Hazardous Materials and Waste Disposal

For information on these programs or for hazardous waste pick-up and disposal, contact the Environmental Health and Safety Office at 408-924-2152 or email David Griffith at david.griffith@sjsu.edu

Hazardous Materials

Hazardous materials are substances that exhibit at least one of four characteristics (corrosivity, ignitability, reactivity, toxicity) or specifically listed as hazardous material by the Federal EPA, California EPA, or the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) which have all established minimum requirements for the use, handling and storage of hazardous materials in all places of employment. Hazardous material from the university's operations, including laboratories, must be managed according to the procedures of the Hazardous Materials Management manual.

Hazardous Waste

Because of potential risk from harmful exposure, hazardous waste is regulated by both federal and state law. All hazardous waste must immediately be properly identified with an SJSU Hazardous Waste Label [pdf]. At a minimum, the label must include: the words "Hazardous Waste", Accumulation Start Date, SJSU name and address (One Washington Square), Chemical Composition and Physical State, and Hazardous Properties. Write a Full Date on the label once a container is full. SJSU has one (1) year from the Accumulation Start Date to dispose. Pickup should be coordinated at the latest around nine (9) months to ensure adequate time to dispose. Containers used to accumulate hazardous waste must be: Compatible with the material being placed inside, in good condition with properly sealing closures, not compromised in any way, appropriately-sized , and must be placed inside secondary containment.

For more information such as definitions, handling, and disposal options on common waste types found in SJSU laboratories and other chemical use areas, please see the Waste Disposal Guide for SJSU Laboratories [pdf].

Laboratory Waste

The university is under state and federal regulations to minimize the amount of hazardous waste generated by the campus. Laboratories are a common place where hazardous materials and waste are found. Understanding more about Laboratory Chemical Management for Waste Reduction will help in complying with these regulations.

Medical/Bio-Hazardous Waste

SJSU is registered as a medical waste generator with the Santa Clara County Department of Environmental Health. Consistent with regulations, SJSU has a medical waste management plan in compliance with the Medical Waste Management Act of 1990, as defined by Division 20, Chapter 6.1 of the California Health and Safety Code. Medical waste may include animal carccases, cultures and stocks, human blood, blood products, tissues, cell lines and bodily fluids, recombinant DNA, infectious agents, and sharps. They are commonly packaged in red bags and sharps containers for transport and disposal. Contact the Environmental Compliance Specialist at FD&O for more information regarding what constitutes medical / bio-hazardous waste, or the Santa Clara County website on Medical Waste.

Universal Waste

The Environmental Compliance Specialist coordinates the safe reycling of all universal wastes. Those items include used batteries (lithium, mercuric oxide, nickel cadmium, silver oxide, lead acid, alkaline), used lamps (fluorescent tubes, high intensity discharge-HID, high pressure sodium, incandescent, LED, mercury vapor, metal halide, neon, ultraviolet), non-PCB (polychlorinated biphenyl) and PCB light ballasts (hazardous waste), computers/monitors, and electrical/electronic equipment. Contact the Hazardous Materials Specialist for information on disposing Universal Waste, or check the DTSC Universal Waste Website.

Chemical Labels - GHS/NFPA/HMIS

Labels on chemical or product containers are an important part of SJSU's Hazard Communication Program. Globally Harmonized System (GHS) is the preferred system of classification and labelling at SJSU. Together with Safety Data Sheets (SDS, formerly MSDS), chemical labels provide employees with the information needed to work safely, including information regarding the protective equipment that should be used and the procedures that should be followed. These labels indicate a chemical's identity, the manufacturer, chemical hazard information, and human/environmental protective information. Additional information is available about the various kinds of chemical labels commonly used on the job and safety information regarding the chemical.

Pollution Prevention

SJSU is committed to the protection of human health and the environment. Campus users must determine if the use of a particular hazardous chemical or product can be avoided altogether. If not, can it be substitued with a less hazardous alternative? If not, can the process utilizing the chemical or product be alterred to reduce the volume and toxicity of the waste the process produces? Reducing volumes and toxicity likely results in reduced disposal costs and improves worker safety by reducing worker exposure risks. When hazardous chemical or products must be used, SJSU aims to reduce disposal quantities through alternative disposal methods, such as recycling. Examples of materials that are managed by recycling on campus include lead, mercury devices (thermometers, monometers, baromoeters), and silver-containing films. These items are diverted from disposal via recycling and will ultimately be reused in new products. 

Safety Data Sheet

The Safety Data Sheet (SDS) provides a range of information about the hazards and safe use of a specific chemical or mixture of chemicals. Chemical manufacturers provide a copy of the SDS for the chemical at the time of purchase. The Safety and Risk Services unit can assist in providing information on How to read and understand an SDS. In addition, employees can obtain a copy of the SDS from the manufacturer or retrieve one online at MSD Online HQ.

Toxic Gases

Toxic gas cylinders (lecture gas bottles/cylinders) storage, usage, handling and disposal should meet all Toxic Gas Ordinance and corresponding CFC requirements. Cylinders are stored when not in use. Please inform Environmental Health & Safety before any toxic gas is purchased. Information on exempted quantities and the list of toxic gases is available from Environmental Health and Safety or the DTSC Poisonous Gas  List [pdf].

Waste Minimization

Useful but no longer wanted chemicals and consumer products contained in uncompromised containers with legible labeling should be considered for reuse prior to disposal as waste off campus. First, check with your SJSU neighbors, department heads, and the SJSU Environmental Resource Center (ERC) to see if anyone can use the unwanted materials. If a new home cannot be identified, contact Environmental Health and Safety to report that the chemicals and consumer products are available for reuse. Please provide the quantity, manufacturer name, product type, product number, and any relevant information you can provide.

Waste-Producing Operations

Faculty, Staff, and Administrators must anticipate and prepare for the proper management of all hazardous waste generated from the campus activities they perform or oversee. Nearly all uses of hazardous materials generate hazardous waste. Even the use of non-hazardous materials may result in the generation of hazardous waste. Plans must be in place to account for hazardous waste generation and proper training must be provided to all people creating or managing hazardous waste. Department Administrators and EHS can assist with the devlopment of a process-specific plan to ensure compliance with applicable safety and regulatory rules and regulations.