Chemical and Chemical Waste Disposal Guidelines

The disposal of hazardous chemicals is strictly regulated under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, (RCRA) and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) and EPA regulations CFR 40, parts 100 - 399.

Chemicals must be disposed of only through the Environmental Health and Safety Department. This will normally be done at no cost to the generator if the following procedures are strictly adhered to. Individuals who do not follow procedures in complying with state and federal regulations are individually responsible for possible fines and/or imprisonment. Call the EHS at 753-0404 or 753-1610 when you have waste materials for disposal. 

Please consult NIU's Guide to Chemical Waste Management (pdf) for a complete list of procedures regarding chemical and chemical waste disposal.


All chemical waste must be collected in suitable containers for processing and disposal by or under the supervision of the Chemical Safety Coordinator. In the event of uncertainty, contact  EH&S for advice.

Any waste material that may, upon contact, present a hazard to one's health or surrounding environment should be treated as a potentially hazardous waste. This includes spent or unused chemicals, cleaning solutions, oils, etc. If there is any doubt whether a material should be treated as hazardous, contact EH&S at 753-1610. Never throw any questionable material in the sewer or trash without first consulting with EH&S.

Containers and Labeling

Chemicals for disposal must be placed in a suitable, sealed container with a screw type cap. The exterior of the container must be CLEAN. Containers with cracked or corroded caps will not be accepted. Containers designed for food stuffs are not permitted for storing chemical waste. These containers must be conspicuously labeled as follows:

  1. "WASTE", Chemical waste  or Hazardus Waste
  2. Chemical Name or names, and Volumes or Mass written in English.               
  3. Chemical formulas or Symbols are NOT acceptable.
  4. Room Number, Laboratory or Responsible Person.
  5. Date container was filled or purchased.

Empty Containers

Empty containers of five (5) gallons or less may be placed in dumpsters if they meet the definition of the Resource Conservation Recovery Act (RCRA) empty container rule. Any container that previously held a hazardous chemical or waste is defined as empty if:

  1. No hazardous materials can be poured, pumped or drained from the container.
  2. No hazardous materials remain in the container that can be feasibly removed
  3. The walls of the container must not contain any significant residual materials
  4. The label is defaced or the words empty are conspicuously placed on the container.

If you have a container larger than 5 gallon please contact EH&S for disposal information.

It is recommended any container that held an acutely toxic material be sent to EH&S for disposal.