packing which provide addition information:

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