Waste Disposal

The UBC Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering aims to be a good steward of the environment by following all applicable federal, provincial, and municipal environmental laws, and by fostering best environmental practices amongst our employees and students.

List of non-hazardous chemicals that are safe to throw out with your garbage

List of non-hazardous chemicals that are safe to dispose down the drain

Frequently Asked Questions about hazardous waste disposal

Type of WasteDisposal information
Chemical WasteAll chemicals for disposal must be pre-approved for disposal by an ESF Technician. Generator contact information and full chemical names (no abbreviations), must be listed through the online CHEMICAL WASTE INVENTORY SYSTEM.

For more information about chemical waste disposal, please contact: Environmental Services Technician Valeriy Kichenko (604 822-6306, valeriy.kichenko@ubc.ca)

Detailed information on chemical waste disposal procedures
Biohazardous WasteCHBE currently produces Autoclaved Risk Group 1 waste. Please bring your bag(s) of autoclaved waste to CHBE Stores, when ready.

Detailed information on biohazardous waste treatment & disposal procedures
Organic Solvent WasteIncludes various types of flammable organic solvents, is collected in a specially provided UBC Jeri cans, and uses a blue solvent waste tag. Halogenated and non- halogenated waste must be segregated for accumulation and disposal.

Empty solvent bottles should be triple rinsed and disposed of as laboratory glass waste. Note that these bottles are not accepted for recycling. Refer to the detailed procedure “Disposal of Laboratory Glass Waste” below.
Laboratory Glass WasteIn general, for the disposal of glass waste follow the steps below:

1. Decontaminate safely as required (more info below).
2. Clean completely of residues, including organic vapours and chemicals (leave bottles of organic solvents in a fume hood for at least one day, rinse other reagent bottles well with cold water)
3. Remove all bottle caps.
4. Remove or deface all labels and hazard warnings.
5. Place in Glass Waste containers (glass disposal buckets and extra thick clear plastic bags – available in CHBE Stores).
6. Once glass waste container is 3/4 full, tie bag closed, ensuring that no glass objects protrude past the top of the container.
7. Label the container indicating your building, room, and telephone number.
8. Take container to CHBE Stores, when ready

NOTE: NO sharps (e.g. needles, blades, syringes) and glass vials/jars containing chemicals or other hazardous materials can be disposed of in the glass waste containers.

More information on laboratory glass waste disposal

Chemical-Contaminated Glass Waste

Dispose of chemical contaminated glass waste through UBC Building Operations Waste Management in the appropriately labeled white 20 litre plastic buckets supplied by Building Operations Stores (604-822-5272). If it is possible to decontaminate the glass waste then this is preferred. For decontaminating:

  • Empty Solvent Containers: allow the solvent residue to evaporate out in a fume hood then rinse well with water. (i.e.: methanol, ethanol, acetone, dichloromethane, chloroform, ethyl acetate, ethyl ether, hexanes)

  • Corrosives’ Glass Containers: rinse with water and dispose of the rinse as non-hazardous waste only if the rinse has a pH of between 6 – 8. (i.e.: hydrochloric acid, sulfuric acid, phosphoric acid, nitric acid, acetic acid, ammonium hydroxide, sodium hydroxide, potassium hydroxide). If the rinse pH is outside these values, collect it and dispose of it as acidic / corrosive waste.  Contact ESF regarding hydrogen fluoride & hydrogen bromide glass waste disposal.

  • Inorganic Salt Glass Containers; rinse with water. (i.e.: potassium chloride, magnesium chloride etc.)

  • Biologicals-Contaminated Glass Waste

    Glass contaminated with biologicals must be autoclaved prior to being disposed of as hazardous waste. Separate glass waste according to Risk Group.

  • Risk Group 1 Autoclaved Glass Waste: dispose with chemically contaminated glass if chemically contaminated or if glass is a slide. If glass is not chemically contaminated or visibly dirty, autoclaved risk group 1 waste can be disposed of as clean laboratory glass.

