Office of Emergency Management | Environment, Health & Safety | Types of Waste |

Definition of a Hazardous Chemical Waste


Hazardous waste is defined as a substance that poses a hazard to human health or the environment when improperly managed. A chemical waste is considered hazardous if it is listed on a Federal or State regulations list or if it exhibits one or more of the following characteristics:

  • Ignitable: generally are liquids with a flash point below 60°C (140°F).
  • Corrosive: generally aqueous wastes with a pH of 2 or less or 12.5 or greater.
  • Reactive: are wastes that are unstable, explosive, and capable of detonation or react violently with water.
  • Toxic: a chemical that poses a hazard to health or the environment.

Determining if a waste is a hazardous waste can be difficult. Strict sewer, air emissions and landfill regulations require that hazardous waste is not drain disposed, evaporated in fume hoods or disposed of in the normal trash. It is LSCS’ position that faculty, staff, and students assume all chemicals are hazardous and must be managed through the LSCS Facilities Department. The Facilities Department can also assist in classifying waste as hazardous or non-hazardous.

Hazardous chemical waste includes:

  • Chemicals that can no longer be used for their intended use (e.g. aged or surplus inventory)
  • Mislabeled or unlabeled chemicals
  • Abandoned chemicals
  • Material in deteriorating or damaged containers
  • Residuals in chemical containers
  • Diluted solutions containing hazardous chemicals
  • Used photographic fixer and developer
  • Debris contaminated with a hazardous material (rags, paper towels, lab diapers, gloves, etc.)
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