Hazardous Waste

Contact information for Office of Risk Management - Univeristy of Ottaw

Specialist Name Email Phone number
Radiation Compliance Specialist   rad.safety@uottawa.ca 613-562-5800 ext. 3057
Laser and X-ray Compliance Specialist   laser.safety@uottawa.ca 613-562-5800 ext. 2000
Biosafety Compliance Specialist   bio.safety@uottawa.ca 613-562-5800 ext. 3153

Hazardous Materials Waste Overview

Laboratory research generates hazardous waste. This waste includes a variety of materials such as the by-products of chemical synthesis, biomedical wastes, pump oil and contaminated objects. These wastes require special handling to reduce harmful effects to human health and the environment. At a university, the disposal of a large variety of hazardous wastes can be both difficult and expensive. For all questions regarding hazardous waste in the Faculty of Science please consult the Health, Safety and Risk (HSR) Team.


The disposal of any toxic or hazardous material must be done in accordance with federal, provincial and municipal regulations. Ontario has a comprehensive legislative and regulatory framework to ensure that hazardous wastes are managed in an environmentally safe manner. This system controls collection, storage, transportation, treatment, recovery and disposal of hazardous waste. A few policies are outlined below but please note that the policies outlined are only a subsection of the policies. For more information, please follow the links to the full policies in the References section.

University of Ottawa, Policy 72 – Environmental Management and Sustainability

  • The University of Ottawa is committed to managing its operations responsibly, in a way that will protect and sustain the natural environment.
  • All persons shall comply with directives, procedures and standards established for an activity, by the University, the faculty or service, or by governmental regulatory agencies.
  • All persons shall exercise all reasonable care in activities that may pose a risk to the environment.

WHMIS Regulation 860

  • 6. (1) An employer shall ensure that a worker who works with or in proximity to a controlled product received from a supplier is informed about all hazard information the employer receives from the supplier concerning the controlled product and all further hazard information of which the employer is or ought to be aware concerning its use, storage and handling.
  • (2) An employer who produces a controlled product in a workplace shall ensure that every worker who works with or in proximity to the controlled product is informed about all hazard information of which the employer is or ought to be aware concerning the controlled product and its use, storage and handling. R.R.O. 1990, Reg. 860, s. 6.
  • 9. (1) An employer who produces a controlled product in a workplace shall ensure that the controlled product or the container of the controlled product has a workplace label.

Waste Management

General requirement to packing waste

  1. All materials must be collected in a suitable waste storage container.
  2. Appropriate containers are available from the waste contractor on the pickup days.
  3. Each container must be properly labelled to reduce the possibility of mixing incompatible materials. Please see the Label section for more information.
  4. Incompatible, highly reactive and highly toxic materials must always be packaged separately. This is done to minimize fire and explosion hazards and to ensure the proper handling procedures by the waste contractor. Please contact the HSR Team if you have any questions.
  5. Each waste container must only have one type of waste material inside. Chemical, biohazardous and radioactive wastes are handled differently and cannot be stored together.
  6. All 20 Liter containers are to be placed inside a larger secondary container to prevent spillage. The maximum fill line on the secondary containers must be respected to prevent leaking of hazardous waste.
  7. Whenever liquid waste is put into a container, ensure that the cap has not been full sealed to allow for a pressure release in case of a small chemical reaction.

Chemical Inventory Management System – Vertére

Effective waste management begins with the regular maintenance of a chemical inventory. The University of Ottawa has a chemical inventory system called Vetére Inventory Management System. All chemicals purchased through the Science Store are barcoded and added directly into the Vertére system enabling users to track their chemicals. Furthermore, this system allows for researchers to see the chemicals in other laboratories. The HSR Team can provide assistance in ordering safer and less toxic alternative chemicals if available or to find a chemical that you may be able to borrow in another Faculty of Science laboratory.

Appropriate Waste Containers

Application Description Size

Liquid Waste

Amber glass bottle1

1L or 4L

White plastic carboy


Solid Waste

Sharps Container


Reusable Waste Container


1These containers are reused from liquid chemicals bought in either 1L or 4L glass containers. The labels must be defaced and replaced with an official uOttawa Waste Label

The items in the above table are available for free from the waste contractor or for purchase at the Science Store. For larger volume containers, please contact the HSR team.


