Recyclopedia

These guidelines of disposal recommendations are designed to help you determine how materials should be disposed of to ensure the University’s compliance with environmental regulations. Under no circumstances are materials to be dropped off at Environment, Health & Safety (30 East Campus Mall) without prior arrangements with the Chemical Disposal Group. Guidelines for some specific materials are listed below.

This is an accordion element with a series of buttons that open and close related content panels.

Aerosols

Any cans which still contain the product must be turned-in as surplus chemicals. The Surplus Chemicals Form must be submitted; include the type of product and any listing of ingredients or contents. Aerosol cans that have been completely emptied may be thrown into the normal trash. Request a pickup on the Chemical Waste/Surplus Pickup Request Form.

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 troy.vannieuwenhoven@wisc.edu.

Appliances

Some appliances, microwaves, and refrigerators may be picked up for removal by contacting Physical Plant Customer Service at 608-263-3333 to submit a pick-up request.

After making the request, please decontaminate and empty any contents remaining in your appliance. Appliances should be fully clean before removal. Place your appliance next to your buildings dumpster after requesting a pickup through Physical Plant Customer Service. If you are unable to place your appliance next to a dumpster, please place it on your buildings loading dock.

Art Supplies

Paints, thinners, oils, varnishes, oily rags and glazes containing metals can be picked up by EH&S, by filling out a Surplus Chemicals Form and submitting the Chemical Waste/Surplus Pickup Request Form.

Asbestos-Containing Equipment

For information on how to dispose of asbestos-containing equipment, please contact Chris Heidel or Brian Higby.

Batteries

  1. Alkaline Batteries – Please throw your alkaline batteries in the normal trash.
  2. Lead Acid Batteries – Lead acid batteries (car type and gel cell) can be returned to the vendor from which it was purchased. If you are unable to return the battery to a vendor, please contact Physical Plant Customer Service at 608-263-3333 for a pick-up request. All caps on the battery must be present. If the battery is leaking, it must be secured in double plastic bags at least 4-mils thick. Please fill out a chemical pick up request form for leaking batteries only.
  3. Nickel Cadmium Batteries (Nicads) and nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) – These batteries should be purchased from a vendor who will accept the old battery. If you are unable to return the battery to a vendor, please contact Physical Plant Customer Service at 608-263-3333 for a pick-up request or find a battery recycling tower located in your designated building.
  4. Lithium Batteries – Lithium batteries should be purchased from a vendor who will accept the old battery.  If you are unable to return  the battery to the vendor, please contact Physical Plant Customer Service at 608-263-3333 for a pick-up request or find a battery recycling tower located in your designated building.  Please tape the terminals on these specific batteries before disposal.

Please check with SWAP, 608-497-4440, for pickup and reusability of computer batteries.

Biological Safety Cabinets

For information on how to dispose of biological safety cabinets, please contact the Office of Biological Safety.

Bulbs, Lamps & Tubes

These items are universal waste; they must be collected and handled in accordance with procedure listed below.

Purpose

It is the policy of the University of Wisconsin–Madison to collect and dispose of universal waste according to all local, state and federal regulations.

Procedures

Collection of used bulbs, lamps, and tubes

  1. Spent bulbs, lamps, and tubes must be collected in boxes marked with the label “Universal Waste” or “Used Lamps”, the start date of accumulation, and closed.
  2. Each facility handles their own bulb collection.
  3. The original container that the bulbs, lamps, and tubes came in when purchased should be used if possible. Alternate containers must be made out of corrugated cardboard.
  4. Please contact Physical Plant Customer Service at 608-263-3333 to schedule a bulb pickup.
  5. All spills of glass, powder, or any other material related to bulbs, lamps, and tubes must be immediately cleaned up.
  6. As soon as a box is full, it must be completely taped shut.

NOTE: Completely taped shut means the following:

All seams and holes in the collection box whether intentionally put there or as part of their original construction (this includes but is not limited to, hand hold end seams) must be taped over; there can be No Holes, No Gaps, No Seams and/or No Cracks left in the collection box where powder or broken glass could leak out.

