Arrangements for specific types of hazardous waste
An alphabetical (A-Z) list of hazardous waste with specific details on how to dispose of each type
The following provides information on the disposal of different materials. Materials hazardous for disposal should be disposed of through the Safety Office.
Further guidance on hazardous waste is available from the Safety Office and related information on recycling different types of materials can be found on the University's Sustainability pages.
Aerosol spray cans and resealable gas cartridges
(eg screw threaded Camping Gaz, Coleman, or Primus), whether part full or empty: use disposal form TW 2/10. Non-resealable cartridges (e.g. pierceable Camping Gaz), which have been punctured and are therefore no longer under pressure when empty, are not hazardous for waste disposal and may be recycled as metal waste.
Small amounts of asbestos waste (which must be double-wrapped and sealed in heavy gauge polythene, minimum 400 gauge) or equipment containing asbestos (eg solvent cabinets and ovens): use disposal form HE 3/10.
Large quantities of asbestos, for example from building work, will require the services of a licensed asbestos contractor and arrangements must be made through either the University Estates Services or the University Safety Office.
Although not all batteries are hazardous for disposal, using the Safety Office’s service will ensure they are correctly disposed of or recycled. Batteries of all types, including disposable and rechargeable batteries (eg alkaline, lithium, Ni-Cd, NiMH), lead acid non-spillable batteries (eg from UPSs) and lead acid wet batteries (e.g. from University vehicles): use disposal form TW 2/10. Most wet batteries are corrosive and are transported as dangerous goods, so must be correctly identified for disposal. Some dry sealed batteries are also classed as dangerous goods (Ni-Cd batteries, batteries containing sodium or lithium, and lithium ion batteries) and these must be collected separately for disposal. The terminals of lead acid and lithium batteries must be covered to avoid possible short circuits.
For further information, please see the guidance below:
- Batteries [PDF]
- Batteries Label Template [PDF]
- Batteries Lithium Emergency [PDF]
- Batteries TW210 Example Form [PDF]
- For information on disposing of used printer/toner cartridges (including whether they need to be disposed of as hazardous waste or not) please refer to the following Materials Disposal Information Note MDIN Cartridges
- Chemical waste
To arrange for the disposal of chemicals use disposal form TW 2/10 and notify the University Safety Office by e-mail. Entries must identify the primary hazard of each substance in the event of an accident or emergency during road transport (eg if a substance is both harmful and flammable, the primary hazard for road transport is usually its flammability). Incorrectly completed disposal forms will be returned to the sender and will result in delays in waste disposal.
Hazard information can be obtained from the orange warning symbols or Globally Harmonized System (GHS) pictograms on the container, CHIP risk and safety phrases, GHS hazard and precautionary statements, material safety data sheets (MSDS), or from the internet (eg a supplier’s website). Note that chemical labelling and safety data sheets for new stocks will continue to change over the next few years as a result of the introduction of the GHS for classifying and labelling chemicals (see Appendix 3 for further details of GHS).
Chemically contaminated material from laboratories (eg glass, plastic, disposable gloves)
If this material cannot be cleaned, but contains only minimal amounts of residual material it is unlikely to be defined as hazardous for disposal: that will be determined by the proportion of hazardous material to non-hazardous material present (the threshold level). The threshold level varies from 0.1% to 25% w/w depending on the hazardous property of the substance present. As this type of waste is likely to contain mixtures of substances, it is easier to use the worst case, lower threshold, figure to assess whether it may be hazardous.
Where glass or plastic tubes, pipettes, or pipette tips have been emptied then the threshold level is very unlikely to be exceeded and this material may be disposed of as non-hazardous waste. The Safety Office should be consulted if it is suspected that the threshold level will be exceeded.
See also sections 4(h) and 11.
Unused or partially used cleaning products displaying a hazard warning pictogram: use disposal form TW 2/10.
Empty plastic containers that have not contained oil or pesticides may be disposed of in the non-hazardous (black bag) waste stream provided they have been thoroughly rinsed and any warning labels removed. For empty oil and pesticide containers, use disposal form TW 2/10.
All computer monitors and any equipment containing cathode ray tubes (eg televisions, oscilloscopes): use disposal form HE 3/10.
The disposal of other computer items is outside of the scope of this policy, but please read the University’s policy on computer disposal to get more information. Note that computer equipment falls within the scope of the WEEE Regulations, so see also Appendix 5 of the University Policy Statement S5/11.
For information on the disposing of empty containers or packaging (including whether they need to be disposed of as hazardous waste or not) please refer to the Materials Disposal Information Note MDIN Disposal of containers and packaging
- Electrical waste (WEEE)
- Electrical waste otherwise known as WEEE must be segregated from other waste streams and disposed of separately. Some electrical waste may also be hazardous for disposal.
- Electrical take back schemes may be available to support disposal. TDIN Electrical take back schemes [PDF]
For information on disposing of empty containers or packaging (including whether they need to be disposed of as hazardous waste or not) please refer to the Materials Disposal Information Note MDIN Disposal of containers and packaging
- Fluorescent tubes and other gas discharge lamps (GDLs)
- Gas discharge lamps are hazardous for disposal. Lamps - gas discharge [PDF]
- Use disposal form TW 2/10.
