Aerosol cans

Collect empty aerosol cans in a container labeled with the DRS Waste Tag. On the Waste Tag check the box next to “Ignitable” to indicate this hazardous waste characteristic. Request the full container of aerosol cans for disposal through the DRS Waste Management App. Use UI# 7107 AEROSOL CAN to identify the container of aerosol cans.


Request unwanted batteries for disposal through the DRS Waste Management App. DRS will recycle batteries whenever possible. Lithium metal batteries must have their terminals protected during shipment to prevent short circuits; tape can be used for this purpose.

Batteries should be separated and requested for disposal by type. Use one of the following UI#’s when requesting your batteries for disposal:

  • UI# 7575 - Alkaline Batteries
  • UI# 7602 - Lead-Acid Batteries
  • UI# 7580 - Lithium Metal Batteries
  • UI# 9111 - Lithium-Ion Batteries
  • UI# 205346 - Lithium Polymer Batteries
  • UI# 5230 - Mercury Batteries
  • UI# 9109 - Nickel Metal Hydride Batteries
  • UI# 150207 - Zinc-Carbon Batteries

If your batteries are not listed above, please select UI# 1 and specify the type of battery in the Waste Description field.

Chemical Waste

Examples of chemical waste include but are not limited to: unused and surplus reagent chemicals; chemical waste generated from research and educational experiments and procedures; spent solvents, stains, strippers, thinners, varnishes, and wood preservatives; used oil of all types; batteries; non-returnable gas cylinders; spent acids and bases; personal protective equipment, laboratory equipment, and glassware contaminated with chemicals; clean-up debris generated from chemical spills; discarded equipment containing hazardous materials; photographic film processing solutions; pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers; mercury-containing items; unused and surplus cleaners (e.g., bleach, carpet cleaners, disinfectants, floor polish and wax, toilet cleaners); unused and surplus paint, both oil and latex; aerosol cans (e.g., air fresheners, paint, cleaners, etc.); fuel oils; and preserved specimens.

Contaminated Debris

Debris includes gloves, paper, plastic, glass, and other inert debris contaminated with chemicals. There should be no free liquids or solid chemicals in debris waste, only residues.

  • Collect debris that is contaminated with materials on the acute discarded waste list.
  • Collect debris that is contaminated with heavy metals (Arsenic, barium, cadmium, chromium, lead, mercury, selenium, silver). 
  • Collect debris with visible chemical contamination.
  • Collect debris that has a strong odor (thiols). 
  • Collect debris contaminated with radioactive materials, segregating short-lived and long-lived radionuclides. 

Debris that does not fall into one of the above scenarios is not considered contaminated debris and may be disposed of in the regular trash.

Packaging:  Contaminated debris should be placed in sturdy plastic bags and closed securely. Attach a DRS Waste Tag to the outside of bags to identify each constituent of the debris waste (e.g., paper towels contaminated with acetic acid). Do not use biohazard or radioactive waste bags for chemical waste or chemical-contaminated debris unless the hazard is present. (Note that ethidium bromide waste is a chemical waste, not a biohazardous waste.)

Request contaminated debris for disposal through the DRS Waste Management App. If you have contaminated debris waste which is not in the Waste Management App, select UI# 1 and then in the Waste Description field list each constituent of the debris waste (e.g., paper towels contaminated with acetic acid).

DEA Controlled Substances

See the DEA Controlled Substances Guide for disposal procedures.


To dispose of unneeded equipment follow the Office of Business and Financial Services (OBFS) Equipment Disposal Method procedures. In addition, complete the Facilities & Services (F&S) Servicing and Decommissioning of Laboratory Equipment, Appliances, and Systems form for each piece of equipment that is to be disposed. The form must be completed and attached to the equipment prior to pickup by F&S or the contracted recycler. Contact the F&S Service Office at 217-333-0340 to arrange pickup.


Jerricans should be used to collect liquid high-volume (at least 10 L or more a year) waste streams that are not reactive, extremely toxic, or malodorous. Solids must be filtered out before adding the waste to a jerrican. Wastes that should be collected in jerricans include:

  • Organic solvents (halogenated and non-halogenated);
  • Acids or acid mixtures (Do not collect hydrofluoric acid or oxidizing acids such as nitric acid and perchloric acid in jerricans);
  • Photographic fixing/developing solutions;
  • Formaldehyde solutions.

Other waste streams may be accepted in jerricans. Check with the DRS Chemical Waste Section ( or 217-333-2755) before using a jerrican to be sure that DRS can bulk the waste. Otherwise, DRS may be unable to return the jerrican because it will have to be directly packed for shipment to the off-site waste treatment and disposal facility where it will be destroyed.

