Waste Disposal Guidelines
document is designed to help the Rice University community distinguish between
municipal and hazardous waste and help elucidate how the waste should be
disposed of properly.
Waste is waste of a non-hazardous nature that does not inherently pose a threat
to people or the environment. Municipal
waste items include packing materials, paper, office supplies, non-contaminated
lab materials and food or drink containers. Rice University encourages all the members of
our community to recycle, reuse or repurpose.
Recycle bins are available in all building on campus. http://facilities.rice.edu/Content.aspx?id=2654
Waste is unwanted material that poses an inherent danger to personnel or the
environment. This waste cannot be disposed in a municipal landfill and requires
special handling, manifesting and packaging prior to disposal.
Classrooms and Offices
and classrooms all have ordinary trash cans readily available to all
occupants. However, not all waste should
be placed into the ordinary trash. Wastes from these areas that are of concern
include sharps (razor blades, syringe needles) or broken glass. Sharps in the
ordinary trash can create hazardous conditions in an otherwise safe
environment. These materials if not disposed of correctly could result in
someone being stuck or cut by a piece of glass or needle. If you need to throw away glass or objects that may become sharp if broken
please place these items in a cardboard box and close or tape the box shut and
mark it as trash. Sharps containers, for needle disposal, are available from
the Environmental Safety Department free of charge.
electronic equipment, machines, or batteries, also known as “E” waste should
not be disposed in the ordinary trash. For the disposal of unwanted computer
equipment please contact your IT division representative. For the proper
disposal of batteries or other e-waste contact EHS by completing a waste pickup
IT Hardware Disposal Process
all laboratory waste should be considered hazardous and disposing of this waste
properly can sometimes be confusing. This document is designed to help you
distinguish between different types of waste and the proper disposal of each
Municipal Laboratory Waste
lab waste includes office supplies, packing materials, other disposal lab
materials and boxes that were received or used in a laboratory. These items can
go into the normal trash or recycle bin. Other materials that can be thrown
away in the normal trash are non-contaminated gloves and any other non-contaminated
disposable lab supplies.
Biological waste includes any unwanted material which may be
composed of or contaminated with biological or biohazardous material that may pose
a threat to the general public and environment. Biological waste can be
derived from any materials that have come in contact with bacteria, virus,
toxins, rDNA, bloodborne products e.g.
human and none human primate tissues, organs, bodily fluids, cell lines as well
as OPIM (otherwise potentially infectious materials).. All biological
waste must be treated before general disposal.
Liquid Biological Waste
All liquid waste must be appropriately treated prior to disposal
by either chemical disinfection or thermal sterilization to ensure complete sterilization
of the material. The Center for Disease and Control and Prevention(CDC) provides guidance on
sterilization and disinfection protocols published in the Biosafety in
Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories. Once sterilized, the
solution can be poured down the laboratory sink followed by copious amounts of
water. If the solution contains other
hazards such as chemicals or radioactive materials, ensure the sterilization agent
is compatible with the underlying hazard first. Once sterilization is
complete, the waste can be safely disposed into the appropriate hazardous waste
Solid Biological Waste
Solid biological waste includes but not limited to plastic-ware,
petri dishes, eppendorf tubes or any other materials used to culture or
transfer biological materials. Any materials contaminated with a biological
hazard must be autoclaved prior to normal disposal or placed in a regulated
medical waste box (RMW) container.
Solid biological waste can be autoclaved for a minimum of 30 min
at 15psi and 121°C. Place a strip of
autoclave tape on the bag or on the biohazard symbol if applicable of the waste
before beginning the sterilization cycle. Following the autoclave process, the
material is considered non-biohazardous waste and can be disposed of in the
general trash. All biohazard symbols must be defaced or marked out prior
Wastes to be transported off‐site for treatment must be packaged securely in RMW container
available at the George R Brown loading dock or BRC loading dock. Waste
containers must not weight more than 40lbs. The red interior liner must be hand‐tied closed and the top of the box must be
securely folded shut. Each box should be marked on the outside with the lab name and phone extension.
If the waste material is frozen or had the potential to leak, you
must use two red bed liners before securing the box. Please do not place the
box in the collection area until the day of or night before shipment. On campus
these boxes should be placed inside the loading dock at George R. Brown or the
cold storage room at the BRC.