Individual small bulbs, lamps, and tubes from lab instruments and equipment can be picked up by EH&S, by filling out a Surplus Chemicals Form and submitting the Chemical Waste/Surplus Pickup Request Form.

Cleaning Products

  1. Floor Cleaning Products – Floor cleaning products that have been mixed according to the manufacturer’s recommendations can usually be poured down the drain. These must be poured down the sanitary sewer and must not be allowed to enter the storm sewer or otherwise be released into the outdoors. If you do not know where a drain goes (many floor drains in older buildings are connected to the storm sewer), do not pour anything into it. Unused products to be disposed of must be listed on The Surplus Chemicals Form; include the type of product and any listing of ingredients.
  2. Standard Cleaning Products – Standard cleaning products should be used completely whenever possible. Unused products may be turned into EH&S for use by other facilities on campus.

Empty Chemicals

Empty chemical containers (with one exception, see P-list), including those that have residue, are considered lab trash. Normal chemical bottles can be placed in the waste baskets if they are unbroken and empty (no more than a few drops in the bottom, keep cap on). It is strongly recommended that the occupant place the empty bottle on top of the trash in the waste basket so that the custodian can see it and deal with it appropriately and carefully. The bottles should be sturdy enough not to break if a bag was set normally on the floor or if they are dumped into a larger receptacle. If they are fragile, they should be packaged as broken glass.

While these items can go into a landfill with regular trash you want to ensure that staff (e.g., custodial staff) are not accidentally exposed. If the container is fragile or contaminated on the outside, they should be collected in a trash bag separate from normal lab trash in your workplace and labeled with contents. When the bag is filled it should be placed in a sturdy box for disposal.

Exception P-list materials – Original empty containers should be picked up by the Chemical Disposal Group.

Alternatively, if there is an instance where rinsing is necessary, after the three rinses, the original container is now considered trash; however, the rinseate from the three rinses is considered hazardous waste and needs to be labeled and picked up by Chemical Waste Management. See the P-list.

Please submit a Chemical Waste/Surplus Pickup Request Form for your used/empty P-list containers or rinseate.

Empty Drums

In order for Physical Plant (Waste and Recycling) to dispose of metal or plastic 55-gallon drums the disposer of the drums must:

  1. Submit a Work Order to Physical Plant Customer Services 608-263-3333
  2. Ensure both bung plugs are removed.
  3. Ensure that each barrel is Triple-Rinsed, Empty and Dry inside,
  4. Clearly mark each barrel “TRIPLE RINSED” (with a Sharpie or other indelible marker) including the name and phone number of the disposer.

If the poly/plastic drums contain residue that you are unable to rinse, such as oil or hard debris, please contact the Department of Environment, Health & Safety (EH&S) and submit the Chemical Waste/Surplus Pickup Request Form for drum pick-up and removal.

Please store drums so that water does not collect on their tops. Drums stored for recycling should be stored on their sides to eliminate any confusion as to their identity.

This is an accordion element with a series of buttons that open and close related content panels.

Fertilizers, Herbicides, Insecticides, and Pesticides

These products should be used according to label directions. If mixing a concentrate, only mix the amount that is going to be used that day.

Materials that are not going to be used (mixed) shall be can be picked up by Chemical Disposal Group. Any leaky containers must be packed in double plastic bags and can be picked up by EH&S, by filling out a Surplus Chemicals Form and submitting the Chemical Waste/Surplus Pickup Request Form.

  1. Empty packaging must be managed according to the manufacturer’s instructions. If the instructions call for rinsing the empty containers, the rinsate can go into the sanitary sewer, however, you may want to consult Chemical Disposal Group for guidance. Do not pour the rinsate on the ground or into storm sewers.

Gas Cylinders

  • All gas cylinders must be stored in an approved storage area in an upright position and secured with a chain.
  • Cylinders manufactured  by  Linde, AGA, Airgas, Praxair, Matheson, Gastech, and Badger Welding should be returned to their vendors through MDS.

