Waste Handling

The Environmental Management (EM) Department is responsible for ensuring compliance with state/federal environmental regulations, which includes proper handling and disposal of all chemical wastes (solid, hazardous, and bio-hazardous) generated on campus (operating policy Op2.07).

Proper handling of chemical wastes begins with the generator (creator) of the waste, and the waste generator is expected to comply with waste management requirements while the material is in their possession. Disposal of all chemical waste materials must be conducted through EM's on-line waste submittal system. As the creator of the waste, the submitter is expected to provide all information requested by the system, including a full list of all materials contained in the waste. 

Is My Waste Hazardous?

All laboratory/studio chemical wastes must be labeled. Per EPA regulation, the generator (creator) must decide if a waste is hazardous or non-hazardous; this decision process is known as a waste determination. Know the characteristics of the chemicals you are working with. If hazardous, label with a fully filled-out hazardous waste label (available from EM). Non-hazardous wastes must also be labeled as such and a list of contents provided. Note that regulatory inspectors may require a justification of the 'non-hazardous' designation. 

For assistance in making a waste/hazard determination contact the EM Department at EnvironmentalManagement@missouristate.edu or 417-836-8334.

Sink Drain Disposal

DO NOT DISPOSE OF ANY CHEMICAL WASTES DOWN THE SINK OR OTHER DRAIN. Drain disposal of chemicals is illegal, damaging to the environment, and in certain circumstances may cause explosions and/or fire in the drain system. 

Disposal Costs

The EM department generally covers the cost of disposal for routinely-generated campus chemical wastes. In certain situations, campus waste generators may incur costs for waste disposal. Additonal details outlining these situations can be found here.

Examples of Different Types of Waste

This section provides a breakdown of general categories of waste. 

Potentially Infectious Medical Waste/ Biological Waste

Potentially infectious medical waste (PIMW) may consist of the following:

  • Cultures & stocks
  • Pathological wastes
  • Human blood & blood products
  • Sharps- needles, syringes, razor blades, scalpels, etc. Click here for more information.
  • Animal carcasses & bedding
  • Biological or discarded materials contaminated with blood, excretion, exudates or secretions from humans
  • Laboratory wastes such as specimen containers, disposable gloves, lab coats, masks & aprons

PIMW must be placed in appropriate medical waste containers; typically in marked red bags/boxes.

Sharps have particular management requirements. Used sharps must be placed in appropriate containers. Sharps containers must meet the following requirements:

  • rigid
  • non-breakable/puncture resistant
  • impervious to moisture/ leak proof
  • have a self-closing lid
  • red in color with universal biohazard label 

Hazardous Waste

Hazardous waste is defined as a solid waste that exhibits certain characteristics (flammability, corrosivity, reactivity, toxicity) or is specifically listed on the F-, K-, P-, U- lists in 40 CFR of the Federal Register. Examples of common hazardous wastes generated on campus include.

  • Chemical lab wastes
  • Acid wastes
  • Solvents
  • Photographic chemicals

Non-recyclable Solid Waste (Disposed into Sanitary Trash)

  • Thermal fax paper or adding machine tape
  • Foil, wax, plastic lined or laminated paper (juice boxes, fast food liners, pet food bags)
  • Mylar/acetate
  • Original blueprints
  • Paper towels & napkins
  • Photographs


  • Mixed paper
  • Plastic containers
  • Batteries: alkaline, lithium, button, rechargeable, ni-cad, and lead acid
  • Used motor oil
  • Printer cartridges
  • Books & magazines
  • Electronics
  • Smoke detectors

Universal Waste

Management of universal wastes may require specific training. Contact EM if you work with any of the materials below.

  • Fluorescent bulbs
  • Mercury containing devices
  • Outdated pesticides