Hazardous Waste Labels are required to communicate the contents of all waste containers to laboratory researchers and facility services. Pre-printed labels are available free of charge from the Science Store or from the waste contractor and are typically attached to the waste container. Note that these labels may deteriorate with small drips of chemical waste on the label. Please ensure that the labels are legible when the waste is being picked up.

The following procedure ensures proper labeling, safe handling and collection of hazardous waste:

  1. Once you begin to collect waste in a new container, immediately attach a “Déchet Dangereux /Hazardous Waste” label to the container.
  2. As ingredients are added to the container, record the chemical name under the heading “Contenu / Contents”.
  3. Collect liquid and solid waste in separate containers.
  4. Further separate the liquid and solid waste by their type of waste.

Characteristics of Hazardous Waste


Hazardous waste is unwanted material which no longer has research value and poses potential threats to public health or the environment. This waste generally exhibits one or more of the following characteristics:

Flammable materials can rapidly vaporise and burn in air. Examples:

  • Liquids that have a flash point less than 37.8°C.
  • Solids that can cause fire through adsorption of moisture and will burn vigorously and persistently causing a hazard.
  • Flammable compressed gases whose vapours ignite easily and rapidly.

Oxidizing materials stimulate combustion of organic materials. Examples:

  • Gases – fluorine, chlorine, ozone, nitrous oxide, and oxygen
  • Liquids – hydrogen peroxide, nitric acid, perchloric acid, and bromine

Corrosive liquids have a pH of 0-2 or 12-14. Most common acids or bases are corrosive.

  • Corrosives can generate corrosive vapours; ensure that the bottles are tightly sealed when transporting them to the waste room.
  • Never mix strong acids with strong bases!

Toxic materials can cause damage or death to living organisms. Toxicity of different types of hazardous waste can vary. Examples of toxic substances are compounds containing cyanides or mercury, and pesticides.

  • Acute Toxicity is a material that has adverse effects from a single exposure.
  • Chronic Toxicity is a material that has adverse effects from repeated exposures.

 Unknown Chemical Waste

Please make every effort to identify all waste before submitting an unknown for disposal. This information may greatly reduce the hazards involved in handling and classifying the material. Include the name of the research group, telephone number, type of research, storage method, approximate age of the container and all relevant information (i.e. organic, acid, air reactive, pH, oxidizer etc.). If you are unsure about what to do with your waste, contact the HSR team.

Types of Waste

Liquid Waste

Liquid Waste should be separated into the following categories and disposed of in a 20L carboys or 1/4L amber bottles. If you are unsure of how to dispose of or segregate your waste, contact the HSR team.

Organic Waste

  • Purely organic solvents
  • Halogenated solvents
  • Organic compounds
  • Basic compounds

Aqueous Waste

  • Oxidizing Acid Waste
  • Inorganic Acidic Waste
  • Halogenated solvents
  • High concentration of water liquid waste
  • Some forms of heavy metals

Oil Waste

  • Vacuum pump oil waste
  • Motor oil waste

Photo Processing Waste

  • Photo developer waste
  • Photo fixer waste
  • Silver containing compound waste

Highly Toxic Liquids

  • Dimethyl mercury
  • Nitric acid and Heavy Metal waste

Pyrophoric Waste

  • Must be in sealed container. Original container is accepted; under certain conditions an appropriate secondary container may be accepted.

Solid Waste

Hazardous solid waste should be disposed of in a solid waste pail or in a sharps container for the types of waste outlined below. Non-hazardous waste (including non-contaminated glass and non-contaminated gloves) can be disposed of through Facilities (PRS). If you are unsure of how to dispose of or segregate your waste, contact the HSR Team.

Silica, Tips, Tubes, Stains and Contaminated Articles

  • Amorphous Silica waste
  • Gloves
  • Paper Tissue
  • Non highly toxic Organic and Inorganic compounds
  • Inorganic salts
  • RNA kit waste
  • Contaminated Gel plates
  • Contaminated broken glass

Broken Glass

  • All contaminated glass must go out as solid waste
  • For non-contaminated glass, please ensure that all glass is rinsed before placing in the broken glass cardboard box.
  • Once the box is full, seal the box and label it broken glass. The broken glass will be collected within 10 business days once a request is submitted to Facilities (PRS) at extension 2222.

