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Environment, Health and Safety

Empty Containers

A container that held any hazardous materials (e.g. flammable solvents, toxic solvents, heavy metal salts, etc.) is empty if all wastes have been removed that can be removed using the practices commonly employed to remove materials from that type of container (e.g., pouring, pumping, and aspirating) AND it does not contain acutely hazardous waste.

Acutely Hazardous Waste

If the waste container held acutely hazardous waste, the container MUST be triple rinsed using a solvent capable of removing the residual chemical product before disposing of the container: 

  • The solvent can be water or any liquid that will remove the hazardous residue in the container
  • Make sure you collect wash solvent and add to a compatible hazardous waste accumulation container in the lab


If the container that held acutely hazardous materials is not triple rinsed, then it is not empty and the CONTAINER MUST have a hazardous waste label attached and be properly disposed of as hazardous waste.

Labeling "Empty" Containers

When empty, so it is clear that the container no longer contains hazardous materials, do one of the following:

  • Remove the label
  • Completely deface the label with a marker
  • Tape over the label
  • Place a UB “RCRA Empty” label over the original labels (available from EH&S upon request):
RCRA Label