  • Biologicals & Chemical-Contaminated Glass Waste

    Glass contaminated with both chemical and biological Risk Group 1 must be autoclaved prior to being disposed of as chemical-contaminated glass waste.
    Aqueous WasteDetailed information on aqueous waste disposal procedures
    Non-Regulated Contaminated Solid WasteIncludes lab solid waste contaminated with traces of ethidium bromide and silica gel contaminated with solvents. This waste must be accompanied by a yellow tag.

    Detailed information on non-regulated contaminated solid waste disposal procedures
    Unknown Laboratory ChemicalsUnknown chemicals, explosives & potentially explosive materials, compressed gas cylinders & lecture bottles of hazardous gases are not acceptable by the Environmental Services Facility.

    The cost of waste removal and disposal by external contractor is the generators’ and/or their department’s responsibility.

    Detailed information on unknown laboratory chemicals disposal procedures
    Potentially Explosive ChemicalsDetailed information on Potentially explosive chemicals disposal procedures
    Waste OilIncludes automotive lubricating, cutting, gear, hydraulic, refined petroleum based oil, synthetic, emulsion, crude and, vacuum pump oil. Important note: Waste oils must not be contaminated with water, solvents, toxic materials, or poly-chlorinated biphenyls (PCB’s).
    Mercury WasteBurnt out light bulbs/tubes can be brought down to CHBE Stores for recycling/disposal.

    Detailed information on Mercury Waste disposal procedures
    SharpsDetailed information on Sharps disposal procedures
    Waste BatteriesBatteries can be brought to CHBE Stores for recycling.
    Laboratory EquipmentDetailed information on Laboratory equipment disposal procedures
    Polychlorinated BiphenylsDetailed information on polychlorinated biphenyls disposal procedures
    Propane and Butane Gas CylindersDetailed information on propane and butane gas cylinder disposal procedures (page 53)
    Ethidium Bromide Liquid WasteDetailed information on ethidium bromide liquid waste disposal procedures
    Photographic WasteIncludes fixer and developer which must be segregated and accumulated for disposal in 20L Jeri cans, accompanied by photochemical tag (purple); refer to detailed manual procedure for additional information.
    Waste PaintDetailed information on Waste paint disposal procedures
    Biomedical WasteDetailed information on Biomedical waste disposal procedures
    Pharmaceuticals and Controlled SubstancesDetailed information on Pharmaceuticals and controlled substances disposal procedures
    Non-Human Primate Pathological WasteDetailed information on Non-human primate pathological waste disposal procedures
    Uncontaminated Pathological Animal WasteDetailed information on Uncontaminated pathological animal waste disposal procedures
    Non-Indigenous SpeciesDetailed information on Non-indigenous species disposal procedures
    Animal BeddingDetailed information on Animal bedding disposal procedures

    More information on UBC Hazardous Waste Disposal

    Electronic waste, printer cartridges, batteries, and burnt out light bulbs/tubes can be brought down to CHBE Stores for recycling/disposal.

    More information on UBC Recycling Programs

    What are UBC hazardous waste tags and generator barcode stickers and how do I get them?

    For repeated waste streams such as: solvents, oils, non-regulated contaminated solids, and biological waste UBC has implemented a serialized, colour-coded, tag system that identifies the type of waste and allows for specific waste package or container tracking. The barcode sticker is a self-adhesive label that must be affixed to the UBC Hazardous Waste Tags on each container of waste sent to ESF. The barcode allows ESF to identify the Hazardous Waste Generators for waste tracking and legal purposes. Without the barcode sticker affixed to the tag, ESF may refuse collection and disposal of hazardous waste. In order to register as a UBC Hazardous Waste Generator and receive barcode stickers, tags, or waste containers, contact an ESF Technician at 604-827-5389.

    Waste Disposal Contacts:

    CHBE Safety Coordinator
    Erin Hagen
    Technician, Environmental Services
    Valeriy Kichenko
    604 822-6306
    Technician, Environmental Services
    Bang Dang
    Technician, Environmental Services
    Kenneth Cheng