Dispose of Waste

Master list of waste types is displayed below.

Note: If you cannot find the item that you are trying to get rid of in this list, please contact EH&S at ehs@berkeley.edu or (510) 642-3073.
 

Aerosol Cans

Please log into the Hazardous Waste Program (HWP) to create a waste label and request a pickup.

Note: If the container is empty, you may dispose of it using a regular trash receptacle.

Appliances - Household or Shop

Appliances - Lab Equipment or Refrigerators

Please request a pickup through Excess and Surplus.

Note: You must first ensure that all materials are decontaminated before requesting pickup.

Asbestos

Please contact Berkeley Facilities Services at fs-newsr@berkeley.edu to request pickup.

Automotive Batteries

Please log into the Hazardous Waste Program (HWP) to create a waste label and request a pickup.

Batteries

Home Generated Batteries

UC employees should take their home-generated batteries to their community recycling center rather than disposing of them on campus. Drop off locations may be found by calling the local health department, garbage company or by clicking here.

Campus Generated Batteries

For batteries generated on campus, log into the Hazardous Waste Program (HWP) to create a waste label and request a pickup.

If you are an infrequent user of the HWP web site, EH&S staff will assist you. Please send the following information to HWP@berkeley.edu:

  • The building name and room number where small batteries will be collected
  • The number of 1-gallon battery containers you would like us to drop off (free)
  • A valid chart string to cover our sorting and recycling costs
  • Your name and phone number

Disposal Through a Third-Party Vendor

If you are not submitting the disposal request through EH&S and are using a third party vendor, make sure you are following all regulatory requirements and retain a copy of your shipping records for at least 3 years.

Resources:

Fact Sheet: Universal Waste (Electronic Wastes, Used Batteries & Fluorescent Lamps)

Bicycles

Biohazardous Waste

Examples of biohazardous/medical waste include human and animal parts, human and primate cell lines, biosafety level II or level III agents/contaminated wastes, and waste produced during vaccine research. Please read the Fact Sheets below for more details.

If your lab is in one of the following buildings, you may drop off biohazardous waste in the centralized storage room (contact your building coordinator first):

  • Genetics and Plant Biology
  • Hildebrand Hall
  • Koshland Hall (also serves Barker Hall)
  • Li Ka Shing
  • Life Sciences Addition (also serves Valley Life Sciences Building)
  • Morgan Hall
  • Northwest Animal Facility (OLAC only)
  • Stanley Hall

For labs in any other building, please log into the Hazardous Waste Program (HWP) to create a waste label and request a pickup.

Fact Sheets

Biosafety Level II Biohazardous Waste Management

Sharps Handling and Disposal

Safe and Effective Use of Autoclaves (Update in Progress)

Blood - Other

Please contact Berkeley Facilities Services at fs-newsr@berkeley.edu or (510) 642-1032 to request services.

Note: Dried blood poses little to no hazard, you can throw soiled items in the trash.

Blood - Research

Dilute liquid to a final concentration of 10% bleach. Wait 20 minutes then pour into the sink, diluting with water equal to ten times the volume of liquid.

Books - Readers

Donate working electronic readers to ReUSE. For broken units, Excess and Surplus provides a free electronic waste (E-waste) disposal service.

Books - Textbooks

You can sell used textbooks back to the Cal Student Store, or donate old textbooks to ReUSE.

Please contact Berkeley Facilities Services at fs-newsr@berkeley.edu or (510) 642-1032 if you have a large number of textbooks or to request disposal.

Broken Glass

If you put the glass in a cardboard box or other sturdy container, it can be thrown in the trash. Reference the Sharps Fact Sheet for questions about handling and disposal.

Note: If the glass is contaminated, then it must be disposed of using the Hazardous Waste Program (HWP).

Car Tires

Please contact Berkeley Facilities Services at fs-newsr@berkeley.edu to request a pickup.

Chemicals and Cleaning Agents - Lab or Household

Please log into the Hazardous Waste Program (HWP) to create a waste label and request a pickup.

Note: Some chemicals may safely be poured down the drain. Please reference Drain Disposal Restrictions.

Clothing

Donate old clothing or take clothing in for repair at ReUSE in the MLK Student Union.

Please contact Berkeley Facilities Services at fs-newsr@berkeley.edu if you have a large number of clothing items for disposal.

Confidential Documents

UC Berkeley Mail Services provides a service for the disposal of confidential documents.

