Disposal Guide

Generators of hazardous waste at UWM must abide by the hazardous waste rules set by the University. These rules include

  • Minimizing Hazardous Waste
  • Proper Collection Practices
  • Proper Labeling of Hazardous Waste
  • Proper Storage Practices

By following these rules, waste generators strive to make UW-Milwaukee a safe and healthy environment to work and learn.

Minimizing Hazardous Waste

Minimization of hazardous material is the easiest way to reduce hazardous waste. There are several ways to reduce the amount of hazardous material, thus reducing the need for hazardous waste disposal.

  • Order only what you need
    – Although this can be difficult, it saves money on both ends by spending less on the initial order and spending less on disposal.
  • Substitute hazardous material with non-hazardous material
    – Use latex paint instead of oil based paint. Substitute mercury thermometers with alcohol thermometers. Use environmentally friendly chemicals.
  • Take advantage of US&A redistribution program
    – If US&A receives chemicals that are not highly hazardous and still usable, they will be placed on a list and made available to university staff for reuse.
    – Contact US&A if you would like more information on the Chemical Redistribution Program.

Proper Collection Practices

Hazardous waste must be stored in a sturdy, sealable container, free of leaks. Any leak-free container that is compatible with the contents is acceptable. The hazardous waste program has a wide variety of free waste containers for almost every need.

The most common waste containers available from US&A are the 8 liter high density polyethylene carboy (for liquid waste) and 5 gallon bucket with bag and lid for solid waste.

– intended for Co-mingling of compatible waste such as flammables.
– Never mix incompatible chemicals such as acids and base, flammables and oxidizers, or oxidizers and acids.
– Mixing of incompatibles could result in a reaction causing sever injury or death.
– Keep from putting liquids in these containers. The bags may leak causing hazardous waste spills.

Proper Labeling Practices

Labeling of hazardous waste is the one of the most important rules for waste generators to follow. US&A will not accept any waste that is unlabeled or unknown. When labeling waste, the words “Hazardous Waste” must be on the container and proper chemical names must be used to identify the contents of the container. The use of formulas, abbreviations, or symbols to identify a material is unacceptable.

Hazardous waste carboys will be accompanied with a chemical inventory sheet which is specific to that container. The waste generator must fill out the top portion of the inventory sheet as well as the contents. Always fill out the contents as they are being added. Do not wait to fill out the inventory sheets. See below for an example of a correctly completed inventory sheet.

If you cannot identify an unknown chemical, contact US&A to arrange for the hazardous waste contractor to identify the chemical during the next hazardous waste shipment.

Proper Storage Practices

Every waste generator should identify a location in the lab, studio or office where waste can accumulate before being picked up by the Environmental Protection staff. Make sure that others in the area lab, studio or office know the location of the accumulation site and the rules for proper storage.

Only store waste in designated locations. These areas should be signified by a hazardous waste accumulation sign. This will serve notice that everything in the area is waste for disposal. If you are having difficulty identifying a suitable location, contact the staff in Environmental Protection for guidance on an appropriate location and the requirements for proper signage.

All waste containers in the accumulation area must be capped and labeled. Failure to do so may result in spills, injuries. and/or fines.

Hazardous waste is to never be stored in public areas. If you notice what looks to be hazardous waste in or near a trash receptacle, please call US&A immediately.

For additional information or for help with any questions regarding accumulation of hazardous waste, please contact Environmental Protection at hazwaste@uwm.edu

Additional Resources

For a partial listing of chemical incompatibilities, see “Chemical Incompatibilities.” (This document is courtesy of the University of Kansas, Department of Environmental Health and Safety)