- Filament Lamps/bulbs are not hazardous or categorised as electrical for disposal. Please see the Material Disposal Information Note on Lamps - Filaments (halogen and incandescent) [PDF]
- Fridges and Freezers are hazardous for disposal due to the presence of hazardous parts including chlorofluorocarbon gasses (CFCs). Please see the Material Disposal Information Note on Fridges & Freezers [PDF]
- Gas cylinders
Gas cylinders should be returned to the supplier wherever possible. Unidentified gas cylinders cannot be accepted for disposal as there is no commercial disposal route, and their contents will need to be identified at the department’s expense. For all other cylinder disposals: use disposal form TW 2/10.
- Gas discharge lamps (GDLs)
See Fluorescent tubes and other gas discharge lamps (GDLs)
- Lamps, lights and lightbulbs
There are many different types of lamps or lighting and different types require different disposal routes.
- See Filament
- See Fluorescent and other Gas discharge lamps (GDL)
- See LED
- LED (Light Emitting Diode)
Gas discharge lamps are hazardous for disposal. Lamps - LED [PDF]
- Mercury-containing equipment (other than GDLs)
This includes thermometers, manometers, electrical switches, and some printed circuit boards. Items should be packed in robust containers that will not allow any spilled mercury to escape: use disposal form TW 2/10.
- Oils and oil-contaminated materials (except edible oils)
Use disposal form TW 2/10. Cutting oils should not be mixed with other oils. Contaminated rags should be bagged and those containing swarf must be bagged separately.
- For information on disposing of empty containers or packaging (including whether they need to be disposed of as hazardous waste or not) please refer to the Materials Disposal Information Note MDIN Disposal of containers and packaging
- Paints and varnishes
- Solvent based paints and varnishes are hazardous for disposal.
- Water based paints and varnishes are not hazardous for disposal. For disposal of non-hazardous waster based paints and varnishes refer to the information notes below.
- Phenol and phenol-contaminated wastes
Contact with phenol wastes should be minimized and no attempt should be made to empty small quantities from Eppendorf tubes etc into larger containers. Instead, suitable leak-proof containers (ie designed to hold liquids, not solids) should be chosen, into which phenol solutions complete with contaminated glass – or plastic-ware can be placed: use disposal form TW 2/10.
- Photographic and imaging wastes
Photographic waste must not be discharged to drains but should be collected and disposed of as hazardous waste: use disposal form TW 2/10.
Plasterboard is not hazardous for disposal (unless it is contaminated with materials that make it hazardous for disposal). However, there are additional requirements which need to be followed when disposing of Plasterboard. Please see the guidance below:
- Print/Toner cartridges
For information on disposing of used printer/toner cartridges (including whether they need to be disposed of as hazardous waste or not) please refer to the following Materials Disposal Information Note MDIN Cartridges
- Refrigerated equipment
Equipment containing refrigerant (eg fridges, freezers, incubators, centrifuges) is defined as hazardous WEEE. To arrange its collection, use disposal form HE 3/10, see the Material Disposal Information Note for Fridges and Freezers [PDF] for further specific information.
- Sharps and syringe bodies
The University has specific waste disposal arrangements for all sharps (eg scalpel blades, razor blades, or syringe needles) and all syringe bodies. To avoid the risk of injury, syringes and needles must be disposed of as a single unit: needles must not be removed from syringe bodies and they must not be resheathed.
All sharps and syringe bodies must be disposed of in sharps bins. They must not be disposed of by other means (eg in black bag waste, Dispo jars, other containers, or glass waste) even if they are unused.
In the case of contaminated sharps there are different disposal routes according to the nature of the contamination:
• if you will be generating sharps and/or syringe bodies contaminated with biological/clinical material, then you must follow the provisions of University Policy on the Disposal of Biological/Clinical Waste S8/08. This is a restricted document and is not available on the web, but your departmental, biological, area or divisional safety officer should have a copy.
1. all sharp items must be placed in a sharps container for disposal. Sharps and sharps containers must never be disposed of in plastic sacks
2. particular care should be taken to ensure that sharps containers are properly assembled before being sent for disposal, to avoid spillage of the contents
3. where feasible, sharps bins that may contain infectious or genetically-modified micro-organisms should be autoclaved prior to disposal
4. all sharps bins used for non-infectious biological/clinical material must have orange lids
5. all sharps bins used for infectious biological/clinical material must have yellow lids
6. sharps bins with purple lids may not be used unless the sharps are contaminated with cytotoxic material
• if you will be generating sharps and/or syringe bodies contaminated with radioactive material then you must contact the University Radiation Protection Officer in advance, in order to agree suitable disposal arrangements for the sharps bins
• if you will be generating sharps and/or syringe bodies contaminated with chemicals then you must contact your Divisional/Area Safety Officer or the Safety Office’s Hazardous Waste Technical Officer in advance, in order to agree suitable disposal arrangements for the sharps bins
• if you will be generating sharps and/or syringe bodies that contain more than one of the above hazards (radioactive, biological/clinical, chemical) you must contact the Safety Office before starting work
- Unknowns/unidentified materials
Hazardous waste disposal contractors will not accept unidentified chemicals or gas cylinders. Departments should take care to avoid the deterioration of labels or containers in storage, as this is the most common reason for materials becoming unidentifiable. Unknown materials will need to be identified at the department’s expense before the Safety Office can accept them for disposal. Please refer to TDIN Guidance on identifying unknown substances found at Further guidance related to waste hazardous for disposal. If you need further advice, please contact the Safety Office.
Departments should take care to avoid the deterioration of labels or containers in storage