Millipore Sigma Vibrant Logo
Attention: We have moved. Merck Millipore products are no longer available for purchase on More

Collection of Laboratory Waste

Laboratory waste should be collected for disposal in separate containers according to the type of chemical involved. The containers can, for example, be labelled according to the schedule described below and labelled with the letters A-K. In doing so, it must be ensured that the chemicals collected in any one category cannot react with each other. At least a check should be made for acid and base content. Many disposal companies require a neutral solution to be provided.

A Halogen-free organic solvents and organic substances in solution.
B Halogen-containing organic solvents and organic substances in solution. Attention: Do not use aluminium containers!
C Solid residues of organic laboratory chemicals.
D Salts in solution; the contents of such containers should be adjusted to pH 6-8.
E Toxic inorganic residues and salts of heavy metals and solutions.
F Toxic flammable compounds.
G Mercury and inorganic mercury salt residues.
H Metallic-salt residues; each metal should be collected separately.
I Inorganic solids.
K Separate collection of glass, metal, and plastic waste materials.

The collecting vessels should be clearly labelled with the contents and provided with hazard symbols and safety phrases. Please note that double labelling may be necessary, e.g. if flammable liquids are collected in aqueous solutions of category D, if organic solutions react caustically, if bases and acids are contained or if poisons are collected in categories other than E and F.

Special labels and statutory hazard symbols are listed in the catalog under "Laboratory equipment, accessories, and safety products".

Of course, other categories may be designated if:

  • This is meaningful
  • Adequate space is available
  • The total volume allowed to be stored is not exceeded.

Thus, it is recommended that those substances hazardous to health as well as irritating and poisonous substances be collected together; however, two containers - one for substances that are hazardous to health and the other for poisonous substances - may be used.

Chemicals in Closed Containers:

Collect: Remove and treat only in exceptional cases. Apply the principle of minimum personal safety risk!

Chemicals in Loose Quantities:

Treat: if spontaneously flammable, oxidizing, or reactive with water or other substances. To prevent uncontrolled reactions, it is in principle recommended to pack waste chemicals individually (plastic bags or containers) before placing them in collecting vessels! Special caution should be taken with explosive substances, which should be disposed of separately only in phlegmatized form

Container for Organic Solvents:

In order to enable laboratory waste to be disposed of properly and to minimise the effect on laboratory routines, collection containers designated for waste materials must be:

  • Able to cope with the chemicals involved
  • Unbreakable
  • Leakproof and gas-tight
  • In possession of a UN certificate for transport if they are to be transported on public roads.

In addition, the following points should be taken into account:

  • The containers should be located in a well-ventilated place
  • The containers should be kept closed to prevent evaporation of harmful vapours
  • Select containers of a size that will prevent the waste being kept too long at the place of storage. This also minimises the risk of leakage.

A selection of UN-approved containers is listed in the catalog under "Laboratory equipment, accessories, and safety products".

Based on experience of the routines of many laboratories, the following containers can be recommended:

  • Container for liquid organic waste, for aqueous and contaminated waste, acids and bases:
    Combi-container, 10 l with PE inliner, Ord. No. 9.43442.1013 or PE container, Ord. No. 9.54528.1010.
  • Container for solid chemical waste: 
    Such waste should whenever possible be collected in containers made of the same material - glass, metal, plastic - as the original product container.


Learn More