Uncontaminated Laboratory Waste


Disposing of hazardous laboratory wastes through ordinary trash is illegal and dangerous. Keeping ordinary trash out of the hazardous waste management streams helps to minimize the amount of hazardous waste generated at UVM, promotes the proper disposal of all waste streams generated in the laboratory, and reduces unnecessary expense.  

Lab personnel are required to remove regular trash from the lab and place in a common trash container (usually in the hallway) supplied by UVM Custodial Services.  Custodial Services staff remove the trash from the central container to a dumpster. If a custodian suspects that a laboratory is improperly disposing of hazardous laboratory waste, they will report the situation to Risk Management & Safety.

Broken Glass Boxes in Labs

Laboratory glassware cannot currently be recycled. Uncontaminated broken glass should be disposed of in a cardboard box labeled "Broken glass" or in a "Glass Box" purchased from a Vendor. UVM Custodians will remove full glass boxes from a lab if they are:

  • small (less than 20 inches tall),
  • weigh 30-40 lbs max
  • all flaps taped closed,
  • labelled as broken glass/ trash and placed in the hallway.  
Lab personnel are responsible for handling and disposing of large or heavy boxes of broken glass. If you have a large glass box, the lab is responsible for getting it to the compactor or dumpster for your specific lab building.
Please use a cart (don't carry the box) to transport glass boxes.

Uncontaminated Laboratory Waste & Broken Glass Box

Uncontaminated Laboratory Waste & Broken Glass Boxes are available to UVM labs to help remove UNCONTAMINATED laboratory waste from both the biohazardous and chemical waste streams. The boxes and black bag liners are supplied by UVM Risk Management & Safety.
Items that are safe for trash, but may be suspect to a custodian, waste hauler or landfill facility should be disposed of in the uncontaminated laboratory waste box. Each box is labeled on all four sides and is provided with a black plastic liner.
Never line an uncontaminated lab waste box with a red bag liner.


What Goes In The Uncontaminated Lab Waste Box? 

Uncontaminated broken glass and "pointy things" (items that might puncture a plastic bag) should be placed in the Uncontaminated Laboratory Waste & Broken Glass Box. Examples of items that should be disposed in these boxes include any of the following that are not contaminated with hazardous chemicals, biologicals or radioactive materials:
  • broken glass
  • serological pipettes 
  • pipette tips
  • glass pasteur pipettes
  • empty syringes (NO NEEDLES)      
  • empty conical tubes
  • empty eppendorf tubes
  • empty vials
As a reminder, uncontaminated gloves, paper towels, plastic wrap and small boxes can be placed into regular lab trash and recycling and do not need to be disposed of in the uncontaminated laboratory waste boxes.
Chemically contaminated items must be disposed of as hazardous waste.  Items contaminated with biohazardous material must be disposed as biowaste. Materials that could puncture the box (Needles, razor blades, glass slides & coverslips, etc) must be managed as sharps.

Close & Dispose

When full, lab personnel tie, tape or securely close the bag liner in some way and then close the box - Be careful not to overfill the Uncontaminated Laboratory Waste & Broken Glass Box.  Lab Personnel remove full boxes from the lab, bring them to and place them inside a dumpster or compactor. Custodial services will not remove these containers from labs or hallways. Never abandon a Uncontaminated Laboratory Waste & Broken Glass Box on a loading dock or biowaste shed.

Locations to Pick-up Boxes:

  • Colchester Research Facility: 1st floor, Biowaste Storage Room
  • Discovery: ask Travis or Christine
  • Dewey:  4th floor, Room 421
  • Given:  1st floor Loading Dock, in black metal cabinet
  • HSRF:  2nd floor Loading Dock, in metal cabinet
  • Marsh Life Science:  Basement, outside the Biology Stockroom
  • Stafford:  2nd floor Mail Room
  • Terrill 111 Freezer/Equipment Room
  • Votey 2nd floor Autoclave room

**If you do not work in one of the buildings listed above or cannot access these locations, please email safety@uvm.edu to request delivery of uncontaminated waste boxes to your lab.

For more information on how to properly segregate all of your laboratory waste, please see the UVM Waste Disposal Chart poster. If you would like a printed copy of the poster (11x17), contact Risk Management & Safety.