Safety Policies

SY20 Hazardous Waste Disposal

Policy Status: 


Subject Matter Expert: 

Tamela Greeley, 863-3890,

Policy Steward: 

Assistant Vice-President for Police and Public Safety / Director of Environmental Health and Safety



To establish a policy and procedures for the handling, transportation and disposal of hazardous waste at all locations of The Pennsylvania State University (except the Hershey Medical Center).

Hazardous wastes may be generated by a variety of University activities such as teaching, testing and research laboratories, maintenance, housekeeping and agricultural operations. These wastes may cause severe illness or death or pose substantial environmental threats when improperly stored, transported, treated or disposed.


The University is required by regulation 25 PA Code Ch. 260 a - 262 a and by Environmental Protection Agency regulation 40 CFR 260-262 to ensure the proper disposition of these wastes.


A waste may be designated as a hazardous waste if it meets one of the following criteria:

  1. Acute hazardous waste is a waste which has been found to be fatal in humans in low doses or, in the absence of data on humans, has been found to have, in laboratory animals:
    1. an oral LD50 of less than 50 mg/kg,
    2. an inhalation LC50 of less than 2 mg/l, or
    3. a dermal LD50 of less than 200 mg/kg.
  • A waste is hazardous if it contains any of the toxic constituents listed in the regulations.
  • A waste is hazardous if it exhibits any of the following characteristics:
    1. Ignitable
    2. Reactive
    3. Corrosive
    4. Toxic


The Senior Vice President for Finance and Business establishes and approves the policy and procedure for hazardous waste disposal within the environment of The Pennsylvania State University.

Environmental Health and Safety shall be the University agency responsible for implementing and enforcing the established policy and procedure. This agency shall also be responsible for the coordination of all hazardous waste disposal efforts.

The Directors of Business Services, in conjunction with the individual hazardous waste generators at non-University Park locations, and the individual hazardous waste generators at University Park, shall be responsible for coordinating the collection of hazardous waste with Environmental Health and Safety.

The custody and disposition of all chemicals/materials obtained or produced by, for and/or resulting from experiments, research or purchase is the responsibility of the University employee and/of their organizational unit so pre-occupied. The organization's budget under which such chemicals/materials are obtained or produced may also be required to fund the analysis of such items which cannot be identified by their proper or generic name or are improperly labeled. All containers of chemicals/materials must be clearly identified and labeled as to their contents. UNKNOWNS OR IMPROPERLY LABELED CHEMICALS/MATERIALS WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED FOR DISPOSAL.

Normal hazardous waste disposal costs will be funded through Environmental Health and Safety.

Generators of hazardous waste are responsible to ensure the appropriate storage, labeling, inspection, auditing, documentation, and segregation of chemicals, and to provide and document training of all personnel involved in the handling of this waste.

The indiscriminate drain-disposal of chemicals/materials is not permitted. Drain disposal of chemical waste materials shall be permitted only with specific written approval by Environmental Health and Safety.

Departments that generate hazardous chemical wastes shall ensure that a waste reduction program is in effect and that it is being adhered to.


To effect a reduction in the volume of hazardous waste generated at the University, as mandated by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PA DEP), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), generators of hazardous waste shall minimize the volume or toxicity of their waste.

  • Substitutions can be made to eliminate or reduce the amount of hazardous ingredients.
  • Management practices can greatly reduce unnecessary waste generation. This includes the purchase of only the quantity of material anticipated to be used and establishing usage parameters for each chemical.
  • Hazardous materials may be redistributed or returned. Often, surplus chemicals can be redistributed within the University or returned to the manufacturer. Lists of redistributable chemicals should be circulated among faculty and staff within work units or departments. Such a list should contain the following information:
  • chemical name,
  • amount,
  • manufacturer,
  • Purity, as stated on label, and
  • whether the container is unopened.

EHS maintains a listing of chemicals that are available for redistribution.

