Disposing chemical containers


by Albert Makendenge

Although empty containers are not regulated as hazardous waste, they should not necessarily be disposed of in the regular waste dumpsters, and below is an outline of the proper disposal routine.

While paper packets cannot be rinsed out; all glass, metal or plastic primary containers (the container that actually held the chemical) should be rinsed out with water at least three times and correctly dispose of the wash so that it does not become a danger.

  • The lids of all the containers should be removed before disposal for the purposes of checking for remains and allowing ventilation and drying.
  • Containers that were used as overpack for the primary container may be placed in regular trash if not contaminated.
  • Glass and plastic containers must be buried deep in an isolated area away from water supplies. If safely possible, break the glasses and punch holes in the plastic ones so that they cannot be used to carry water.
  • Glass or plastic chemical containers which cannot be broken or punched with holes must never be left around in case people use them for some other purpose.
  • Each metal container should be made unusable by punching holes in the top and the bottom and then crushing it. Flattened containers are easier to bury or dispose of.
  • Lastly, never burn chemical containers because they may give off poisonous gases. Never use these containers or any chemical treated materials such as wood, on fires.

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