Lab Trash

Gloves, paper towels, sampling tips, and other lab generated, lightly contaminated lab-ware in most cases can be bagged and placed in the normal trash. Material containing excessive contamination or a larger amount of hazardous chemical should be disposed of by contacting the Chemical Disposal Group.

Empty chemical containers cannot be recycled and are considered trash (except those containing P-listed chemicals). We suggest that they remain capped and are disposed of in the normal trash.

Solvent bottles (capped), glass lab ware, and pipet tips cannot be recycled and are not treated as hazardous waste. Normal chemical bottles can be placed in the waste baskets if they are unbroken and empty (no more than a few drops in the bottom). It is strongly recommended that the occupant place the empty bottle on top of the trash in the waste basket so that the custodian can see it and deal with it appropriately and carefully. The bottles should be sturdy enough not to break if a bag was set normally on the floor or if they are dumped into a larger receptacle. If they are fragile, they should be packaged as broken glass.

While these items can go into a landfill with regular trash you want to ensure that staff (e.g., custodial staff) are not accidentally exposed. If the container is fragile or contaminated on the outside, they should be collected in a trash bag separate from normal lab trash in your workplace and labeled with contents. When the bag is filled it should be placed in a sturdy box for disposal.

Light Ballasts

  1. Spent or PCB Containing Light Ballasts – These should have the wires cut as close to the ballasts as possible. Large quantities (>10) should be placed into a steel drum (provided by EHS), labeled as “PCB Ballasts” and delivered to EHS at 30 East Campus Mall. Small quantities can be arranged for pickup by Chemical Disposal Group by using our Chemical Disposal Pickup form.
  2. Working Light Ballasts (non–PCB) – Must have “No PCBs” printed on them. If there is no marking, please treat them as PCB ballasts. Can be placed into steel recycling (please contact your building manager for location) or the normal trash.

Mercury & Mercury-containing Devices

Help us recycle mercury from your unwanted or broken mercury thermometers, manometers, switches, controllers etc. UW–Madison Chemical Safety Office accepts metallic mercury and unwanted, unbroken mercury-containing devices.

For free-flowing mercury from broken items follow this procedure:

  • For mercury spill cleanup information please see part 5.7 Mercury Spills in the Laboratory Safety Guide.
  • If dealing with a broken thermometer, preserve all sections containing visible mercury, especially the bulb. Contain the mercury in a small preferably plastic container with a secure air- and liquid-tight seal.
  • Dispose of the material by filling out a Surplus Chemicals Form and submitting a Chemical Waste/Surplus Pickup Request Form.

Miscellaneous Products

Products that are of no use shall not be left to accumulate. When a product is no longer to be used, it should be disposed of as soon as possible. The product shall be tagged with a Surplus Chemicals Form; include the type of product and any listing of ingredients.

Paint and Paint-related Materials

  1. Excess Paint – Paint must always be purchased in quantities that minimize excess paint. Excess cans of paint must not be left at job sites. Paint returned from job sites should be used for other jobs if possible. When it is determined that paint is no longer needed, the Chemical Waste/Surplus Pickup Request Form must be submitted and arrangements for its pickup by EHS will be made. Its usability or waste status will be determined by the EH&S office. To save space and disposal expense, partial cans should be combined if possible. When filling out the form, indicate if the paint is latex (acrylic) based or oil (alkyd) based. Excess paint may be made available to all university facilities for use on other job sites.
  2. Empty Paint Cans – Dry empty paint cans should be thrown away. A container is considered empty if all material has been removed that can be removed using the practices commonly employed to remove materials from that type of container (e.g., pouring, pumping, and aspirating), and no more than 2.5 centimeters (one inch) of dry residue remain on the bottom of the container.
  3. Paint Thinner – Used paint thinner should be collected in 5-gallon carboys provided by EH&S. No solids or sludge should be mixed with the thinner; filter the thinner if necessary. Keep the outside of the carboys clean and keep them closed when they are not being filled. Do not fill the carboys above the fill line. When full, label the carboy with the Chemical Inventory of Waste Solvents in Carboys Form and submit the Chemical Waste/Surplus Pickup Request Form to arrange for pickup.
  4. Paint Sludge – Sludge from paint and thinner should be collected in 5-gallon carboys provided by EH&S. When full, securely close and label with the Chemical Inventory of Waste Solvents in Carboys Form and submit the Chemical Waste/Surplus Pickup Request Form to arrange for pickup.
  5. Aerosol Cans – Any cans which still contain the product must be turned-in as surplus chemicals. The Surplus Chemicals Form must be submitted; include the type of product and any listing of ingredients or contents. Aerosol cans that have been completely emptied may be thrown into the normal trash. Request a pickup on the Chemical Waste/Surplus Pickup Request Form.

