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.

For a list of non-hazardous chemicals that are safe to throw out with your garbage, please click here.

For a list of non-hazardous chemicals that are safe to dispose down the drain, please click here.

For Frequently Asked Questions about hazardous waste disposal, please click here.

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)

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

For more detailed information on biohazardous waste treatment & disposal procedures, please click here.
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.For more detailed information on organic solvent waste disposal procedures, please click here.
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.

For more information on laboratory glass waste disposal, click here.

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 WasteFor more detailed information on aqueous waste disposal procedures, please click here.
    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.

    For more detailed information on non-regulated contaminated solid waste disposal procedures, please click here.
    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.For more detailed information on unknown laboratory chemicals disposal procedures, please click here.
    Potentially Explosive ChemicalsFor more detailed information on Potentially explosive chemicals disposal procedures, please click here.
    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).

    For more detailed information on Waste Oil disposal procedures, please click here.
    Mercury WasteBurnt out light bulbs/tubes can be brought down to CHBE Stores for recycling/disposal.

    For more detailed information on Mercury Waste disposal procedures, please click here.
    SharpsFor more detailed information on Sharps disposal procedures, please click here.
    Waste BatteriesBatteries can be brought to CHBE Stores for recycling.

    For more detailed information on Waste batteries disposal procedures, please click here.
    Laboratory EquipmentFor more detailed information on Laboratory equipment disposal procedures, please click here.
    Polychlorinated BiphenylsFor more detailed information on polychlorinated biphenyls disposal procedures, please click here.
    Propane and Butane Gas CylindersFor more detailed information on propane and butane gas cylinder disposal procedures, please click here (page 53).
    Ethidium Bromide Liquid WasteFor more detailed information on ethidium bromide liquid waste disposal procedures, please click here.
    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.

    For more detailed information on Photographic waste disposal procedures, please click here.
    Waste PaintFor more detailed information on Waste paint disposal procedures, please click here.
    Biomedical WasteFor more detailed information on Biomedical waste disposal procedures, please click here.
    Pharmaceuticals and Controlled SubstancesFor more detailed information on Pharmaceuticals and controlled substances disposal procedures, please click here.
    Non-Human Primate Pathological WasteFor more detailed information on Non-human primate pathological waste disposal procedures, please click here.
    Uncontaminated Pathological Animal WasteFor more detailed information on Uncontaminated pathological animal waste disposal procedures, please click here.
    Non-Indigenous SpeciesFor more detailed information on Non-indigenous species disposal procedures, please click here.
    Animal BeddingFor more detailed information on Animal bedding disposal procedures, please click here.

    For more information on UBC Hazardous Waste Disposal, please click here.

    Electronic waste, printer cartridges, batteries, and burnt out light bulbs/tubes can be brought down to CHBE Stores for recycling/disposal. For more information on UBC Recycling Programs, please click here.

    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
    604-822-3857
    safety@chbe.ubc.ca
    Technician, Environmental Services
    Valeriy Kichenko
    604 822-6306
    valeriy.kichenko@ubc.ca
    Technician, Environmental Services
    Bang Dang
    604-822-1285
    bang.dang@ubc.ca
    Technician, Environmental Services
    Kenneth Cheng
    604-827-5389
    kenneth.cheng@ubc.ca