The 5 gallon bucket, as described in the
chemical waste section, should be used for any gels and other material that
comes in contact with the ethidium bromide. Do not use a red biohazard bag to
line the buckets. For the liquid
ethidium bomide waste such as buffers, please use a 5 gallon carboy and label
the container appropriately.
include any razor, scalpel, syringes and needles and must be disposed in a
plastic sharps container available in the EHS office. Needles should never be recaped or removed
from the syringe when disposing. The
entire needle and syringe should be placed in the sharps container for
disposal. Once the container is ¾ full, secure the top and place the sealed
container in a biohazard waste box. Biohazard waste boxes are available at the
George R Brown loading dock or BRC loading dock. Once the biohazard box is full or no longer
wanted in the lab secure the containers by following the procedures for solid
biological waste disposal.
Broken Glass Waste
glass waste poses a unique hazard to the custodial staff. Broken glass should
only be disposed of in designated broken glass containers. These broken glass
boxes can be obtained free of charge from the chemistry or VWR stockroom. When assembling
the boxes make sure to use packing tape to secure the bottom of the box. Due to the weight of the glass only fill the
box ¾ full. If the bottom of the box tears open due to moisture in the box,
moisture on the floor or weight of the box laboratory personnel are left with a
complicated mess to clean up. It is important to note that glass waste boxes are
for broken glass and the whole bottles should not contain any liquid or
residue. Though it is acceptable to place used pipets in these containers, it
is not appropriate to dispose of unwanted chemicals, or vials which contain samples. Always use a plastic liner (bag) in the box to
prevent any moisture from seeping and possibly compromising the integrity of
the box. When the box is ¾ full, seal the bag and box and mark if for disposal.
Never place bio hazardous materials in
the glass waste boxes. Contact the Rice
Facilities Service Center for custodial issues with broken glass.
Vial waste containing chemicals, usually
dissolved in a solvent, that are in small plastic or glass containers or eppendorf
tubes should not be placed in the glass trash.
Any vial which contains less than 5 ml fits into this category. Vial
waste should be placed into 5 gallons buckets for pickup and disposal. Buckets
are available from EHS or in the stockroom at the BRC or Space Science. Place a disposal sticker on the container and
write “vial waste” on the label. When the container is full and ready for
disposal, place a pickup request on the EHS website. http://safety.rice.edu/Waste/Waste_Pickup_Request/
Empty Chemical Containers
or containers that contained chemicals are not considered hazardous waste;
however they should not simply be thrown away in the trash. Amber glass bottles
and 20 Liter steel drums should be rinsed a minimum of 3 times with water and
allowed to dry before disposal in general trash. If the contents were a solvent
that is not miscible with water or should not be poured down the drain, e.g.
acetone, chloroform, dichloromethane, acetonitrile etc. please allow the residual
contents to evaporate in a chemical hood. Once the residue has evaporated, the label
should be defaced and the empty container disposed in the general trash or
Most laboratories on campus routinely
generate hazardous waste and therefore are subject to EPA and TCEQ (Texas
Commission on Environmental Quality) rules regulating the generation, storage,
and disposal of chemical waste. Prudent
waste management is necessary for resource conversation and pollution
Hazardous waste should segregate by
reactivity and collected in waste containers supplied by EHS. Segregation of the waste stream should be
based on the underlying hazards (flammable, aqueous acids or basic,
chlorinated) and never poured down the sink without consultation with EHS.
When generating hazardous waste follow
All waste containers must be capped or
closed when not in use.
All waste containers must be labeled
with the word “waste” or “hazardous waste”.
Chemical contents of the waste container
should be maintained to prevent non compatible waste from being collected
All waste containers must have an EHS
hazardous waste sticker affixed to the vessel with the following information
Name of generator (PI or Lab).
Date that the waste began accumulating.
Type of hazard.
All hazardous waste containers must be
in a secondary container that can accommodate 110% the volume of the waste
container. EHS will provide these to the laboratory upon request.
All waste ready for pick up must be
placed in a designated area and the generator must fill out an EHS waste pickup
request form. http://safety.rice.edu/Waste/Waste_Pickup_Request/
your laboratory is licensed to work with radioactive material, proper
management of this waste stream is important to prevent unintended exposure and
high cost of disposal of mixed waste. Environmental Health and Safety will
assist you with the disposal or decay of all radioactive waste. Contact EHS to
obtain a cost for the disposal of radioactive materials. The cost of disposal
of these materials is the responsibility of the PI. Once the material is removed from the lab or
has reached its maximum decay it can be subtracted from your radioactive
Memo of Understanding - Unbroken
glassware and chemicals are considered precursors to the production of
controlled substances. These chemicals and glassware have special restrictions
due to a memo of understanding between the Texas Department of Public Safety
and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. You cannot dispose of any unbroken
glassware or apparatus that is considered a controlled item in the trash. You
must submit a waste pickup request to dispose of these. You can view the document
here to determine if you have any of these materials.