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UCLA Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Chemical Safety Office

Safety Notes

Newsletter #10

February 2000


Disposal of solvent bottles & cans
How do you dispose of empty 4L solvent bottles?
Empty 4L solvent bottles (amber or white), can be drained of all liquid, rinsed three times with an appropriate solvent, dried overnight, and then disposed of in the glass waste barrels on each floor in Mol Sci and on the 5th and 2nd floors of Young Hall. At the glass waste barrels, they can be smashed using the metal tool provided.

They can also be disposed of in the dumpsters at the Shipping and Receiving Dock.

Bottles containing solvents such as acetone or ethyl ether don't have to be rinsed first.

When disposing of bottles that contained acid, rinse 3 times with water before disposing.

How to dispose of 5 gallon blue drums?
For the blue 5- gallon solvent drums purchased from Fisher Scientific and other suppliers, the containers must first be completely empty. If the contents were toxic, drums must be rinsed with appropriate solvent and dried overnight. The labels must be defaced using either spray paint or marker to mark out the labels. In California, an empty, rinsed and dried container can be dispos-ed of in the ordinary trash. The warning labels on the containers state that the empty container itself is hazardous. In California, an empty, rinsed container CAN be disposed of in the ordinary trash. They should be disposed of in the dumpsters at the Shipping and Receiving loading dock. Some janitors will dispose of them if left in the service corridors, but it is not one of their job duties.
Powder Waste
Most powder wastes are considered to be hazardous waste. Some of the most commonly encountered powder wastes used in Chemistry labs are silica gel, talc, diatomaceous earth(Celite),chromatography packing material, molecular sieves, aluminum oxide, magnesium sulfate and sodium bicarbonate. Although some of them are not toxic or hazardous when unused, after being used as drying agents, filter aids, or chromatography columns, they have organic solvents and other materials adsorbed to them, and are then classified as hazardous waste.

Powder wastes should not be disposed of in the laboratory wastebaskets, but should be collected as solid waste.

As solid hazardous wastes, they must be collected in a suitable container and have a Hazardous Waste ID tag. The tag lists the date of collection, the research group, the material, the amount, the hazard class and the signature of the person disposing of it. Solid waste should be brought to the Chemical Safety Office at Mol Sci 2104. Please call Bill Peck at X 63661 to arrange for delivery to the lab.

Glass Waste Disposal
Glass waste includes pipettes, beakers, test tubes, watch glasses, etc. These should be disposed of in specially marked "Glass Waste Boxes", available from the Res-earch Storeroom. They are lined with plastic and provide protection from glass fragments, sharp edges and liquids. When the boxes are full, the tops should be taped shut and the boxes left in the hallway. The janitorial staff will dispose of them.

Sharps Disposal
Sharps are defined as needles, blades, scalpels and razors. Sharps should be disposed of in a sharps container, which is defined as a "rigid, puncture resistant container, which, when sealed, is leak resistant and cannot be reopened without great difficulty".
Do not use cardboard containers because they leak. Use hard plastic, metal or other kinds of leak proof materials. Metal coffee cans or other cans with tight fitting lids can be used as well as hard plastic containers with lids. Make sure the containers are NOT RED in color and are NOT labeled BIO-HAZARDOUS. When the can is full, tape the lid shut and dispose of in the ordinary trash, unless residue of hazardous waste remains. If so, contact the Chemical Safety Office at x 63661 for disposal.

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Copyright 2000
Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, UCLA