Organic Solvents

Five gallon (20 Liter) polypropylene plastic carboys (jugs) are used on campus for collection of waste organic solvents, their solutes and some aqueous solutions of toxic organic chemicals. If you need a carboy for your waste organic solvents, contact Chemical Waste Management for delivery to your room.

What is a Solvent Carboy?

A carboy is a 20 liter, square, plastic jug that is given out by the Office of Chemical Safety for use as a collection container for used lab solvents.

How do I get a Solvent Carboy?

Fill out the required information and how many solvent carboys for drop off that you’d like on the Chemical Waste/Surplus Pickup Request Form.

What color/type of Solvent Carboy do I need?

The carboys for non-halogentated waste solvents are white. White Square carboys are used for collection of waste solvents such things as alcohols, acetone, acetonitrile, toluene, etc.suitable for fuel blending. These include non-halogenated flammable solvents such as acetonitrile, ethyl acetate, hexane, methyl alcohol and toluene. Low halogen content solvents (i.e., chlorobutane, chlorobenzene) can be included. Amines should be excluded from this collection. Follow the Guidelines For Using Carboys.

The carboys for halogenated waste solvents are yellow/orange. Yellow/orange, square carboys are used for the collection of solvent wastes that must be incinerated specifically for destruction at 99.99% level (i.e., to carbon dioxide, water and hydrogen chloride) with scrubbing for hydrogen chloride. These include halogenated solvents such as chloroform, dichloromethane (methylene chloride), Freon 113 (trichlorotrifluoroethane) and trichloroethylene. Follow the Guidelines For Using Carboys.

What do I need to do when my Solvent Carboy is full?

  1. Fill out the required information and how many and what type of solvent carboys you want picked up and/or swapped out for empty ones. Use the Chemical Waste/Surplus Pickup Request Form.
  2. Fill out the Chemical Inventory of Waste Solvents in Carboys Form for each full carboy and keep them with the carboys for pick-up.  

Solvent Carboy Checklist

  • Carboys should be capped at all time except when being filled.
  • Each carboy should have a hazardous waste tag attached to it.
  • No more than 10 full carboys in a lab space at any time.
  • Carboys should be stored away from floor drains and ideally in a flammable storage cabinet.
  • Each carboy should have a log of all of the chemicals added to that carboy.

Silica & Alumina

What is a Silica Carboy?

A carboy is a 15 liter, round, plastic jug that is given out by the Office of Chemical Safety for use as a collection container for used silica and silica contaminated with organic solvents.  

How do I get a Silica Carboy?

Fill out the required information about how many silica carboys for drop off on the Chemical Waste/Surplus Pickup Request Form.

What is NOT allowed to be put into a Silica Carboy?

  • Normal lab trash (gloves, weigh boats, paper, pipette tips, etc.
  • Heavy metals (Hg, Cd, Pb, Cr, Se, Ba, As)
  • Sharps (needle, razors)
  • Lab glass (test tubes, small bottles, etc.)  

What do I need to do when my Silica Carboy is full?

  1. Fill out the required information about how many silica carboys you want picked up and/or swapped out for empty ones and submit the Chemical Waste/Surplus Pickup Request Form.
  2. Then fill out the Chemical Inventory of Waste Solvents in Carboys Form and keep the with the carboys for pick-up.

Silica Carboy Checklist

  • Carboys should be capped at all time except when being filled.
  • Each carboy should have a hazardous waste silica tag attached to it.
  • Each carboy should have a log of all of the chemicals added to that carboy.

Surplus Chemicals

Chemical Safety collects all unwanted chemicals not contained in carboys on campus as surplus chemicals. Chemicals offered for disposal should never be labeled as “Waste” as this label has legal expectations and may fall under regulations. Simply confirm that the unwanted containers are labeled with their constituents, fill out the Chemical Waste/Surplus Pickup Request Form and request a pick-up. Please be as thorough as possible when filling out the Chemical Waste/Surplus Pickup Request Form; this information is important so we may make decisions regarding a chemicals disposal. When we collect a chemical for disposal, a chemist examines it to determine that it has not degraded and is still useful for research. The redistribution program tries to reduce the volume of unused chemicals being disposed as waste.

What is a Surplus Chemical?

A surplus chemical is any chemical you would like to have disposed. They can be expired, used, or just plain unwanted.  

Is labware contaminated with chemicals considered Surplus Chemicals?

It depends on what the contaminant is and how much of it is on the labware. Refer to Chapter 7 of the Chemical Safety and Disposal Guide or call a Chemical Safety staff member to help make that determination.  

What do I need to do when I have a Surplus Chemical(s)?

  1. Fill out the required information and a description of the surplus chemical(s) you have that you would like picked up on the Chemical Waste/Surplus Pickup Request Form and submit.
  2. Fill out the Surplus Chemicals Form and keep it with the surplus chemical(s) for pick-up.

How do I prepare my Surplus Chemical(s) for pick-up?

Make sure it’s in a sealed container. Any liquids should be placed in secondary containment (i.e. a plastic dish tub). It should be placed with the Surplus Chemical form somewhere in the lab that is safe but visible enough for the Chem Safety person who is picking it up to see it if no one from the lab is around to give it to them.

