McMaster University

McMaster University

Waste Disposal

Our work environment generates different types of waste. We produce recyclables, regular garbage or hazardous wastes every day. It is important to direct waste so it can be managed effectively. You should ensure incompatible wastes are not mixed together as this may cause disposal problems. Responsibilities and procedures for the management of hazardous waste is found in RMM 502 Hazardous Waste Management Program

Please note that within the Faculty of Healh Sciences, chemical waste is managed by FHS Safety Office. Please do not send your inventories to EOHSS.

Chemical Waste Disposal

Chemical wastes must be removed from the laboratory at least every 90 days. The waste can be removed more frequently if the amount generated cannot be properly stored in the laboratory. The following process must be followed for chemical waste removal:

  • All waste containers must be securely closed and not present a potential spill hazard during movement.
  • Each waste container must bear a yellow chemical waste label. These labels are available from HSC Stores (Room 1G1).
  • Each label must be filled out in its entirety and the information must correspond with the Chemical Waste Disposal Record.
  • Chemical waste must be classified according to the primary component in the waste container and identified on the yellow chemical waste label.
  • Secondary components must also be identified on the yellow chemical waste label.
  • Once the FHSSO receives the Chemical Waste Disposal Record, arrangements will be made for the waste disposal company to come to your area and remove the chemical waste.
  • Do not transport the waste to the FHS Safety Office.


Unknown Chemical Waste (Field Testing)

  • For chemicals that are unknown. RPR Environmental must perform field tests to characterize the waste. The cost for this is $250 per unknown sample. The laboratory supervisor will be responsible for covering this fee.


To Complete the Form

Complete the series of boxes at the top of the page inserting the information requested. All information has to be completed in order to move the process along.

  1. The unique number that appears on the yellow waste label goes into the first column titled “Item #”.
  2. Enter the pH of the waste. If it is below 7.0 it is acidic, if it s above 7.0 it is basic. See SDS, the waste section of your SOP or direct measurements for this.
  3. Write the chemical name(s) in the third column. You must list all the chemicals in this column that are associated with a single Item #.
  4. Identify if the chemical is a liquid or solid in the “Physical Form” column.
  5. Identify the volume of the container in the final column.
  6. Send completed forms to

Empty Chemical Bottles

See Appendix G of RMM502 Hazardous Waste Management

General Information

Special requests can be made for lab decommissioning. Depending on the size of the decommissioning this may be a dedicated collection from the lab. The Chemical Waste Disposal Record must be used for this purpose. All chemical waste must be identified before being processed. If you have a chemical that you cannot identify contact the FHSSO. There may be a cost associated with the process to identify the material. Chemicals waiting for transport must be stored properly in a secure and appropriate location. All incompatible chemicals must be stored separately. Consult the SDS for specific storage needs. Chemical waste must be removed from the laboratory at least every 90 days. Chemical Waste Disposal Records should be sent to FHSSO by the Thursday before the scheduled pickup.

Biological Waste Disposal

Biological waste must be segregated carefully, packaged security and brought to your local biological waste closet. For more information please click here.

Biological waste containers may be:

  • yellow bag / box
  • red bag / box
  • yellow bag / tote
  • yellow or red bucket
  • wax lined barrel


When placing biological waste in a waste closet ensure that:

  • Boxes or totes are NOT overfilled. Containers must not be more than 25 pounds regardless of the weight restrictions printed on the container. This is for ergonomic reasons.
  • Boxes are sealed. Boxes need to be properly taped and not leaking to be picked up. Totes need their lids seated correctly. Buckets need their lids hammered on tight.
  • Boxes must be labeled with lab name and extension in case follow up is required. Totes do not need to be labelled as such. Buckets do not need to be labelled as such.
  • Containers that do not meet this criteria will not be removed and the lab or area manager will be contacted to ensure compliance with the removal requirements.


The biowaste process for the HSC and MDCL buildings is changing on February 23, 2022. Please click this link to read the UPDATED memo.

New poster for HSC / MDCL Yellow Bag Tote waste stream.

If you see any kind of hazardous waste sitting, and it doesn't seem to have an owner, report it to for followup.

Cytotoxic Waste

Cytotoxic waste is required to be segregated and labelled separately from regular anatomical (red) and regular microbiological (yellow) waste. Please see the definitions below.

"cytotoxic drug"
means a drug that was designed or selected for its capacity to selectively destroy cells of a certain type, including antineoplastic drugs and cancer drugs that selectively kill dividing cells.

"cytotoxic waste"
means waste consisting of,

  1. a cytotoxic drug
  2. a medicinal chemical, or
  3. waste containing a waste listed in (a) or (b) including waste that is tubing, tissues, needles, gloves, vials, preparation materials, ampoules, cleaning materials and personal protective equipment.


If you produce cytotoxic waste, please contact for assistance in setting up this stream.

Contacting Crothall (Housekeeping for HHS Sites)

If a large quantity of supplies will be required it may need to be special ordered. Please provide a week's notice if possible.

Crothall has posted a memo regarding requests for service. Please listen to the instructions to call out. You require to be on a landline extension within the hospital. Users in the MDCL building use this process to request biowaste supplies and pickup. If you dial the pager extension 87 and you receive an error, please notify

Last updated: 2022-05-20

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