Highly Toxic Solid Waste

  • Inorganic compounds (Thallium, Mercury, Chromium, etc.)

Ethidium Bromide Gels

  • Ethidium Bromide
  • Contaminated Ethidium Bromide articles

Chemical Sharp Waste

  • Chemical sharps includes but is not exclusive to: needles, razor blades, pipette tips, glass vials
  • Must be in appropriate sealed sharps container.

Biological Waste

Please arrange with the Biosafety Office for the appropriate procedures for biohazardous waste.

Radioactive Waste

Please arrange with the Radiation Safety Office for the appropriate procedures for radioactive waste.

Waste Pickup

Submission for Waste Pickup

To have a waste collection, please submit a completed Chemical Waste Pick Up Request Form. Requests must be submitted before 10am the day before the pickup (Monday or Wednesday) to be eligible for next day pickup.

Contractor Waste Pickup

The following schedule is in effect for chemical hazardous waste pickups in the Faculty of Science. Any requests received after the deadlines will be collected in the following pickup date. (Note: the Faculty of Science is not responsible for biological and radiological waste and they do not follow this schedule)

Request Submission Deadline Pickup Date and Time

Monday, 10:00 am

Tuesday, 10am-12pm

Wednesday, 10:00 am

Thursday, 10am-12pm

For waste such as laboratory clean-up, a potentially high risk material, unknown materials and used hazardous spill bags, contact the HSR Team. 

For a biological waste pickup, please contact the Biosafety Office.

For a radioactive waste pickup, please contact the Radiation Safety Office.


How do I get new containers?

There are two ways to get new containers: You can request them in the Chemical Waste Pick Up Request Form in the Additional Information Section or in extenuating circumstances, they can be purchased from Science Stores.

The form isn’t saving the data, what can I do?

If you are attempting to fill out the Chemical Waste Pick Up Request Form, print the request, save it as a PDF and send it this way. This may also be an internet browser issue so try the request in another browser

How do I separate the waste?

See Types of Waste section. If your questions are not answered there, contact the HSR Team.

Who do I contact in case of a spill?

In case of a large spill, call x5411 immediately. For smaller spills, you are responsible for cleaning up the spill. If you would like guidance on how to clean up the spill, contact the HSR Team. Once the spill is cleaned, please fill out an Incident Report.

Where can I get waste labels from?

Waste Labels can be request by the waste contractor in the Additional Information Section  of the Chemical Waste Pick Up Request Form or can be acquired for free from Science Stores.

I can’t be in my lab during the pickup hours, what should I do?

If there is no one in your lab during the pickup hours, the contractor cannot enter the lab to do the pickup. For extenuating circumstances, contact the HSR Team to find a suitable solution.


Chemical Waste Pick-Up

Hazardous Waste

If you have any doubts ask your supervisor or contact the Health, Safety and Risk Office.

Chemical Waste Pick-Up

Please fill the Chemical Waste Pick Up Request Form.

Hazardous Waste Pickup Schedule

Days Deadlines
Tuesday Monday 10:00 am
Thursday Wednesday 10:00 am

Contractor Waste  Pick Up Hours (from the labs)

Days Time
Tuesday 10:00 am - 11:30 am
Thursday 10:00 am - 11:30 am

Open Doors in DRO 129 (for queries)

Days Time
Tuesday 11:30 am to 12:00 (noon)
Thursday 11:30 am to 12:00 (noon)

Special events (example lab packs) for waste may be arranged upon approval from the HSR office.

Contact info

Health, Safety and Risk Manager
Alexander Daniels
Telephone: 613-562-5800 ext. 6425
STEM Complex, room 314

Health, Safety and Risk Assistant
Lucien Nadeau
Telephone: 613-562-5800 ext. 4580
STEM Complex, room 328

Manager, Faculty Infrastructures
Sean Kirkwood
Telephone: 613-562-5800, ext. 6030
STEM Complex, room 347

Facility Coordinator
David Needham
Telephone: 613-562-5800, ext. 6020
CAREG, room 516

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