Other Waste

This section is written by Environmental Health and Safety – Hazardous Material Management (EHS –HMM) to help you properly identify, manage and dispose of other waste streams that may be generated and require specific disposal procedures, from your research, clinical or general operations.

Other Laboratory Specific Waste Streams

MOU Glassware

The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) have developed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) as required by the Texas Safety and Health Code. Under the MOU, certain laboratory apparatus is prohibited from being sold or transferred to any person or entity not holding a DPS permit or waiver. Therefore, this laboratory apparatus cannot be sent to Surplus for sale to the public nor can it be given to anyone outside of The University.

The following items are identified by this memorandum (MOU) as controlled:

adapter tubes


distilling apparatus

distilling flasks

encapsulating machines

Erlenmeyer, two-necked, single neck, round bottom, thermometer, and filtering flasks

filter, buchner, and separatory funnels

flask heaters

heating mantles

Soxhlet extractors

tableting machines

three-necked flasks


vacuum dryers

To dispose of the above listed items, first try to find another lab group at The University that can use them. If that is not possible, you may contact EHS – HMM at (512) 471-3511. They can be disposed of in a Glass Disposal Container if they are broken and unusable.

Broken and Unwanted Glassware

Glass Disposal Containers, which are a blue and white cardboard box, are provided to laboratories for the storage and removal of discarded glassware. This program is operated through Facility Services at (512) 471-2020.

The disposal form with proper instructions can be found under Forms & Resources on the Facility Services web-page. Read the Glass Disposal Container Form in its entirety before using a blue and white glass box

Most discarded and empty glassware should be placed into the Glass Disposal Container.

DO NOT put the following items into a Glass Disposal Container:

  • Intact, empty chemical containers greater than 2 liters
    • To dispose of empty chemical containers >2 liters: affix an "Empty" label to the bottle, then place in the hallway)
  • Pasteur pipettes - (put in EHS sharps containers)
  • glassware that is contaminated with a potentially infectious material - (put in EHS sharps containers)
  • Any empty chemical containers that held an acutely hazardous chemical​ - (dispose of as chemical waste, following EHS procedures)
  • any unbroken and usable glassware listed in the MOU - (carefully break the glassware to render it unusable or call EHS at (512) 471-3511 for pick-up)

Empty Containers

Disposal procedures for empty containers depends on the previous contents and the efficiency of emptying them. Containers of pourable contents must be completely emptied. Containers of thick or solidified materials must be scraped out or drained until no more material can be reasonably removed. This must be less than one inch of material remains in the bottom of the container or no more than 3% of the original weight of the contents remains, whichever is less.

Chemical containers that meet these criteria are considered empty and may be disposed of by placing the container in the hallway, next to the lab door after 5:00 p.m., given the following provisions:

  • If the container labels are made unreadable by: Defacing the label to affixing an "Empty" sticker over the previous label (stickers are available from EHS),
  • if the container cap is removed and discarded in the normal trash,
  • if the sole active ingredient of the previous contents was not acutely hazardous. Refer to the P- List of Chemicals, and
  • The chemical does not produce an offensive or nuisance odor. Examples include but are not limited to thiols, amines, and mercaptans.

Note: 30 or 55 gallon drums must submitted to EHS – HMM for disposal.

If containers are not or cannot be emptied or if they contained acutely hazardous waste, submit them to EHS – HMM as waste in accordance with the procedures described in Chemical Waste. You may also utilize a used container to accumulate waste for pick up if the waste is compatible with the residue in the container, the label is defaced, and the container is in good condition and not leaking.

Containers that held compressed gases and are owned by the University are to be picked up intact by EHS. Empty cylinders should be tagged in the same manner as other waste, with the previous contents listed and the notation (EMPTY) on both the tag and the RFD.

Other Waste Streams

Computer Disposal

When departments retire computer equipment it is transferred to Surplus Property. As required of state agencies by SB1105, computers and monitors are transferred from Surplus Property to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for recycling. The recycling and disposal of computers and monitors is described in the TDCJ Computer Recovery Operation.

Fluorescent Light Ballast (FLB)

There are two types of FLB, those containing PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) and those that do not contain PCBs. These should be segregated to minimize disposal costs at the point of generation and managed following the Chemical Waste Management guidance. All FLBs must be submitted for disposal through EHS using the Procedures for Removal of Chemical Waste.

The following criteria are provided to help identify FLBs that may contain PCBs:

  • FLBs manufactured before July 1, 1979, may contain PCBs
  • FLBs manufactured between July 1, 1979, and July 1, 1998, that do not contain PCBs must be labeled "No PCBs"
  • If an FLB is not labeled "No PCBs," it is best to assume it contains PCBs unless it is known to be manufactured after 1979
  • FLBs manufactured after 1998 are not required to be labeled

X-ray, Photo Processing, and Microfiche Film

The used film is collected and sent to a film recycler for reclamation of the silver contained on the film. Because of its high silver content, film should not be placed into the trash. The silver recovered from the film is reused. All silver containing films must be submitted for disposal through EHS using the Procedures for Removal of Chemical Waste.

Film Fixer Reclamation

Spent fixer from the development of film contains silver that can be reclaimed and recycled. This is done by either collecting the fixer in a container for transportation to a recycling facility or by placing silver filtration devices on the fixer outflow piping leading from the film developing equipment. Because of the high silver content of spent fixer solution, this material should not be discharged to the sanitary sewer without silver recovery filtration. If spent fixer is washed down the sink drain, its toxicity can adversely impact wastewater treatment operations and can contaminate rivers and lakes. All silver containing fixers must be submitted for disposal through EHS using the Procedures for Removal of Chemical Waste.

Lead and Silver Solder Recycling

The best way to manage lead or silver solder is to use it up completely so there is none left to throw away. Small unusable pieces of solder and droplets of solder can be recycled for their lead or silver content. The lead and silver solder can contribute to ground water contamination at landfills if the material is placed into the trash for disposal. All lead containing solder must be submitted for disposal through EHS using the Procedures for Removal of Chemical Waste.