Hazardous Waste

Hazardous Waste Guidelines

The proper handling and disposal of hazardous materials and waste is everyone’s responsibility. Users are required to minimize waste generation by substituting less toxic materials and using less materials or source reduction.

Proper handling is needed to prevent unnecessary exposure. Knowledge of the regulations is needed for prudent handling of hazardous wastes. The following are guidelines to be followed when disposing of hazardous waste:

Identification refers both to the proper labeling and general awareness of the hazardous properties of specific materials. Regulations, as well as common sense, require that all hazardous substances and wastes be properly labeled. Materials which are not labeled must be treated as “unknowns,” assumed to be hazardous and must be chemically categorized before they can be disposed. It is the responsibility of the Principal Investigator to properly identify and label hazardous materials and wastes.

A. HAZARDOUS MATERIALS shall be labeled with the following information written in English:

  1. Specific chemical name(s) or trade name
  2. Specific hazard category, such as corrosive, flammable, toxic, etc.

B. HAZARDOUS WASTES, defined as materials which are no longer of use, shall be labeled with an approved Hazardous Waste label, containing the following information:

  1. Identified with the term “Hazardous Waste.”
  2. Chemical name(s) or trade name, including constituent chemicals and their percent by weight or quantity by volume.
  3. Generator information, name, building and room number, and telephone number.
  4. Hazard category or categories.
  5. Date accumulation began. Waste shall not be accumulated for longer than 9 months.

Hazardous materials and wastes should be handled and stored in a manner consistent with information on the label, on the  Safety Data Sheet (SDS), and prudent practices. The following storage and handling guidelines are recommended:

  1. Whenever possible, hazardous materials are to be stored in their original container with labeling intact.
  2. If the material is dispensed or transferred into another container, it must be of suitable material and labeled in accordance with Item I above.
  3. Chemical compatibility is required. Incompatible materials must be separated by distance or a physical barrier to preclude inadvertent contact. Secondary containers are required for some materials and recommended for all.
  4. There should be no more than 10 gallons of flammable liquids stored in a lab. Flammables should be stored in approved flammable storage cabinets. Adequate ventilation must be provided for the removal of vapors.
  5. Hazardous waste and material containers must be securely capped and kept only in well ventilated areas.
  6. SDS for each hazardous chemical or trade name product must be on hand and available. Each employee shall know where the SDS are maintained and how to obtain and understand the information.
  7. Waste may be accumulated in a laboratory for a period of no longer than 9 months, if all the above criteria are met.

Containers should be selected prior to generating any hazardous waste.  Whenever possible, hazardous waste should be stored in the same container in which that material was originally received. However, the original label should be removed or defaced and replaced with a hazardous waste label, as described above. If the original container is not available, use the following guidelines:

  1. Use a container which is constructed of the same material as the original, and which is properly sized for the volume of waste collected. Affix a hazardous waste label as described above.
  2. Food containers are not to be used as hazardous waste containers.
  3. When in doubt, call EH&S at 619-594-6778 for assistance.

Strict regulations governing the disposal of hazardous wastes have been promulgated by the Environmental Protection Agency, Cal/EPA and San Diego County Department of Health. Infractions of these regulations can lead to civil and criminal prosecution of the University and individual employees. Therefore, it is imperative that these materials be disposed of in a controlled manner. Hazardous wastes — either byproducts or chemical stock no longer in use — will be collected by EH&S for disposal, provided they are properly packaged and labeled. EH&S will then assure that the wasted are disposed in an approved manner and that the documentation of the disposal is maintained. Follow these procedures when preparing wastes for collection:

  1. Make sure hazardous waste containers are appropriate, sealed and in good condition.
  2. Ensure that individual containers are labeled in accordance with the identification requirements.
  3. Segregate the hazardous waste from incompatible materials through distance or physical barriers.
  4. Call EH&S at 619-594-6778 to request a hazardous waste pickup and removal.



For additional rules and training for your specific work area, please visit one of our location specific hazardous waste pages:


Research and teaching laboratory hazardous waste training and information.

Art, performance art and music studio hazardous waste training and information.

Training and information for workshops and trades working environments.