Minimally-Contaminated Material

Minimally-contaminated material is lightly contaminated labware, disposable gloves, aprons, bench top coverings, centrifuge tubes, pipettes, pipette tips, test tubes, unwanted glassware and other items that are contaminated with chemical residue.

Collections of chemical samples, usually in milligram amounts in small vials, from synthesis or systematic testing should be kept together in an orderly manner and at least group labeled if not individually. Disposal to our contractor is best accomplished if these items have an identity and are not in a heap, as though they were trash.

EH&S can pick up some materials, but much of it can be simply placed in the normal trash.

  1. Material contaminated with P-list chemicals should be picked up by EH&S if it is the original container of the virgin product or contains residue of the P-list chemical as the sole active ingredient. See P-list.
  2. Material contaminated with toxic or carcinogenic chemicals should be segregated from normal trash by bagging or other secondary containment methods before placing it in the trash. Chemical residues that may need to be handled by EH&S are listed below, please contact Chemical Safety to make this determination.

m-Cresol

Heptachlor

Pentachlorophenol

Vinyl Chloride

Chromium

Endrin

Nitrobenzene

2,4,5-TP Silvex

Chloroform

2,4-Dinitrotoluene

Methyl Ethyl Ketone

2,4,6-Trichlorophenol

Chlorobenzene

1,1-Dichloroethylene

Methoxychlor

2,4,5-Trichlorophenol

Chlordane

1,2-Dichloroethane

Mercury

Trichloroethylene

Carbon Tetrachloride

1,4-Dichlorobenzene

Lindane

Toxaphene

Cadmium

2,4-D

Lead

Tetrachloroethylene

Benzene

Cresol, total

Hexachloroethane

Silver

Barium

p-Cresol

Hexachlorobutadiene

Selenium

Arsenic

o-Cresol

Hexachlorobenzene

Pyridine

  1. Snap-top tubes:
    For the 1 ml "snap top" tubes used for phenol-chloroformextraction of DNA, because of the small amount of chemical per tube, beforesnapping the top shut after material has been extracted, throw the open tube into alarge beaker (or similar container) of water (e.g., 100 tubes could be put into 3 Lof water) and the contents dissolved. Strain the tubes, sewer the water and trashthe tubes. This is much better than snapping shut and saving up thousands oftubes for occasional disposal.
  2. Material contaminated with substances not listed above can be places in the normal trash. Rinsing or bagging materials prior to placing them in the trash is suggested. 

If you have questions regarding whether this type of disposal is appropriate for a chemical you are using please call (608) 279-0869 or email tvannieuwenhoven@fpm.wisc.edu

 

Sewer Disposal

Many solutions and soluble solids can be safely disposed of via the sanitary sewer. When determining if a material can be disposed of via sanitary sewer, refer to UW-Madison Chemical Safety’s Laboratory Safety Guide or consult with any one of the Chemical safety staff. Generally soluble organic salts, sugars, amino acids, nucleotides, vitamins, surfactants, and many other metabolic intermediates can be disposed of via the sanitary sewer without much trouble. Many of the soluble salt combinations of common cations and anions can be discharged down the drain as well, but please refer to the Laboratory Safety Guide or a Chemical Safety staff member to be sure of your specific salt. Most acids and bases can be sewered as well, provided that they have first been properly neutralized.

What can I put down the Sanitary Sewer?

Refer to Chapter 7 of the Lab Safety Guide or call a Chem Safety staff member to help make that determination if you are unsure of a specific chemical(s).  

What can I NOT put down the Sanitary Sewer?

  • Insoluble materials
  • Large amounts of heavy metal salts and aqueous solutions of organic solvents
  • Dyes
  • Malodorous chemicals
  • Highly reactive materials
  • Acids/Bases that haven’t first been neutralized  

Are there any limits as to how much of a certain chemical that can be Sewered?

Yes. Certain heavy metal salts and aqueous solutions of organic solvents can be sewered but only in small amounts. Refer to Chapter 7 of the Lab Safety Guide or call a Chem Safety staff member to help make that determination.  

Are there any special procedures for Sewering chemicals?

  • Continuously run water during and after the sewering process to flush away all chemicals.
  • Test a small amount of the chemical first before pouring the whole amount to make sure that no reaction    takes place.   
  • If available, use a hood sink. Use proper PPE.

Neutralizing Acids/Bases

The best disposal route for most strong acids and bases is to safely neutralize and flush down the sanitary sewer. Refer to Chapter 7 of the Lab Safety Guide if you have acids/bases for disposal, as it has detailed procedures of how to do it safety. Please consult any of the Chemical Safety staff if you have any questions regarding whether or not an acid/base can be neutralized or how to best go about neutralizing a specific acid/base.

Animal Bedding

Animal bedding that may be contaminated with metabolized chemicals can be bagged and placed in the normal trash or sewered (Garb-el). Normally there is little risk of exposure or environmental impact regarding this type of disposal. If you have questions regarding whether this type of disposal is appropriate for a chemical you are using please call (608) 279-0869 or email tvannieuwenhoven@fpm.wisc.edu.

Animal waste materials are handled in the following manner:

  • Double bag and seal for disposal via normal trash
  • Dumping into the Garbel for sanitary sewer disposal is acceptable.
  • Waste is handled by non-animal care staff should be bagged and placed inside a box and labeled.