Controlled Substances

To request pick up of the unwanted controlled substances complete the following steps:

1. Complete the return forms for controlled substances. Include all required information. Do not sign the return forms. Forms must be signed at the time of EH&S pick-up to document the chain of custody and transfer of compound's ownership from the lab to EH&S.

2. Send the completed forms to CSuse@berkeley.edu

3. EH&S Hazardous Materials Management Team will then contact the requestor to schedule the pick-up time.

4. Disposal documents, signed and dated at the EH&S pick-up, must be kept together with the controlled substances logbooks.

Coolant and Cutting Fluid

Please log into the Hazardous Waste Program (HWP) to create a waste label and request a pickup.

Dead Animals - Research

If you are unsure of how to safely and correctly dispose of animal remains, contact EH&S at (510) 642-3073.

Dead Animals - Roadkill, etc

For urgent requests, please contact Berkeley Facilities Services at (510) 642-1032. For non-urgent requests, please email Facilities

Services at: fs-newsr@berkeley.edu 

Drugs

If you are working in a research facility:

To request pick up of the unwanted controlled substances complete the following steps:

1. Complete the return forms for controlled substances. Include all required information. Do not sign the return forms. Forms must be signed at the time of EH&S pick-up to document the chain of custody and transfer of compound's ownership from the lab to EH&S.

2. Send the completed forms to CSuse@berkeley.edu

3. EH&S Hazardous Materials Management Team will then contact the requestor to schedule the pick-up time.

4. Disposal documents, signed and dated at the EH&S pick-up, must be kept together with the controlled substances logbooks.

If you find drugs on campus, contact EH&S at (510) 642-3073.

DVDs and Other Media

Electronics

Empty Containers Previously Containing Chemicals

Please log into the Hazardous Waste Program (HWP) to create a waste label and request a pickup.

Note: If the total volume of the containers is 5 gallons or less, you can dispose of them in the trash, provided that:

  • No liquid stream comes out when turned upside down (a few drops are okay).
  • They are properly capped.

Exit Signs

If the exit sign contains radioactive Tritium (H-3), call (510) 642-3073 to arrange a pickup. To determine if it contains radioactive materials, look for a trefoil sign Radioactive Warning Sign on the back.

If the exit sign does not contain radioactive materials, please use the free electronic waste (E-waste) disposal service provided by Excess and Surplus.

Explosives

Contact UCPD immediately at 911 or (510) 642-3333 from a cell phone.

Eye Glasses

You may drop them off at any campus optometry clinic.

Fire Extinguisher

Please contact Berkeley Facilities Services at fs-newsr@berkeley.edu to request a pickup.

Flammables

Please log into the Hazardous Waste Program (HWP) to create a waste label and request a pickup.

Food

If you have a large portion of usable food, contact the UC Berkeley Food Pantry or a local food bank for donation. Otherwise, please use a compost or trash receptacle.

Furniture

Hangers

Please drop off at the ReUSE Store on the first floor of MLK Student Union during open hours.

Human Waste

Please contact Berkeley Facilities Services at (510) 642-1032 to request services.

Light bulbs - CFL

Please log into the Hazardous Waste Program (HWP) to create a waste label and request a pickup.

Light bulbs - Fluorescent or LED

Please contact Berkeley Facilities Services at fs-newsr@berkeley.edu to request a pickup.

Light bulbs - Incandescent

If you put the bulb in a cardboard box or other sturdy container, it can be thrown in the trash.

Medication - Prescription and Over-the-counter

Expired or unused prescription and over-the-counter medications, pet medicine, liquids, creams, and controlled substances (i.e., Vicodin, Oxycodone, Morphine) can be taken to the Tang Center pharmacy’s prescription disposal bin. Open to the public.

For Pharmacy hours, click here.

Mercury Thermometers

Please log into the Hazardous Waste Program (HWP) to create a waste label and request a pickup.

Mixed Waste

What is Mixed Waste?

When radioactive materials and hazardous chemicals are combined, the resultant mixture is radioactive mixed waste. Radioactive mixed wastes are the most difficult and expensive waste to dispose of and manage. You will be recharged at full cost for mixed waste disposal fees.

Contact EH&S Before Generating Mixed Wastes

If you will be generating a combination of radioactive and biohazardous or chemical waste, please contact the EH&S Radiation Safety Team for evaluation and pricing.

