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Chapter 8 - Hazardous Waste Disposal Procedures

The following procedures describe the proper labeling, packaging, and other requirements for disposing of hazardous wastes generated at Cornell University.  Outlying facilities, please contact your Department Safety Representative for local procedures or contact EHS at askEHS for questions about managing hazardous waste at their facilities.

  • Contact EHS at askEHS to request Hazardous Waste disposal labels (numbered two-part stick-on 4" x 6"). Cornell University uses its own label for identifying containers of hazardous waste and their contents. When properly filled out and attached to a hazardous waste container, this label meets all regulatory labeling requirements for EPA and DEC.
  • Complete the two-part stick-on label with all of the spaces filled in (i.e., building and room number, name of requester, telephone number, chemical type, chemical name and weight or volume of all ingredients in each container). Please do not use trade names, abbreviations, or chemical formulas. Some ingredients may take more room than can be written on the numbered label. If this is the case, please tape one (1) additional copy of the ingredients on a small piece of paper to the container label. Submit an online Waste Pickup Request Form. The top copy of the label should be placed in the UN box with the hazardous waste containers. 

The following information must be included on each Hazardous Waste Disposal Label (example below text):

  • Building & Room: Indicates the area where the hazardous waste is generated and stored.
  • Name and Telephone Number: Identifies the individual faculty, staff, or student generating the hazardous waste and assuming responsibility for its description. This information is important if subsequent questions arise related to the waste.
  • Date: At Satellite Accumulation Areas place date on label when waste begins accumulating in the container. Submit an online Waste Pickup Request Form within 6- months of the start date. The top copy of the label should be placed in the UN box with the waste.  For 90 Day Accumulation Areas, the date the hazardous waste is first placed in the container must be written in this section.
  • Type: Identifies the general characteristics of the hazardous waste chemicals and indicates which classes of waste should not be mixed or packaged together to facilitate disposal procedures. A checkmark must be placed in each applicable box of this section.
  • Chemical Name: Precisely identify the exact composition of the hazardous waste in each container. You must use words describing the waste e.g., “methanol” or “acetic acid”, etc. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation regulations do not allow the use of codes, chemical abbreviations, chemical formulas and symbols to describe the waste. Hazardous waste consisting of multiple elements or compounds requires the identification of each constituent, and the approximate percentage by weight or volume it occupies in the container, if known. Note: The weight (in grams) or volume (in milliliters) of all ingredients in each container is helpful to be listed in this section, along with the chemical name and percent composition.
  • Tear-off Strip: the two-part stick-on label has a tear-off strip along the bottom edge of the self-adhesive portion (second page) of the label.  This tear- off strip is designed to facilitate the management of waste containers by making it easier to enter information on the waste label. The small tear-off strip has the same red inventory control number as is on the main label, along with Cornell's EPA registration number, the words "Hazardous Waste", and a line on which the name of the waste or the class of the waste can be written e.g. ("phenol/chloroform 50:50 mixture"). The small tear-off strip can be removed from the main label and placed on the waste bottle. The label itself can then be placed on a clipboard near the waste bottle or on the side of the fume hood using a magnet or other attachment. The label is then filled out with initial information (name, address, etc.). As the waste container is filled, specific waste chemical information is added (names, amounts, etc.). The completed label is then attached to the waste bottle and the additional steps for boxing and requesting removal are completed. While you should use a fume hood while adding hazardous waste to a container, please remember to store your hazardous waste containers in the fume hood base cabinet or another secure storage area with secondary containment such as a plastic tray.
An example Hazardous Waste label
Picture of the Cornell's Hazardous Waste Disposal Label

EHS has scheduled waste pickups on Wednesdays and Fridays. Other pickups can be arranged for special situations.

Used oils containing PCBs must indicate the parts per million (ppm) of PCBs. If this is unknown, the material can be tested by contacting EHS at askEHS to request a computerized sample number and sampling bottle to analyze the oil. Used oil containing more than 50ppm PCBs is considered Hazardous Waste in New York State.

  • Use only screw top chemical glassware or plasticware that is compatible with the hazardous waste. Soda pop, glass or plastic milk bottles, Clorox bleach bottles or rubber/glass stoppered containers will not be allowed for waste disposal. Any waste bottle/container that emits a noxious smell or is cracked or damaged in any way must be placed in an overpack container, such as a wide mouth container or bucket, or transferred to a new bottle/container.  If an overpack container is used, then a Hazardous Waste label must be on both the inner and outer container.
  • Place all containers in a Department of Transportation (DOT) UN rated box which has markings located on one side of the box (i.e., UN/4G/X,Y or Z/S/DATE OF MANUFACTURE/USA, etc.). The UN rated boxes have a styrofoam insert for four 4-liter bottles, or a corrugated cardboard separation.  If the waste containers/bottles are smaller than the 4 liter space, please place as many smaller containers/ bottles in the space as you can. Cardboard pieces must be placed between the smaller bottles to prevent breakage during transportation to the chemical waste facility. These boxes are not supplied by EHS, however, if you have difficulty locating boxes we will assist in getting some to you (See Steps for Chemical Hazardous Waste Removal for listing of DOT box storage areas on campus).