Regulated Waste Management

There are many different types of waste generated on campus. Some wastes are regulated by federal or state government and require special handling restrictions to protect people and/or the environment. Regulated wastes include biological, chemical, radioactive and universal wastes. Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) provides guidance and resources to help manage waste safely and in compliance with waste regulations.

Biological waste is regulated by the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) and must be disposed following Rensselaer's regulated waste program.

Biological waste includes, but is not limited to, the following items:

  • Animal carcasses
  • Blood and other body fluids
  • Culture flasks, plates, and tubes
  • Sharps and syringes that are biologically contaminated
  • Tissues
  • Any other item contaminated with biological materials

Chemical waste is regulated by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC). Chemical waste that meets the NYSDEC definition of hazardous waste must be managed in compliance with the NYSDEC hazardous waste regulations. Chemical waste that does not meet the definition of hazardous waste is also collected through Rensselaer's regulated waste program.

Categories of Chemical Hazardous Waste
  • Aqueous solutions with pH less than 2 and greater than 12.5
  • Corrodes steel
  • Liquids that have a flash point less than 140°F (60°C)
  • Flammable solids
  • Flammable compressed gases
  • Oxidizers
  • Water reactive substances
  • Unstable or explosive chemicals
  • Cyanide or sulfide containing chemicals that generate toxic gases when exposed to corrosive substances
  • Materials that have certain heavy metals or organic constituents above regulated limits (EPA D List) (see 40CFR 261)
  • Materials that meet or exceed TCLP laboratory testing

Glass waste includes chemically contaminated glass bottles, glass pipettes, and broken glass. 

  • Clean glassware that is no longer needed by the laboratory can be placed in a cardboard box and labelled “for trash disposal”. Environmental Site Services (ESS) will dispose of the clean glass waste as regular trash.
  • Glass that is contaminated with hazardous chemicals shall be collected in the yellow garbage can labelled “glass waste” for disposal. 
  • Glassware contaminated with infectious material should be placed in a red biohazard container. 
  • Glassware contaminated with radioactive contaminants should be placed in a waste container and labelled as “radioactive waste".
  • Never use red biohazard bags to collect chemically contaminated glassware or debris.

The New York Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) defines radioactive waste as radioactive material that no longer has a use. Items collected as radioactive waste include, but are not limited to:

  • Dry radioactive waste
  • Liquid radioactive waste
  • Sealed radioactive sources
  • Other items contaminated with radioactive materials

Universal waste is a common type of hazardous waste that can be managed under the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) Universal Waste Rule. Universal waste includes items such as batteries, pesticides, mercury-containing equipment, and fluorescent lamps. NYSDEC also regulates oil-based finishes and photographic solutions as universal waste. All of these wastes must be properly collected, stored, and managed through Rensselaer's regulated waste program for regulatory compliance and to divert these wastes from landfills.

Universal Waste Resources:

Most laboratory spaces on campus which generate hazardous wastes are considered to be “Satellite Accumulation Areas," and as such there are specific requirements regarding the proper storage, handling and labeling of these wastes. It is the responsibility of each individual who generates hazardous wastes at these areas to insure that they observe the following requirements.

  • Ensure that all hazardous waste containers are in good condition, leak-free, and closable with a threaded cap or lid.
  • Be sure to label hazardous waste containers with a “Hazardous Waste Label," which includes the constituents in the container (noted in names, not chemical formulas) and the appropriate percentages. Simply writing the word “waste” on a container is not sufficient.
  • Keep hazardous waste containers closed except when adding or removing waste. (Remove funnels after use)
  • Make sure that all waste contents are compatible with each other and the container.
  • Leave 10% expansion space at the top when using bottles to store waste.
  • Remove or completely deface manufacturer's labels, if reusing bottles for waste.
  • Keep hazardous waste in secondary containment to prevent accidental release. Secondary containment should be chemically resistant and be able to contain a leak of up to 10% (by volume) of the largest container.
  • Remember that hazardous waste can be accumulated up to 60 days. After that, submit a request to have the waste collected.
  • Store no more than 55 gallons (208 liters) of hazardous waste in any one “Satellite Accumulation Area” (laboratory) at any one time. Of that 55 gallons, no more than one quart (947.5 milliliters) of the hazardous waste materials may be “Acutely Hazardous."

All regulated waste is picked up at its point of generation, be it a laboratory, studio or shop.  Do not remove regulated waste from the area where it was generated.

Regulated waste is picked up by Rensselaer's waste contractor every Thursday. All regulated waste pickup requests are made by submitting the online Regulated Waste Pick-Up Request Form. All waste forms submitted after 5:00pm on Wednesday will be processed for the following week.

Please note that waste will not be collected if Rensselaer is officially closed on a Thursday, so members of the campus community should plan accordingly. 

Regulated waste that is not properly packaged or labeled will not be picked up until the issue has been corrected. The requestor, or their designee, should be available during the scheduled waste collection day to answer any questions about the regulated waste.

Regulated Waste Forms

Regulated Waste Pick-Up Request

Submit this form to request a regulated waste pickup. Regulated waste is picked up by Rensselaer's waste contractor on Thursdays. Requests submitted after 5:00pm on Wednesday will be processed the following week.

Regulated Waste Label Request

Submit this form to request regulated waste labels, for pick up or delivery.

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