Pharmaceuticals

Non-DEA regulated pharmacy items for disposal need to be listed on the Surplus Chemicals Form and turned into EH&S with the Chemical Waste/Surplus Pickup Request Form.

Controlled Substance Disposal

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has implemented new regulations for controlled substance disposal. Previously approved disposal methods, such as flushing substances down a drain or mixing with kitty litter or coffee grounds and disposing as solid waste, are no longer permitted. Researchers cannot transport the drug to an unauthorized location and cannot transfer drugs to unauthorized persons under any circumstance. For additional information, please see the RARC Guidelines for Animal Researchers.

Controlled substances must be disposed of in a manner that permanently and irreversibly alters the substance’s physical or chemical state, rendering the drug unavailable and unusable (non-retrievable). Visit the DEA Office of Diversion Control website for regulatory information and resources.

For disposal instructions, please contact Troy Vannieuwenhoven at: 608-279-0869, troy.vannieuwenhoven@wisc.edu; or contact the DEA directly at: 608-210-4334, DEA.Registration.Help@usdoj.gov.

Radioactive Equipment & Devices

Equipment used for research with radioactive materials is labeled with the “caution radioactive material” symbol. All such equipment is potentially contaminated and must be checked for radioactive contamination by UW–Madison Office of Radiation Safety before it can be disposed of or shipped off campus. Contact UW–Madison Office of Radiation Safety with questions; email radiationsafety@fpm.wisc.edu or call 608-265-5000. Learn more about radiation disposal.

Sharps

Information on how to dispose of medical sharps, laboratory sharp materials and broken glass is located at our Sharps Disposal page.

Used Oil

  1. Refrigeration Oils should be collected in 5-gallon containers or 55-gallon drums provided by EH&S. If 5-gallon pails are used, they must be leak proof and the outsides must be kept clean. The container must be labeled as “Used Oil.”
  2. Vacuum System Oils may be collected in 5-gallon containers or 55-gallon drums provided by EH&S. If 5-gallon pails are used, they must be leak proof and the outsides must be kept clean. These must be labeled as “Used Oil.” On the turn-in form be sure to indicate the amount of water, if any.
  3. Transformer Oils – Unless there is a sticker on the transformer that states the oil is PCB free, do not drain the transformer until EH&S has been notified and tests the oil for PCB contamination. If the oil is PCB free, it should be collected in 5-gallon containers or 55-gallon drums provided by EH&S. If 5-gallon pails are used, they must be leak proof and the outsides must be kept clean. These must be labeled as “Used Transformer Oil.”
  4. Motor Oils – Containers used to collect used motor oil must be labeled “Used Oil”. The Chemical Waste/Surplus Pickup Request Form must be submitted to schedule pick-up.
  5. Oil Filters should be drained into the waste motor oil and disposed of at Fleet Maintenance to be crushed with their used oil filters.
  6. Oily Shop Rags must be placed in oily rag cans if available. If the shop has a rag laundry contact established, they may send rags out to be cleaned. If no cans are available rags should be bagged, labeled, and EH&S contacted to request a chemical surplus pickup.
  7. Cooking Oil and Grease – Most used cooking oil and grease at campus residence halls and dining locations is picked up for disposal by an outside collection vendor. Incidental amounts of used cooking oil or grease can be collected in a 5-gallon container or pail, which must be leak proof and kept clean on the outside. These containers must be labeled as “Used Cooking Oil.” The Chemical Waste/Surplus Pickup Request Form may be submitted to schedule a pickup.