Ethidium bromide is not regulated by the EPA as hazardous waste, but because of the mutagenic properties, The University of Georgia manages ethidium bromide using the same methods as hazardous waste. Ethidium bromide waste, including gels and stock solutions, should not be poured down the drain or placed in the trash but disposed-of through the Environmental Safety Division using Chematix waste labeling and pickup request procedures. Exceptions include the treatment of ethidium bromide buffer solutions and gels using activated carbon.
Ethidium Bromide Gel Management
Ethidium bromide gels should be placed in thick plastic bags, buckets (5 gallon paint type buckets with sealable lids), or another suitable disposable plastic container with a secure lid. If using a bucket, please line the bucket with a plastic bag. Do not use red biohazard bags; pickup will be refused until contents are transferred to another container. Ensure that containers/bags are not leaking.
Ethidium Bromide Stock Solutions and Buffer Solutions
There are two disposal options for these items. They can either be disposed-of using regular Chematix waste labeling and pickup request procedures or through treatment of the buffer solutions using activated charcoal followed by drain disposal. Kits such as the EtBr GreenBag® Disposal Kit can effectively treat buffer solutions and allow for drain disposal of the filtrate.
Ethidium Bromide Contaminated Gloves and Tips
Contaminated debris can be placed in the same bag or container as gels.
Using Chematix to Dispose of Gels
When creating a waste tag through Chematix for ethidium bromide gels, a percentage of 0.01% may be used for the EtBr portion. The remaining percentage can reflected by entering agarose gels as the other constituent on the waste tag.