Mixed Waste Disposal

In addition to the standard Radioactive Waste Program requirements for disposal, mixed waste disposal requires that the waste container be labeled as hazardous waste when the first drop of material is generated. To complete a hazardous waste label, you will use the Hazardous Waste Program (HWP). To use the HWP you will need a CalNet ID and you will have to complete the ~30-minute hazardous waste training. Once completed, follow these steps:

  1. Create a label by filling in the required fields and write “MIXED RADIOACTIVE WASTE” in the comments field,
  2. Print the label, and affix it to each container of mixed waste.
  3. Request a pickup of the mixed waste before 6 months have elapsed. Use the RSIS application available at the EH&S radiation safety website to request a pickup of radioactive and mixed waste, not the HWP. When requesting a pickup in RSIS another label will be printed with the radioactive and chemical details. Both labels must be affixed to the waste container.
  4. After pickup, EH&S will delete the waste item. Small quantities of mixed waste may be rendered non- or less-hazardous by meeting laboratory “Bench Top” treatment regulations. See the EH&S Bench Top Treatment factsheet at the EH&S website.

If you are not sure whether your wastes are mixed wastes, contact radsafety@berkeley.edu to help make the determination.

Nanoparticles

Wastes containing engineered nanoparticles must be disposed of as hazardous waste prior unless EH&S provides written authorization for disposal as non-hazardous.

If the chemical properties are unknown (waste is not flammable, corrosive, or reactive), label and dispose of "Nanoparticle Waste" using the Hazardous Waste Program (HWP).

Needles and Syringes

If you are working in a research facility, there should be specific containers labeled for the disposal of sharps. Please contact your laboratory safety contact if you are unsure about where to locate these containers. Reference the Sharps Fact Sheet for questions about handling and disposal.

If you find sharps on campus and are unsure what to do with them, please contact EH&S at (510) 642-3073 to request pickup.

Note: Do not touch needles are sharps if you are unsure of what may be on them.

Oil and Grease (Animal or Vegetable-Based)

If you are in a restaurant on campus contact a grease recycling vendor for pickup.

If you are not affiliated with a restaurant, freeze the grease in a large freezer and place it in the trash the same day as pickup.

Note: Do NOT drain dispose of grease.

Oil and Grease (Fuel or Petroleum-Based)

Please log into the Hazardous Waste Program (HWP) to create a waste label and request a pickup.

Paint

Please log into the Hazardous Waste Program (HWP) to create a waste label and request a pickup.

Pens and Markers

Donate useable pens and markers to ReUSE. Put unusable pens and markers in the landfill bin.

Pesticides

Please log into the Hazardous Waste Program (HWP) to create a waste label and request a pickup.

Plastic Bags

Recycle them off-campus or put them in the landfill bin.

Presciption (Rx) Drugs

The Tang Center pharmacy now has a prescription disposal bin open to the public.

The pharmacy is open:

Weekdays (M-F): 8:30am-6pm
Saturday: 9am-12:30pm & 1-5pm
Sunday: 11am-3pm

What types of medicine are accepted?

  • Unused and/or expired prescription medication and over-the-counter drugs
  • Pet medicine
  • Liquids and creams

Is there anything that can’t put in the bin?

  • Controlled substances (i.e., Vicodin, Oxycodone, Morphine).
  • Vitamins - please dispose of in the trash.

Radioactive Waste

See Disposal of Radioactive Material.

For specific waste inquiries please contact radsafety@berkeley.edu.

Recombinant DNA

All BSL 1 recombinant DNA molecules must be disinfected prior to disposal unless the waste is generated during an Exempt Experiment (described on the next page). Waste from Exempt Experiments does not require disinfection or treatment prior to disposal. 

BSL 1 recombinant DNA waste that is not exempt must either be

  1. Disinfected by the laboratory and disposed of in the trash or down the drain; OR
  2. Picked up by Environment, Health & Safety (EH&S) for disinfection at an off-site disposal facility (i.e., treated as biohazardous waste).

Examples of the various wastes and their appropriate treatment and disposal methods are provided below. Other disinfection methods will be reviewed by the EH&S Biosafety Officer on a case-by-case basis.

Examples of BSL1 recombinant DNA that must be autoclaved and disposed of as trash

  • E-coli K-12, E-coli DH5@
  • Yeast (Saccharomyces Cerevisciae)
  • Drosophila cultures
  • C. elegans
  • Zebrafish
  • Items such as pipettes, tubes, flasks, and tips used with recombinant DNA cultures, as well as paper items saturated with liquid recombinant DNA cultures

These non-exempt BSL 1 wastes are segregated from the regular trash, placed in autoclave bags and autoclaved until disinfected. After the cycle, the bag may be disposed of as regular trash.

