Managing lab trash

Lab Trash includes residually contaminated gloves, wipes, pipette tips, paper towels, tubing, etc.

The following materials are NOT considered lab trash and must be submitted to EH&S for disposal:

  • Powders, free liquid, aerosols, gels, heavy metals, or any other “free chemicals”
  • Materials from the cleanup of a hazardous materials spill
  • Medical/biohazardous waste
  • Items contaminated with acutely hazardous chemicals (P-listed wastes)
  • Empty, bar-coded chemical containers

Do not place broken glassware, glass slides, razor blades, or other sharp objects in lab trash containers. These items pose a unique hazard and must be managed separately.

Select a Container

10-gallon plastic receptacles with lids are available at no charge from EH&S. Use only leak-proof, sturdy containers or trash receptacles to accumulate lab trash.


Ensure all containers used to accumulate lab trash are labeled with the words “Lab Trash Only.”

Line All Containers

Line all containers with opaque trash bags/liners large enough to allow for tying or sealing.

Replace Lids

Ensure container lids are replaced after trash has been added (for lab trash and glassware, lids that simply rest on containers are acceptable).


When container is full, the liner/trash bag can be removed and tied closed. Bags can then be placed next to regular trash for pickup by custodial staff. Any bags that emit a strong odor should be immediately taken to nearest outdoor trash dumpster.

NOTE: Only discard the full liners/trash bags; TRASH CANS/BUCKETS WILL BE RE-USED.