  • Bulking of compatible chemicals. Environmental Health and Safety shall provide guidance in the consolidation of compatible chemicals. A significant reduction in disposal costs can be achieved in the bulking of these chemicals.
  • Waste segregation. Mixing wastes can be hazardous; incompatible wastes can react - and explode. Wastes transported to the Chemical Waste Storage facility must be segregated to avoid these reactions. A further reduction in the costs for waste disposal can be achieved by reducing packaging time as compatible chemicals can be packed more efficiently. Chemicals should be segregated into the following categories: flammables, corrosives, poisons, and oxidizers.
  • Integrate micro-scale techniques into organic and inorganic chemistry laboratory courses and research projects. These techniques can reduce chemical purchase costs and significantly reduce the quantities of waste chemicals for disposal. Use of micro-scale also reduces student and faculty exposure to toxic chemicals, carcinogens, flammables and explosives.


Individuals responsible for laboratories and other areas which handle and store hazardous waste are required to:

  1. Each room generating chemical waste must designate a location with in the room for waste accumulation. This area is referred to as the "Accumulation Area."
  2. Designate an individual who is responsible to oversee the proper storage, labeling and inspection of this Accumulation Area and who conducts weekly inspections of this area, documenting and maintaining the results of the inspection.
  3. Ensure all laboratory personnel involved in chemical waste management are trained and documentation of training records is maintained.
  4. Establish, implement and document an annual review of all hazardous materials to ensure those exceeding safe and practical usage are properly disposed of.
  5. Incorporate waste disposal management practices into all procedures, including laboratory manuals used for instruction.
  6. Conduct audits of waste management procedures as established in this policy to ensure compliance and implement the necessary changes.

Department heads/heads of administrative units are responsible to:

  1. Maintain a listing of accumulation areas and individuals responsible for oversight.
  2. Maintain copies of training documents.
  3. Conduct audits of waste management procedures within facilities under their jurisdiction as established in this policy to ensure compliance and implement the necessary changes.

Deans of Academic Colleges/Heads of Administrative Units are responsible to:

  1. Designate a College/Unit-wide individual to oversee program.
  2. Conduct audits of waste management procedures established in this policy to ensure compliance and implement the necessary changes.


Collection and transportation of hazardous waste at University Park:

  • A laboratory or facility that has hazardous waste for disposal shall complete a Chemical Waste Pickup Request Form available at, or contact EHS at 814-865-6391.
  • Environmental Health and Safety personnel will collect and transport the hazardous waste to the Chemical Accumulation Facility. Procedures for the collection of specially-arranged disposal activities will be established by EHS.
  • The spill or discharge of any hazardous material must be reported to Environmental Health and Safety at 865-6391 during regular working hours (Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.). At other times and on weekends, the incident must be reported to University Police and Public Safety at 814-863-1111. Environmental Health and Safety personnel will report to the site of the incident and provide guidance and direction in proper cleanup procedures, as deemed appropriate. They will provide or recommend appropriate equipment for the cleanup, and arrange for the proper disposal of the hazardous waste.

Disposal of hazardous waste at non-University Park locations (except Hershey Medical Center):

  • Other locations that have hazardous waste for disposal will forward a properly completed Chemical Waste Pickup Request Form to Environmental Health and Safety.

    Environmental Health and Safety will arrange to have the hazardous waste picked up by a commercial vendor.


For questions, additional detail, or to request changes to this policy, please contact the Director of Environmental Health and Safety.

Most recent changes:

  • June 16, 2014 - Corrections to Revision History, August 4, 1976 through February 26, 1992, per additional information discovered and added to the working papers.

Revision History (and effective dates):

  • June 12, 2014 - Policy updated to reflect minor operational and editorial changes in POLICY, RESPONSIBILITIES and PROCEDURES sections. Added policy steward/ further information references, in the event that there are questions or requests for changes to the policy.

  • August 13, 2004 - (editorial change) Removed cross-reference to SYG01.
  • November 9, 2000 - Policy updated to reflect changes in regulations, waste minimization and responsibilities.
  • November 11, 1999 - EHS website address added and various minor editorial changes made.
  • February 26, 1992- Updates to POLICY, REDUCING HAZARDOUS MATERIALS and PROCEDURES sections to clarify current requirements.
  • April 26, 1988 - Policy organized into standard Penn State policy categories. Edits made to REDUCING HAZARDOUS MATERIALS and PROCEDURES sections.
  • August 4, 1976 - Earliest record of Original Policy, provided from EHS files and placed in S&P working papers.

Date Approved: 

June 16, 2014

Date Published: 

June 16, 2014

Effective Date: 

June 16, 2014