Laboratory Glassware Disposal

General Disposal

Glassware, intact or broken, may be disposed of in the regular trash if it:

  • Is not contaminated with biological, chemical, or radioactive material;
  • Is not a sharp
  • is free of all liquids and solids; 
  • Has no emanating odor;
  • Is packaged properly. 

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Examples of laboratory glassware that may go into the regular trash include:

  • Intact or broken laboratory containers such as flasks, beakers, bottles;
  • Small glass containers, ampoules, test tubes, vials;
  • Thin-layer chromatography (TLC) plates, watchglasses

Packaging Instructions for Non-Contaminated Laboratory Glassware

  1. Place non-contaminated glassware in sturdy cardboard box lined with a plastic bag.
    • Do NOT use a bag displaying the biohazard or radiation hazard symbol.
    • Deface all reused cardboard boxes.
    • The box should not weigh more than 40 pounds. 
  2. Securely seal the box with tape.
  3. Label the box “CLEAN Lab Glass - Trash”.
  4. Place in the trash or directly into a dumpster.

Contaminated Laboratory Glassware

    Biologically contaminated glassware (broken or unbroken) is disposed of in a Sharps Disposal Container. See our Sharps page for more information. 

    Chemically contaminated glassware (broken or unbroken) that is contaminated with elemental mercury and/or a chemical listed on the Acute Discarded Waste List should be discarded through the DRS chemical waste disposal program. Laboratory glassware that is not contaminated with elemental mercury or a chemical listed on the Acute Discarded Waste List may be disposed of in the regular waste stream by following the packaging instructions outlined above. 

    Radiologically contaminated glassware (broken or unbroken) is discarded through DRS by using the following instructions:

    • Place radiologically contaminated glassware in a sturdy cardboard box lined with a plastic bag;
    • Securely seal the box with tape;
    • Label the box "Broken Glass" and immediately affix a radioactive symbol on the box;
    • Complete a Radioactive Waste Pick up Request (Radioactive waste tag required).

Last Update: 8/3/2017