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Containers, Tags, and Collection

Proper containment, tagging, collection and disposal are essential to the success of the Hazardous Waste Program. The following sections discuss these areas.

Filling Containers

Hazardous waste collection containers must be in good condition, must not leak, and must be compatible with their hazardous contents (e.g., do not use metal containers for corrosive waste or plastic containers for organic solvents). All containers must have suitable screw caps or other secure means of closure. When large waste containers (greater than 10 gallons total volume) are warranted, contact the Environmental Health & Safety Department for assistance.

If you are reusing a container to accumulate waste, destroy the original product label. EPA regulations require that waste containers be labelled with the accumulation start date, the identity of the contents, and the words "Hazardous Waste". Use a new label to identify the hazardous waste, do not use the disposal tag for this purpose.

IMPORTANT: Never overfill hazardous waste containers. Expansion and excess weight can lead to spills, explosion, and extensive environmental exposure.

Hazardous waste containers for liquids are generally rated by volume capacity. Allow extra room in liquid containers to allow for contents expansion.

  • Do not fill jugs and bottles past the shoulder of the container. The shoulder of the container is the place where the container slopes in towards the neck.
  • Fill closed head cans (5 gallons or less) to leave approximately two inches of space between the liquid level and the top of the container.
  • Fill closed head drums (larger than 5 gallons) to leave approximately four inches of space.

Hazardous waste containers for solids are generally rated by their weight capacity and volume capacity. Take care not to exceed the weight capacity of a solid container. Weight is generally not a problem for jars and open head cans (5 gallons or less), but it can be a problem for open head drums (larger than 5 gallons). Depending on weight requirements, you may fill containers for solids within two inches of the closure.

IMPORTANT: Keep all waste collection containers closed except when adding or removing material.

7. Completing Tags

Note: The following description of the use of Waste Tags applies to the systems used for TAMU-HSC labs in College Station. All other Components should contact their safety office for information on their own program.

When a container is ready for disposal, complete a waste tag (available from the Environmental Health & Safety Department) and attach it to the container. A waste disposal tag must be attached to each waste container before disposal. A sample Chemical Waste Disposal Tag is included on the following page.

Follow these guidelines for completing hazardous waste tags:

  • Completely fill out both the upper and lower sections of the tag. (This information is essential for record keeping.)
  • The "REQUESTOR" is the person in charge of the lab.
  • Use full chemical names or common names. Chemical formulas or abbreviations are not acceptable.
  • List all chemical components in the waste container, including water. Long lists may be continued on the back of the tag.
  • Indicate the percent concentration of potentially explosive materials such as picric acid and nitro compounds.
  • Place additional hazard information in REMARKS.
  • Attach the tag to a string which encircles the container. Rubber bands, tape, and wire are not acceptable.

(Attach Top Portion of tag to Container)

Chemical Waste Disposal Tag

REQUESTOR: John Doe DEPT/PART: Chemistry PHONE: 5-3140 DATE: 7-18-94 CHEMICAL(S): Benzene

(Mail lower portion of tag to your component Environmental Health & Safety Office)

DATE: 7-18-94

REQUESTOR: John Doe

DEPT/PART: Chemistry BLDG.NAME & NO: Chemistry - 376 ROOM NO. 2002 PHONE: 5-3140 CHEMICAL(S): Benzene _LIQUID _SOLID _Pint _Gallon _5-Gallon Amount _Other 4 liters CONTAINER TYPE: _Glass _Metal _Other REACTS WITH: _None _Air _Water _Other Heat HAZARDS: _Highly Flammable _Explosive _Carcinogen _Highly Toxic _Highly Corrosive _Other

REMARKS:

8. Collection and Disposal

Improper disposal methods for hazardous chemical waste include the following:

  • Disposal down the drain.
  • Intentional evaporation in a fume hood.
  • Disposal in the regular trash.

9. Disposing of Empty Containers

What do I do with empty chemical containers? How do I get rid of them? Can they be placed in the trash dumpster? The answer is fairly simple but very important.

EPA regulations stipulate that empty containers must meet the following requirements:

  • Containers must not contain free liquid or solid residue.
  • Containers must be triple rinsed.
  • Product labels must be defaced or removed.
  • Container lids or caps must be removed.

Punch holes in the bottom of metal containers and plastic jugs before disposing of them in the regular trash. It is not necessary to break empty glass containers.

IMPORTANT: Containers that do meet the requirements mentioned here must be treated as hazardous waste.

10. Minimization and Substitution

The cost of commercial waste disposal continues to rise and the amount of waste generated continues to increase. TAMUS-HSC cannot control disposal costs, but it can reduce the amount of waste generated. The following sections discuss how to minimize waste sources and waste products.