DO NOT place the following chemicals in a jerrican. Chemicals known to react with solvents or that are otherwise extremely toxic should never be added to a jerrican.

Chemicals that should NOT be collected in Jerricans


Hypochlorite esters

Phosphite esters

Acyl halides

Iron petnacarbonyl

Phosphite esters

Alkaline and alkaline earth hydrides and alkyls in solutions


Polymer solutions

Alkyl silyl halides


Poly-nitro compounds


Lithium aluminum hydride

Propargyl bromides

Allyl Alcohol

Mercaptans/ Thiols

Pyrocarbonate esters

Aluminum and gallium trialkyls

Mercury compounds


Amines > 5% by vol.

Metal halides and oxyhalides

Silicon and germanium hydroalkyls


Monomers (polymerizable)

Sodium or calcium hydride


Nitrate esters

Sulfate esters


Nitric acid

Sulfite esters



Sulfonate esters


Nitrite esters


Carbon disulfide

Nitro esters

Sulfonyl halides


Nitroso esters

Sulfuric acid (conc.)



Thallium ethoxide



Thio ketones or esters




Chromate esters




Perfluoroaliphatic acids

Zinc and cadmium alkyls



Ethyl Ether > 5% by vol.

Phosphate esters



Laboratory Glassware

See Laboratory Glassware Disposal for disposal guidance.

Lamps/Light bulbs

Call or email the F&S Service Office (217-333-0340 or to schedule the pickup of the lamps (fluorescent lamps, high-intensity discharge (HID) lamps, mercury vapor lamps, UV lamps) for disposal through the F&S Laborer Electrician Shop.

Mercury Thermometers

Dispose of both intact and broken mercury thermometers through the DRS waste program. Place broken thermometers into a sealable container such as a wide mouth polyethylene jar with a screw cap. If the thermometer is too big to fit into a container, place heavy tape over the broken ends and put it into a heavy-duty plastic bag. Label as “Waste–broken mercury thermometer”. Request mercury thermometers for disposal through the DRS Waste Management App. Use one of the following UI#’s when requesting the mercury thermometers for disposal:

  • UI# 8169 Mercury Thermometer
  • UI# 7636 Broken Mercury Thermometer

Multi-hazard wastes

Wastes that are radioactive and/or infectious as well as chemically hazardous. Try to avoid mixing chemical waste with infectious or radioactive wastes, as they are difficult and often expensive to dispose of. Please consult with DRS before generating this kind of waste.


See definition for materials that qualify as “sharps”. All sharps shall be disposed of in approved Sharps Disposal Containers (SDCs), which are provided free of charge to university personnel. SDCs are closable, puncture resistant, leak-proof on the sides and bottoms, and available in three sizes (1-quart, 2-gallon, or 8-gallon sharps disposal container). Request SDCs for disposal through the DRS Waste Management App.Use one of the following UI#’s to request disposal:


  • UI# 4 Sharps Disposal Container – 1 Quart
  • UI# 2 Sharps Disposal Container – 2 Gallon
  • UI# 8 Sharps Disposal Container – 8 Gallon
  • UI# 9 Sharps Disposal Container – Other size
  • UI# 3 Sharps Disposal Container with Radioactive Materials

Unlabeled or Unidentified Chemicals

If you have unlabeled chemical containers in your workplace for disposal, ask the person who generated the substance to identify it. Consult with the Principal Investigator (PI) or Supervisor/Manager about the type of work that was being conducted. Ask others if they are responsible for the unknown chemical or can help identify it; someone may remember its contents. If only general information is available, label it as follows:

  • If the chemical is air-reactive use UI# 7078–Characterized Waste–Air Reactive.
  • If the chemical as water-reactive, use UI#7079–Characterized Waste–Water Reactive.
  • If flammable and pH is 3-11: "UI#7080–Characterized Waste–Flammable"
  • If flammable and pH is 2 or less: "UI#7083–Characterized Waste–Flammable, Acid"
  • If flammable and pH is 12 or more: "UI#7084–Characterized Waste–Flammable, Base"
  • If not flammable (or solid) and pH is 2 or less: "UI#7081–Characterized Waste–Acid"
  • If not flammable (or solid) and pH is 12 or more: "UI#7082–Characterized Waste–Base"
  • If not flammable (or solid) and pH is 3-11: "UI#7085–Characterized Waste–Other"


Last Updated: 12/4/2023