Liquids - aspirated tissue culture media and other liquid waste generated from Risk Group 1 recombinant DNA molecules must be disinfected with bleach and then drain disposed of.

Examples of recombinant DNA waste that must be managed as biohazardous waste

  • Transgenic rodent carcasses
  • Needles, blades and scalpels (regulated sharps) involved in BSL 1 recombinant DNA experiments
  • Recombinant DNA waste that cannot be effectively disinfected (because there is no autoclave or the autoclave is not functioning properly, for example)

This waste must be placed in red biohazardous waste bags and sent off-site for treatment and disposal. Please read and understand our other fact sheets on how to properly store and dispose of biohazardous and sharps waste (including recombinant DNA managed at BSL 2 or BSL 3): Biohazardous Waste Management and Sharps: Handling and Disposal.

Exempt Experiments (Section III-F of the NIH Guidelines)

Recombinant DNA waste generated from “Exempt Experiments” can be placed directly into the regular trash or down the drain without being autoclaved or treated with a chemical disinfectant. To determine if an experiment is exempt, the Committee for Laboratory and Environmental Biosafety (CLEB) will review your submitted Biological Use Authorization (BUA) to verify that the research experiment is in one of the following categories of recombinant DNA experiments. See the flowchart on page 3 for the experiments that are considered to be exempt under the Guidelines.

Additional Resources

Management of BSL 1 Recombinant DNA Waste Fact Sheet

Biohazardous Waste Management in Biosafety Level 2 Laboratories Fact Sheet

Scrap Metal

Sharps - Abandoned

Please contact EH&S at (510) 642-3073 to request a pickup.

Note: Do not touch needles or sharps if you are unsure of what may be on them.

Sharps - Biological

If you are working in a research facility, there should be specific containers labeled for the disposal of sharps. Please contact your laboratory safety contact if you are unsure about where to locate these containers. Reference the Sharps Fact Sheet for questions about handling and disposal.

If you find sharps on campus and are unsure what to do with them, please contact EH&S at (510) 642-3073 to request a pickup.

Note: Do not touch needles or sharps if you are unsure of what may be on them.

Sharps - Chemical

Please log into the Hazardous Waste Program (HWP) to create a waste label and request a pickup. Reference the Sharps Fact Sheet for questions about handling and disposal.

Sharps - Non-Contaminated

If you put the sharps in a cardboard box or other sturdy container, they can be thrown in the trash. Reference the Sharps Fact Sheet for questions about handling and disposal.

Note: If it is a needle, you must dispose of it in an approved biohazard sharps container. There is a sharps disposal bin available in the Tang Center, located on the first floor just off the lobby toward the Radiology waiting room. Also, if you live in a campus residence hall, there are approved sharps containers available.

Sharps - Personal

You are responsible for disposing of your own needles.

Note: There is a sharps disposal bin available in the Tang Center, located on the first floor just off the lobby toward the Radiology waiting room. Also, if you live in a campus residence hall, there are approved sharps containers available.

Shoes

Donate useable shoes to ReUSE in the MLK Student Union. You may drop off un-useable shoes at the Rec Sports Facility to be recycled.

Smoke Detectors

If the smoke detector contains radioactive materials, call (510) 642-3073 to schedule a pickup. To determine if it contains radioactive materials, look inside the unit for a trefoil Radioactive Warning Signsymbol.

If the smoke detector does not contain radioactive materials, please use the free electronic waste disposal service provided by Excess and Surplus.

Styrofoam

  • Ship it back to vendors that will take it back.
  • Reuse it for personal shipping needs.
  • Throw it away in a landfill bin.

Toner Cartridges

Send them, in their original packaging, to Campus Mail Services.

Trees and Plants

For small quantities, use compost or garbage.

For large quantities, please contact Berkeley Facilities Services at fs-newsr@berkeley.edu to request a pickup.

Used Filters

If the filter is not contaminated with hazardous chemicals, dispose of it in the trash.

Otherwise, please log into the Hazardous Waste Program (HWP) to create a waste label and request a pickup.

X-Ray Machine

Contact the radiation safety team at radsafety@berkeley.edu or (510) 642-3073.