Hazardous Waste

The following sections are below:
• Chemical ordering and barcoding
• Chemical storage: Segregation and secondary containment
• Chemical waste disposal
• Biohazardous waste disposal

Chemical Ordering and Barcoding

  • All chemical orders in the College of Science for San Jose campus must be delivered to the CoS Safety Team. When ordering chemicals, give the following shipping address: 

Attn: PI’s name, DH 435 
129 S. 10th Street
San Jose, CA 95112-3619 

The CoS Safety Team barcodes all chemicals that are received and delivers them to research laboratories. When a chemical container is empty, remove the barcoded label from the container and place it on the laminated sheet in the chemical container collection bucket, which is provided by the CoS Safety Team to each laboratory. Then place the empty chemical container in the bucket. If you accidentally receive any chemicals directly, please contact the CoS Safety Team so that they can pick up the chemical to barcode it and return it to you.

Chemical Storage: Segregation and Secondary Containment

  • Generally, separate liquids from solids.
  • Use the following Compatibility Rules:
    1. Separate acidic chemicals from basic chemicals according to pH.
    2. Separate oxidizers from organic chemicals and inorganic reducing agents. (Remember the Fire Triangle).
    3. Separate water reactive chemicals from aqueous solutions.
    4. Separate chemicals with multiple hazards from all other chemicals.
  • Keep all liquid chemicals in secondary containment when not in use.  Contact the CoS Safety Office if you need containers for secondary containment.
  • When transporting chemicals from one room to another, use a chemical safety bucket or cart with a secondary containment tray for liquids.
  • When a chemical is poured from a primary container into a secondary container (e.g. a smaller bottle, flask or tube), the secondary container must be properly labeled with the chemical’s full name without abbreviations.

Chemical Storage: Segregation and Secondary Containment

  • Chemical Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs): Use of chemicals in several hazard classes requires the development and use of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), as per the SJSU Chemical Hygiene Plan [pdf]. Chemical SOPs include information about the proper disposal of different types of chemical waste.  Chemical SOPs are required for all research laboratories as of December 31, 2021, and for all teaching laboratories in the College of Science for the spring semester of 2022. Chemical SOPs should be submitted to the CoS Safety Office to review for completion.  Chemical SOP acknowledgement signature pages must be submitted to the CoS Safety Team via their Google form before chemicals are used in a research or teaching laboratory.

SOPs must be developed for procedures that involve the following:
• pyrophorics, 
• hydrofluoric acid, 
• carcinogens, 
• reproductive toxins, and 
• acute toxins with a high degree of toxicity (e.g., poisons).  

EH&S has developed a Guidance Document [pdf] for developing chemical SOPs that includes links to a list of many chemicals in each of these hazard classes, and information about how to properly dispose of different types of chemicals.  

A single SOP for each hazard class in a teaching or research laboratory is sufficient.  Template documents for SOPs for each of these groups of chemicals, and more information on chemical SOPs is available in the “Chemical & Laboratory Safety” section of the Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) Lab Safety webpage.

If you would like additional guidance in developing an SOP, please contact Randy Kirchner, Kitty Nguyen or Mike Walsh in the CoS Safety Office.  All students and laboratory personnel in research laboratories must be trained on the SOPs and acknowledge this using a signature page (see CoS Teaching and Research Laboratory Safety Training page for more information).  

  • Management of hazardous waste stream: Chemical waste should be collected in containers with appropriate chemical waste labels that are supplied by the CoS Safety Team. When a chemical waste container is ready to be picked up, email Randy Kirchner, Kitty Nguyen or Mike Walsh and they will arrange a time to collect the waste and leave you with a new empty waste container.

The following information is required on all chemical waste labels:

    • Generator Information: leave the “Department's container ID number” blank (will be filled in by the CoS Safety Office upon removal), the name of a contact person, a phone number for that person, the location of the waste, and the accumulation start date. The accumulation start date is critical for disposal and should be added when waste is first added to the container.
    • General Description/Contents: specific full chemical name(s) without abbreviations, concentration, and approximate percentage (if part of a mixture).
    • Physical State:, i.e. liquid or solid.
    • pH number (if known and/or applicable).
    • Physical Properties which might help characterize the waste, e.g. flammable, corrosive, toxic, etc. 

Biohazardous Waste Disposal

  • CoS Biohazardous Waste Disposal Protocol:
    • SJSU research laboratories must provide their own biohazardous waste containers for solid waste. Research laboratories must have a large, rigid, leak-proof container with a tight-fitting lid, and 4 sides and the top must be labelled with a biohazard symbol, (more information and stickers are available from the CoS Safety Office). Small items, such as microcentrifuge tubes and pipette tips that are contaminated with biohazardous materials can be placed in small, rigid containers with tight-fitting lids, and 4 sides and the top must be labelled with a biohazard symbol. (These can be requested from the CoS Safety Office). 
    • Teaching and research laboratories must have biohazard bins lined with a red biohazard bag.  A non-red autoclave bag must be placed inside the red biohazard bag within its container.  Information on which non-red autoclave bags meet regulations can be obtained from the CoS Safety Office).
    • Before disposal, the non-red autoclave bag from the teaching or research lab must be tied. It can either be moved from the teaching or research lab container directly into the red biohazard bag in the rolling container from the Microbiology Service Center (MSC, Duncan Hall room 637) and taken to the MSC.  Or the tied non-red autoclave bag can be transported to the MSC in a sealed and labeled biohazard container lined with a red biohazard bag from the teaching or research lab on a cart.
    • At the MSC, the non-red autoclave bag must be moved to the appropriate red biohazard bag-lined MSC non-rolling bin.  The rolling bins must remain empty when not in use.
    • MSC staff must take the non-red autoclave bag out of the bin when it is to be autoclaved.  Once autoclaved, the non-red bag of waste will be disposed of with regular waste.
    • Note that it is essential that the non-red autoclave bag is ALWAYS within a red biohazard bag prior to autoclaving.
  • Biohazard decontamination materials: Appropriate decontamination materials must be available in each research laboratory, (usually bleach and/or 70% ethanol, which can be requested from the CoS Safety Team).
  • Serological pipettes and Pasteur pipettes that have contacted biohazardous materials: A tall cylinder containing DC Gold for decontamination of serological pipettes and a small metal bucket for small glass Pasteur pipettes is required if these are used in the laboratory.  Biology faculty can request the containers and DC Gold from Matt Voisinet in the MSC. Working strength (3%) DC Gold may be disposed of in the sink, however higher concentrations must be collected as hazardous waste and disposed of in properly labeled chemical waste containers provided by the CoS Safety Team.