Hazardous Waste Disposal Guide

Hazardous waste that is no longer used for its original purpose should be disposed of under the BC hazardous waste regulations due to its quantity, concentration, physical, chemical, or infectious characteristics.

Special disposal techniques to eliminate or reduce the hazard are required. The disposal and transportation of hazardous waste are governed by the BC Hazardous Waste Regulation , the federal Transportation of Dangerous Goods (TDG) Regulations, as well as UBC Policy #7 (Occupational and Research Health and Safety).

Hazardous Waste Disposal Guide

How does one access the chemical waste inventory system?

On campus Chemical Waste Inventory System access Off campus Chemical Waste Inventory System access

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What are the general guidelines for the disposal of hazardous waste

All UBC researchers, as users and generators of hazardous waste are personally responsible to ensure that compliance is met and must follow these general waste disposal guidelines:

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How does one dispose of chemical waste?

Chemical waste comprises of unused chemicals (toxic, corrosive, flammable, oxidizing and reactive), in their original containers or mixtures of chemicals and byproducts generated from experiments. Disposal requirements are:

  • Chemical waste generated at UBC must go through an online approval process, using the Chemical Waste Inventory System (CWIS).
  • This approval process ensures compliance with the federal, provincial and municipal bylaws, regulations and policies and guides the disposal of hazardous waste.
  • All hazardous waste generators must complete the Chemical Safety Training before using the CWIS

Disposal process

  • Create a CWIS user account if you are the person designated to dispose of waste in your lab. RMS recommends 1-2 users per lab, not including the PI
  • Dispose of non-hazardous chemicals via the normal trash or sewer; check if your chemicals are included in the lists below
  • Follow the chemical waste disposal procedure
  • Enter all hazardous chemicals into the online CWIS; provide detailed, accurate and complete chemical waste information
  • Wait for approval and then package waste according to instructions (Point Grey campus only)
  • Take approved and properly packed waste to the designated waste accumulation areas in your building or department
  • Contact your facility managers or supervisors to find out where these locked areas are located and/or obtain keys
  • Off-campus research facilities must use the off-campus CWIS and request direct pick up of all hazardous waste by an external contractor

Unacceptable waste streams

  • Unknown 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
  • Please contact Valeriy Kichenko to make special arrangements for direct pick-up

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How does one dispose of non-hazardous chemical waste?

Some chemicals can be safely disposed of down the drain or in normal garbage bins. When safe and allowed by regulation, disposal of non-hazardous laboratory waste via the normal trash or sewer can substantially reduce disposal costs. This kind of lab waste segregation makes economic and environmental sense.

Non-hazardous wastes often mistakenly considered hazardous include certain salts (e.g., potassium chloride and sodium carbonate), many natural products (e.g., sugars and amino acids), and inert materials (e.g., non-contaminated chromatography resins and gels).

Waste that is not regulated because it does not exhibit any of the hazardous characteristics (ignitability, corrosivity, reactivity, or toxicity) as defined by BC Hazardous Waste Regulations, 2009, and is not restricted or prohibited by the Metro Vancouver Sewer Use Bylaw 299 or Metro Vancouver Landfill Banned & Prohibited Materials can be disposed of via the normal trash or sewer with caution. Non-contaminated materials which are not controlled by WHMIS or other regulations, and with NFPA Regulations designation and in all related hazards of 0 or 1 can be disposed of safely via the normal trash or sewer.

Safe to dispose down the drain

Safe to throw out with your garbage

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What are UBC hazardous waste tags & generator barcodes and how can one obtain them?

For repeated waste streams such as: biological waste, solvents, oils, and non-regulated contaminated 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 compliance purposes. Without the barcode sticker affixed to the tag, ESF may refuse collection and disposal of hazardous waste. To register as a UBC ‘hazardous waste generator’ and receive barcode stickers, tags, or waste containers, please contact Kenneth Cheng (604-827-5389).

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How does one dispose of biological waste?

Biological waste includes biohazards, sharps, human blood/fluids, and pathological waste, and do not need to be pre-approved for disposal via CWIS. The different waste streams under this categories have special treatment, packaging and labeling requirements depending on the specific waste stream. Each package must be accompanied by a biological waste disposal tag and a generator barcode. Refer to the relevant hazardous waste disposal procedures.

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How does one dispose of solvent, photographic & contaminated solid waste?

These waste streams do not need to be pre-approved for disposal via the CWIS. Each of them has specific packaging requirements, and must be accompanied by a special tag as well as a generator barcode. Refer to the relevant hazardous waste disposal procedures.

Solvent Waste

Includes various types of flammable organic solvents, is collected in specially provided UBC 5L jerry cans, and uses a blue solvent waste tag. Halogenated and non-halogenated waste must be segregated for accumulation and disposal. Follow the detailed Organic Solvent Waste Disposal procedure.

Photographic Waste

Includes fixer and developer which must be segregated and accumulated for disposal in 20L jerry cans, accompanied by a purple photochemical waste tag. Follow the Photographic Waste Disposal procedure.

Non-Regulated Contaminated Solid Waste

Includes lab solid waste contaminated with traces of  chemicals (e.g. ethidum bromide, silica gel contaminated with solvents, etc). This waste must be accompanied by a yellow tag. Follow the Non-Regulated Contaminated Solid Waste Disposal procedure.

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What hazardous wastes does ESF recycle?

Certain hazardous wastes are either collected for recycling or treated at the Environmental Services Facility (ESF). Solid waste recycling is available through Building Operations. Refer to the A-Z Recyclepedia for a listing of everything that can be recycled on campus.

Large Batteries Recycling

Every year millions of batteries make their way into normal landfills. When batteries are not properly disposed of, the casing can disintegrate. The heavy metals and toxic chemicals within can leach into the surrounding environment, contaminating the soil and polluting the waterways. Large automotive lead-acid batteries and uninterruptible power source (UPS) batteries are collected at ESF and recycled through Metalex Recycling. Household batteries (weighing less than 5 kg each) are recycled directly via Call2Recycle, the official, charge-free battery stewardship program in British Columbia. Refer to detailed disposal of waste batteries procedure for additional information.

Oil Recycling

Oil waste includes automotive lubricating, cutting, gear, hydraulic, refined petroleum based oil, synthetic, emulsion, crude, vacuum pump oil, flourinated oil, etc. Waste oils must not be contaminated with water, solvents, toxic materials, or poly-chlorinated biphenyls (PCB’s); refer to detailed disposal of waste oil procedure for additional information. Uncontaminated waste oil is sent for recycling via GFL Environmental.

Paint Recycling

Surplus paint (non-industrial) is collected and consolidated by ESF for recycling through Product Care. This includes solvent based, latex, and acrylic paint, in containers or aerosol form. Paint must be dropped off at ESF.  For more information refer to the detailed disposal of waste paint procedure.

Silver Recovery

Photographic waste containing greater than 1 ppm of silver is considered hazardous waste and prohibited from entering the sewer system by Metro Vancouver’s Sewer Use Bylaw. Silver is very toxic to aquatic environments. In order to comply with the sewer bylaw, silver is recovered at ESF by running the fixer through an ion exchange column. The recovered silver is reused by a silver refinery, and the corrosive liquid is neutralized before disposal. For more information refer to the detailed disposal of photographic waste procedure.

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Are there any videos on Hazardous Waste Disposal?

There are videos that show practical aspects of hazardous waste disposal and these can be viewed under environmental training.

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