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Containers, Tags, & Collection

Proper containment, tagging, collection and disposal are essential to the success of the Hazardous Waste Program. The following sections discuss these areas.

Filling Containers

Hazardous waste collection containers must be in good condition, must not leak, and must be compatible with their hazardous contents. All containers must have suitable screw caps or other secure means of closure. EHSRM provides 5-gallon and 30-gallon HDPE High Density polyethylene carboys and drums that meet most of these compatibility requirements.  The carboys and drums meet DOT Shipping requirements and are UN and NA rated.

If you are reusing a container to accumulate waste, destroy the original product label. EPA regulations require that waste containers be labeled with the identity of the contents, and the words "Hazardous Waste". EHSRM provides hazardous waste I.D. tags that meet these requirements. EHSRM will add the accumulation start date when the waste is picked up from the department and transported to the CAA(s).

Never overfill hazardous waste containers. Expansion and excess weight can lead to spills and extensive environmental exposure.

  • Allow about two inches of head space in 5-gallon containers..
  • Fill closed head drums (larger than 5 gallons) to leave approximately four inches of space.

Hazardous waste containers for solids are generally rated by their weight capacity and volume capacity. Take care not to exceed the weight capacity of a solid container. Weight is generally not a problem for jars and open head cans (5 gallons or less), but it can be a problem for open head drums (larger than 5 gallons). Depending on weight requirements, you may fill containers for solids within two inches of the closure.

Keep all waste collection containers closed except when adding or removing material.

Completing Tags

When a container first receives waste it is necessary to attach a waste tag.

Follow these guidelines for completing hazardous waste tags:

  • Use full chemical names or common names. Chemical formulas or abbreviations are not acceptable.
  • List all chemical components in the waste container, including water. Long lists may be continued on a second tag.
  • Indicate the approximate percent concentration of the chemicals, especially potentially explosive materials such as picric acid and nitro compounds.
  • Add the building name and room number to the tag where indicated.
  • Attach the tag to the container.

Collection and Disposal

EHSRM collects waste from generators on a weekly basis. Specific details concerning waste pickup procedures are in procedure RMS-01.03, “Hazardous and Non-hazardous Waste Pickup .”

Containers with improper caps, leaks, outside contamination, or improper labeling will not be picked up until these problems have been corrected.

Improper disposal methods for hazardous chemical waste include the following:

  • Disposal down the drain.
  • Intentional evaporation in a fume hood.
  • Disposal in the regular trash.
  • Leaving the waste in the generator's work area.

Once the waste is picked up by EHSRM it is transported to the Container Accumulation Area. The Hazardous Waste Specialist will add the proper waste code and pickup date to the label. The waste container’s information will be added to the transporter log as inventory control.

Disposing of Empty Containers

EPA and TCEQ (40CFR 264.170, and TAC 335.41(f) , TAC 335.508(2) ) regulations stipulate that empty containers must meet the following requirements:

  • Containers must not contain free liquid or solid residue.
  • Containers must be triple rinsed (place the rinsate in an approved waste container).
  • Product labels must be defaced or removed.
  • Container lids or caps must be removed.
  • Aerosol cans must be at atmospheric pressure or punctured.

Containers that do meet these requirements will be picked up for disposal by EHSRM.

May 2011
Reviewed November 2014