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Hazardous Waste Disposal

The Hazardous Waste Collection Program

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VEHS collects hazardous waste directly from your laboratory. You must utilize the Hazardous Waste Collection Program to dispose of all hazardous waste generated by your laboratory. There is NO CHARGE for using the Hazardous Waste Collection Program. Hazardous wastes must NOT be transported to the VEHS waste storage facilities by personnel other than VEHS staff members. 

Laboratory Disposal of Wastes

Certain chemicals that are NOT hazardous wastes may be sewer disposed. Laboratories must obtain approval from VEHS prior to disposing of chemicals in sink/sewer drains. All hazardous wastes must be disposed of through the VEHS Hazardous Waste Collection Program. 

Hazardous wastes must NOT be disposed of by evaporation - this includes evaporation in fume hoods or biosafety cabinets. Remember, hazardous waste containers must be kept closed at all times except to add or remove waste. 

Submitting a Waste Collection Request Form

You must submit a Chemical Waste Collection Request Form to have your hazardous waste collected by VEHS. These forms have been designed to provide the VEHS staff with a summary of the type and volume of waste each laboratory is requesting to be collected so that the proper collection equipment will be utilized.

  • Dating the Hazardous Waste Containers
    Hazardous waste containers should be dated when they are filled. This is accomplished by filling in the date on the hazardous chemical waste tag that should be attached to the container. (Please see the VEHS Environmental Fact Sheet, "Storing Hazardous Waste in Your Laboratory" for labeling requirements for hazardous waste.)  Full containers should not be stored in the laboratory for excessive periods of time (i.e., have full containers collected within approximately one week).
  • When to Submit the Collection Request Form
    Your laboratory must store hazardous waste according to the guidelines provided in the VEHS Environmental Fact Sheet, "Storing Hazardous Waste in Your Laboratory". You must have your hazardous waste collected at such a frequency so as to remain in compliance with those guidelines. 

Hazardous Waste Collection Schedule

Chemical hazardous wastes are collected on Tuesdays and Thursdays. If you require an emergency collection that cannot wait for a regularly scheduled pickup, please let us know and we will try to accommodate you as quickly as possible. Chemical waste collection request forms must be received no later than 8:30 a.m. of the scheduled pickup day to be picked up on that day.

Disposal of Hazardous Waste Containers

  • Acute Hazardous Waste Containers
    An empty container that has held an acute hazardous waste must be triple rinsed using a solvent (which might be water) capable of removing the acute hazardous waste prior to disposal of the container as regular trash. Each rinsing should be performed with an amount of solvent equal to approximately 5 percent of the volume of the container. The rinsate must be collected and disposed of as hazardous waste. The containers should be defaced of any chemical or hazardous waste labels and the cap should be removed prior to disposal as regular trash. Please see the VEHS Environmental Fact Sheet, "Identifying Hazardous Waste in Your Laboratory" for a definition of acute hazardous waste. 
  • Other Hazardous Waste Containers
    A container that has held any hazardous waste, other than an acute hazardous waste, can be disposed of as regular trash once all the waste has been poured out. The waste should be emptied out leaving as little residue as possible. The containers should be defaced of any chemical or hazardous waste labels and the cap should be removed prior to disposal as regular trash.

Training for Laboratory Personnel

Your laboratory personnel should be trained on the proper handling, storage, labeling, and disposal of hazardous wastes generated by your laboratory. Training should also include procedures for responding to spills or leaks and waste minimization practices. Training should be administered at a frequency sufficient to ensure competency in the proper management practices.

Note:  VEHS provides introductory training on the proper disposal of hazardous wastes in this course:  Safety and Environmental Protection in the Chemical Laboratory.

Additional Information

After VEHS receives the request form(s), your lab will be placed on the collection schedule.  When VEHS arrives at your lab, either a lab worker must be present, or a pre-determined area within the lab must be clearly designated for waste storage. If the collection staff is unable to locate the waste, a note will be left to inform you that we were there. It will be your responsibility to reschedule a new appointment.

Direct questions regarding this program to hazardouswaste@vanderbilt.edu or contact Kevin Warren at 2-0925.

Quick Facts About Hazardous Waste Disposal:

  • Utilize the Hazardous Waste Collection Program to dispose of all your hazardous waste, FREE of charge.
  • Submit the waste collection request form to VEHS as soon as your hazardous waste is ready for pickup.
  • Enter the date on the waste tags for the containers when the containers are filled.
  • Never evaporate chemicals as a disposal method.
  • Triple rinse empty containers that held acute hazardous waste prior to disposal as regular trash.
  • Deface chemical or hazardous waste labels from empty chemical containers and remove cap prior to disposal as regular trash.
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