Typical Laboratory Hazardous Wastes


One of the basic responsibilities of any laboratory worker at UF is to positively identify all hazardous waste being generated in the laboratory. Once hazardous wastes are identified, the lab must properly containerize, segregate, label, and store the waste until it is disposed of through EH&S. The following is a list of typical wastes common in our labs which often require management as hazardous waste.

Typical Liquid Hazardous Wastes

  • Organic synthesis liquids
  • Liquid solvent waste
  • Liquids associated with HPLC or TLC analyses
  • Sample vials containing liquids for digestion, extraction, or preservation
  • Waste liquids associated with DNA extraction and cell lysis
  • Specimen preservatives (Formalin, formaldehyde, paraformaldehyde, alcohol, etc.)
  • Photographic and X-Ray-related darkroom chemicals
  • Unused portions of laboratory reagents which are no longer needed
  • Laboratory reagents which have been left behind or abandoned by previous users of the lab

Typical Solid Hazardous Wastes

  • Gloves used to protect workers when handling hazardous chemicals
  • Absorbent or adsorbent materials used in chemical processes
  • Weighing boats or papers used with chemical reagents
  • Slides which have been used with or contaminated with hazardous chemicals
  • Paper towels, rags, vermiculite or “kitty litter” used to clean up chemical spills
  • Disposable pipette tips used to measure or transfer chemicals
  • Filters and ion exchange materials used during chemical processes
  • Electrophoresis gels containing Ethidium Bromide

While this list is not intended to be all-inclusive, it does describe many hazardous waste items found on the University of Florida’s campus in our research laboratories. Lab workers are directed to carefully read all documentation provided with new chemical reagents and to use that information when deciding whether or not the resultant waste requires management as a hazardous waste.