Hazardous Waste Standard

Waste will be generated regardless of the type of work. Whether this waste is hazardous or not, an integral part of planning new work is planning for the safe and responsible removal of the waste generated.

Do not begin new work until you have determined:

  • The types of waste you will generate
  • The amounts of waste you will generate
  • A plan to dispose of the waste

This page provides guidance on the proper segregation, packaging, and labelling practices for hazardous waste at the University. If after reading this page you still need assistance, contact your supervisor then the Safety Office.

On this page

Waste segregation and handling

All hazardous waste generated at the University is disposed of through the Environmental Safety Facility (ESF). For our personnel to efficiently and safely handle the wastes, they must be segregated where they are generated.

Segregation, packaging, and labelling instructions are provided for each type of waste you are likely to generate. Please do not bring household waste to the ESF. The ESF is strictly for the collection and handling of wastes generated at the University of Waterloo.

If you create, segregate, package or label hazardous waste, you are required to complete the Chemical Waste Segregation (SO2070) online training module in LEARN. All researchers, students, and faculty members working in research laboratories in the Faculties of Science, Engineering, and Health must complete this course.

Waste drop-off and pickup

The most efficient method of removing properly segregated, packaged and labelled waste from a laboratory is for the individual responsible for generating the waste to bring it to one of the waste drop-off locations on campus at a consistent interval. Do not store waste longer than it is needed, it can lead to dangerous situations. If you intend on removing six or more items of waste from your location, you will need to pre-arrange a waste pick-up, contact the ESF.

Waste drop-off procedures have changed. Please ensure waste bottles (liquids and solids) are accompanied by a Waste Profile Form. The form should mimic the label, indicating percentages and concentrations of materials within the containers. 

Download the Waste Profile Form (how to fill it out).

Locations, hours, bookings and contact information

Booking an appointment

Appointments are required to dispose of waste at our waste facilities. Use the waste booking calendar to book an appointment. Book appointments using the links in the table below. Bookings must be made using a WatIam address. Individuals without an appointment will be turned away. 


All items must be fully labelled using a waste label and the Waste Profile Form filled out before leaving the lab to come to the waste facility. Waste labels may be picked up from your waste facility during your appointment or from the Safety Office at COM 116.


All chemical waste must be transported in secondary containment. See the Transporting Waste Guideline for more details.

Lab clean-outs

Lab clean-outs require more resources than can be accommodated during a regular waste drop-off appointment. These must be scheduled outside of facility operating hours by contacting esf@uwaterloo.ca

UW Waste drop-off locations and hours of operation

Facility Hours

Environmental Safety Facility (ESF)

  • Located along the first floor link to the EIT and ESC buildings in room ESC 150
  • Main campus traffic flow guide (please review before coming to your appointment)

Monday - Friday: 11:00 am to 12:00 pm

Book appointments through the Chemical Safety SharePoint page


  • Located at 10 Victoria Street South, Kitchener (Room PHR 1016) 
  • Do not leave waste unattended
  • Pharmacy traffic flow guide (please review before coming to your appointment)

Monday: 2:00 pm - 2:30 pm

Book appointments through the Chemical Safety SharePoint page

Engineering 6 (E6) 

  • Located in E6 (Room 1022)
  • Do not leave waste unattended

Tuesday: 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Book appointments through the Chemical Safety SharePoint page

Douglas Wright Engineering (DWE)

  • Located in DWE (Room 1521A)
  • Do not leave waste unattended

Tuesday: 1:00 pm - 1:50 pm

Book appointments through the Chemical Safety SharePoint page


Schedule a Tuesday pick-up through the Chemical Safety SharePoint page

Waste segregation

Anatomical wastes

The anatomical waste stream includes any identifiable body part and also includes pathological specimens, biopsy specimens, and tissue taken during surgery or autopsy.

Biological wastes

Biological wastes are wastes that contain or have been contaminated by a biohazardous agent. This includes:

  • Human, animal, or plant pathogens
  • Recombinant nucleic acids
  • Human or animal, blood, bodily fluids, tissues, cultures, cells, or other potentially infectious material
  • Contaminated materials include tissue culture dishes and flasks, petri dishes, centrifuge tubes, test tubes, pipettes, vials, absorbent materials, used gloves, face masks, soiled lab coats or clothing.

See the Biological Waste Segregation Guideline for details segregation requirements.

Chemical waste

Solids, liquids, or gases containing or contaminated with any of the following:

  • Flammable solvents
  • Leachable toxic materials (heavy metals, pesticides)
  • Corrosives (hydrochloric acid, potassium hydroxide pellets)
  • Reactives (oxidizers, cyanides, sulphides, explosives, unstable materials and water reactive materials – sodium metal, benzoyl peroxide)
  • Toxic materials including carcinogens, mutagens, teratogens, and other items that are considered chronically toxic
  • PCB’s
  • Non-returnable gas cylinders

Chemical waste segregation is outlined in the Hazardous Liquid Chemical Waste Flowchart and the Hazardous Solid Chemical Waste Flowchart. Chemical waste not in the original container must be accompanied with a Waste Profile Form (see How to Fill Out the Waste Profile Form) and labelled appropriately.

Hazardous (Household) Waste

Used electronic waste (e.g. computers, monitors, cell phones, mice, keyboards), batteries (e.g. lithium ion, nickel metal hydride, alkaline, lead, mercury), paints and paint solvents.

This only applies to waste generated on campus. Items from home should not be brought to campus for disposal. 

Note of Equipment Disposal:

  • Equipment for disposal needs to have all liquids drained from the instrument (e.g., oils. Freons, water) before it can be sent for disposal (more info).
  • Plant Operations needs to decommission and tag fridges for disposal before they will be taken (more info).

See the Household Hazardous Waste Disposal Guidance.


Mixtures include:

  • Biological and chemical wastes mixed: inactivate biological waste and segregate into it's own container
  • Biological and radioactive wastes mixed: inactivate biological waste and dispose of as radioactive waste
  • Chemical and radioactive wastes mixed: segregate and dispose of as radioactive waste

Contact the ESF at esf@uwaterloo.ca for advice.

Radiological Waste

Sharps and Glass Waste

Glass and Sharps Waste are two distinct categories and are treated differently. These include: 

  • Broken glass: Glass, microscope slides
  • Sharps: syringe assemblies, needles, scalpel blades, razor blades

See the Sharps and Glass Waste Segregation Guideline.

When chemical bottles are empty they must be cleaned/rinsed of any remainder residue. Labels should be defaced, then they may be recycled in normal recycling. ESF accepts drop off of bottles less than 4L during the normal waste appointments during the drop off of lab waste for reuse.

Bottles may be recycled in any of the container recycling bins on campus (see commonly used locations).

Bottles that cannot be cleaned will be brought to the ESF as contaminated chemical waste as per the Hazardous Solid Chemical Waste Flowchart.


If the components of the waste is unknown and the waste profile form / label cannot be completed, the waste must be brought down to the ESF with a filled in Unknown Chemical Analysis Billing Sheet. Unknowns will not be accepted without a completed Unknown Analysis form.

Unknowns must be brought down to the ESF to be disposed off and not stored in the lab. This is especially important if the unknown has chemical residues, crystals, or other evidence of deterioration.

Contact the ESF at esf@uwaterloo.ca for advice.

Additional resources and information