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. 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.
  • Is free of all liquids and solids;
  • Is packaged properly.

    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 symbol.
      • Deface all reused cardboard boxes.
      • The School of Chemical Sciences Storeroom sells pre-labeled boxes with liners for approximately $5 each (Item # 39NL2000) that can be picked up at 94 Roger Adams Lab.
    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.

    Biologically Contaminated Glassware

    Biologically contaminated glassware is disposed of in a Sharps Disposal Container. See our Sharps page for more information.

    Chemically Contaminated Glassware

    Laboratory 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. Call 217-333-2755 for more information.

    Laboratory glassware that is not contaminated with elemental mercury or a chemical listed on the Acute Discarded Waste List may be disposed of by collecting the waste glassware in a sturdy cardboard box lined with a plastic bag and labeled with the words "Laboratory Glass - Trash." The box should be securely sealed shut with tape before disposal. Any sturdy cardboard box may be used, provided that it does not weigh more than 40 pounds (18 kg) when full. Commercially available broken glassware disposal boxes may be used. The box must be free of any visible signs of chemical contamination. There should be no free liquids in the box or odor emanating from the box. Do not use a bag displaying the biohazard symbol or the radiation hazard symbol to line the cardboard box. There must be no sharps placed in the box. When full, a properly labeled and sealed box may be placed into the trash or directly into a dumpster

    Radiologically Contaminated Glassware

    Radiologically contaminated glassware (broken or unbroken) is discarded through the Division of Research Safety (DRS). Packaging and labeling instructions for pick-up are as follows:

    1. Place radiologically contaminated glassware in a sturdy cardboard box lined with a plastic bag.
    2. Securely seal the box with tape.
    3. Label the box “Broken Glass” and affix a radioactive symbol
    4. Complete a Radioactive Waste Pick Up Request (Radioactive Waste Tag required).

Last Update: 9/1/2016