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RCRA Compliance FAQ

Where do I get containers and labels for waste?  

Laboratories can use their own waste containers (must be sturdy, compatible with waste, and have a tight fitting lid) or request waste containers from the Environmental Safety Division (ESD) free of charge. We provide 5 gallon plastic carboys, 5 gallon plastic buckets, and several other options.  We also provide red hazardous waste labels.  Complete this form to request supplies.

I have a full glass disposal box. Who should I contact to pick it up?  

Laboratory personnel must dispose of broken glass boxes. When the box is ¾ full, tape the lid securely onto the box and take the box to the dumpster outside of your building.  Work with Building Services personnel to locate the dumpster if you're not sure where it is.  Do not place liquids or broken mercury thermometers in your glass disposal box.  Glass containers, such as beakers, vials and bottles, must be completely empty.

Where do I get a glass disposal box? 

Laboratories are responsible for purchasing their own glass disposal box.  They can be purchased through UGAmart.  Simply search for "glass disposal box" and choose a suitable vendor for purchase.

When will you pick up my waste?

Typically chemical waste will be picked up within two weeks of the request date depending on the volume, hazards, and location of your waste. Lab personnel are not required to be present for waste to be picked up unless the lab is locked during regular business hours or is otherwise inaccessible.  If waste pickup staff will need a key or code to access your lab, please indicate this on the Chematix pickup request along with contact info (preferably a cell phone number) so that we can schedule a pickup appointment. 

Can I ship my own hazardous materials (i.e. chemicals, samples on dry ice, etc.)?  

Environmental Safety Division personnel must ship your hazardous materials to ensure that the University complies with all applicable regulations.  All shipment information must be received at least one week prior to the desired shipping date. For more information please visit the hazardous materials shipping page

Do I need special training to do this? 

Annual hazardous waste training is required. The training module is available through UGA's Professional Education Portal at  When accessing the Professional Education Portal for training, use the search function on the main page to find "UGA Hazardous Waste Training."

How do I dispose of a chemical container with unknown contents? 

First, review the Unknown Chemical Guidance document (PDF download) for information and email or call 706-542-5801 for assistance with disposal of unknown chemicals. 

How do I dispose of empty chemical bottles/containers?  

Chemical containers which have been emptied by all practical means, which did not previously contain a P-Listed chemical (download the P-list here), are considered non-regulated waste and can be placed in regular trash receptacles. As a best practice, double-bag empty containers and dispose of them in a dumpster outside of your building if practical to do so.  Empty containers that previously contained a P-Listed chemical must be submitted through Chematix for hazardous waste pickup by the Environmental Safety Division. If you are unsure whether an empty chemical container can go into the regular trash please email or call 706-542-5801 for assistance.

I want to dispose of a large quantity of chemicals in my lab.  Where do I begin?

Contact us at or call 706-542-5801 and we will schedule a consultation at your lab to discuss options for large quantity disposals and clean-outs.

My lab is moving to a different building on campus. How do I begin the process of moving my chemicals?  

Contact us at for assistance moving hazardous chemicals and complete the Office of Research Lab Closing/Opening/Relocation form. We will schedule a consultation to discuss your lab move. Please contact us at least two weeks prior to the move.

How do I dispose of aerosol cans, even if they are empty?

Aerosol cans are regulated by the EPA even when empty.  As with any other chemical waste, create a waste card and pickup request for aerosol cans using the Chematix system.  If you have a large number of aerosol cans to dispose of, contact us at or call 706-542-5801 for further assistance.

What do I do with waste batteries?

We accept waste batteries at battery recycling stations throughout campus.  Recycling stations accept all battery types except car batteries. See our Battery Recycling Stations page for a list of station locations. If you have any questions or would like a battery recycling station in your building, please contact us at or call 706-542-5801.

How do I dispose of a mercury thermometer (intact or broken)? 

Complete a waste card in the Chematix system by searching for “mercury thermometer” in the chemical name field on the waste card creation screen and submit a waste pickup request as you would for any other chemical.  Make sure that the thermometer is in a sturdy container, especially if it is broken.  Make a note on the Chematix pickup request if the thermometer is broken.  If you have a mercury spill as a result of a broken thermometer, call 706-542-5288, 706-542-5801, or 706-542-5561 for immediate assistance.

What chemical solutions can I put down the drain and what do I need to collect? 

See our Drain Disposal Guide (PDF download) for guidance.  If in doubt, collect the chemical, label it properly, create a waste card for it and submit it for pickup in the Chematix system.

What chemical reagents am I allowed to dispose of in the regular trash? 

Submit all unwanted chemicals for hazardous waste pickup using the Chematix system.  No chemical waste liquids may be disposed of in regular trash cans.  Small quantities of non-hazardous waste in the solid phase (example: sodium chloride) may be disposed of in regular trash receptacles.  If in doubt, collect the chemical, label it properly, create a waste card for it and submit it for pickup in the Chematix system.

Do I need to collect ethidium bromide gels and debris? 

See our guidance document about ethidium bromide disposal:  EtBr Waste Disposal (PDF download)

Do I need to collect silica gel waste? 

Yes, create a waste card for it and submit it for pickup in the Chematix system.  Search for “silica gel” in the chemical name field on the waste card creation screen.

How do I dispose of full sharps containers? 

Chemical labs and BSL-1 labs can submit their sharps containers for pickup through the Chematix system.  You'll see a handy link for sharps disposal on the waste card creation screen in Chematix. More information about sharps is available at the Office of Biosafety website.