Disposal Frequently Asked Questions
- What Do I Do With Aerosol Cans?
- To be considered empty, an aerosol can must contain NO propellant and NO product, and must be at atmospheric pressure. UNC regulates all partially empty spray cans as Hazardous Waste because they may still contain ignitable propellants, chlorinated solvents, flammable material, or toxic substances.
- Request a pick-up of your aerosol cans by logging in and filling out this form.
- Contact the UNC EHS at 919-962-5723 for assistance with disposal of aerosol cans.
- Store Aerosol cans in a Closed container labeled as “Aerosol Cans“.
- Return spray cans that malfunction (for example, the tip breaks off) to the manufacturer or dispose of them as Hazardous Waste.
- Establish a distribution control system to limit aerosol cleaner use.
- Consider phasing out the use of spray cans containing hazardous chemicals in your shop.
- Consider using refillable containers that use compressed air as the propellant.
- Do Not discard partially empty spray cans in the trash.
- Do Not puncture any aerosol cans.
- Do Not spray aerosols in/around other solvents or parts washers. Hazardous Waste contamination may result.
- Do Not purchase products that contain chlorofluorocarbons or hazardous chemicals.
- How Do I Handle Fluorescent Bulbs?
- Fluorescent Lamps, including compact fluorescent lights, contain mercury, a toxic metal. When a lamp is broken or placed in a landfill or incinerator, the mercury can contaminate the airs, surface water, and ground water. UNC promotes recycling of fluorescent bulbs, and has a system in place to recycle them. EHS may be able to provide boxes for accumulation.
- Recycle your fluorescent lamps.
- Use low-mercury, green tipped bulbs. These are lower in mercury but do still contain mercury at a level that can cause contamination if broken.
- Store all spent bulbs in Closed boxes, labeled as “Used Bulbs” and Date the container with the first date that a bulb was put into the box. This box must be kept Closed unless a bulb is actively being added to the box.
- Bulb boxes should be brought to the EHS Storage Facility across from Surplus Property so that they may be collected for recycle.
- Contact Housekeeping immediately if you break a bulb in a lab or office environment.
- Do Not put used fluorescent bulbs in the trash.
- Do Not intentionally break or crush lamps because mercury will be released.
- What Do I Do With Photographic Waste?
- Discarded film and spent fixer contain silver and pose a potential threat to the environment if improperly discarded. Silver waste should be managed through recycling.
- Recycle all discarded film. Separate the film by type (microfiche, photoprocessing, or x-ray). Place each type of material in a separate box or container.
- Label the containers as to the film type such as “X-Ray film for Recycle”.
- Request a pick-up of your film.
- Do ensure that your department has a program in place to filter your photo or x-ray effluent by adding a silver filter, if applicable.
- If you have large amounts of fixer waste to collect, contact EHS. We can supply a pail or drum for accumulation.
- Do Not allow spent fixer to be disposed into any drains.
- Do Not place discarded film into the garbage.
- What Do I Do With Lead Acid Batteries?
- Lead acid batteries pose a potential threat to human health and the environment if improperly discarded. The two main components of these batteries are sulfuric acid and lead. Both lead and sulfuric acid can contaminate solid and ground water. Sulfuric acid is highly corrosive, and lead has been linked to health effects in humans, particularly children.
- Properly manage used batteries by having them picked up by:
- The wholesaler or retailer from whom you purchased the batteries.
- A facility that recycles the batteries by extracting the lead.
- A collection center that sends batteries to a smelter or recycler.
- Smaller Lead Acid Batteries may be picked up by sending EHS a request.
- Avoid long term storage of batteries.
- Store batteries upright in a secure, covered location on a sealed surface. Check for leaks often.
- Tape or cap all terminals.
- Get a receipt from the recycling company and maintain records for at least five years.
- Do Not place lead acid batteries in the garbage.
- Do Not pour battery acid onto the ground or into a drain.
- Do Not take lead acid batteries to a landfill.
- Do Not store batteries outside, unprotected from the weather.
- Do Not pile batteries more than four high.
- Properly manage used batteries by having them picked up by:
- How Do I Handle Other Batteries?
- Dry Cell batteries can be either single use or rechargeable. Some types of dry cell batteries contain heavy metals including mercury, nickel, cadmium, and silver. All of these metals can adversely affect human health and the environment if not recycled. If these batteries are discarded into the trash, they either end up in a landfill or are incinerated and can cause ground water and air pollution.
- Recycle your used batteries by placing them in a container labeled “Batteries for Recycle”. Recent Dept. of Transportation regulations require all batteries to have their ends or terminals taped or capped prior to transport. Keep the lid closed unless you are adding batteries. Separate them out by type. Then you should request a pick-up.
- Purchase batteries that contain less hazardous ingredients. For example, use alkaline batteries instead of mercury button cells.
- Use rechargeable batteries whenever possible.
- Reduce battery usage. Consider purchasing plug-in products instead of battery powered products.
- Do Not place rechargeable nickel-cadmium, button cells, mercuric oxide, silver oxide, lithium, or lead acid batteries in the trash.
- How Do I Handle Paint Wastes?
- Paint operations generate waste paint in three main areas:
- Solvents used in cleanup operations,
- Leftover paint after completion of a project, and
- Volatile Organic Compounds emitted to the atmosphere.
- Use paint and solvents with the lowest possible VOC content. Avoid oil based paints and paints containing metals. Use latex paints whenever possible.
- Limit your use of thinner to the maximum extent possible. Use cleaning solvent the maximum number of times before disposal.
- Try to practice good inventory control. But only enough paint to complete the job.
- Keep all paint and solvent containers closed when not in use to minimize evaporation and prevent spills.
- Use an industrial rag service to avoid having to treat solvent rags as hazardous waste.
- Contact EHS for assistance with disposal of paint and paint related material.
- If you collect paint or solvent waste in drums, keep the lid closed at all times, unless adding material, and label the container “Used Paint” or another applicable name.
- Do Not discharge any paint, solvent, or paint cleanup wash water into storm drains, surface water, or onto the ground.
- Do Not dispose of paint filters in a dumpster if you are using oil based paints.
- What Do I Do With Used Oil?
- Additives for making oil lubricate better, combined with contaminants that enter the oil through normal engine wear or equipment operation, cause used oil to be considered a damaging environmental pollutant if not managed properly. North Carolina’s hazardous regulations exempt used oil if
- it has not been mixed or contaminated with hazardous wastes and
- it is sent offsite for recycling or burned for energy recovery.
The exemption is available only if proper records are maintained. Transmission fluid and most other equipment lubricants are crude-based petroleum products and therefore can be mixed with used oil. Used oil must not be contaminated with hazardous solvents. If used oil is not recycled, it must be tested to determine if it is a hazardous waste.
- Keep used oil in a separate container, clearly labeled “Used Oil.”
- Recycle used oil through the services of a used oil recycler and transporter registered with NC.
- Keep accurate records of used oil testing and shipping for five years.
- Clean up any spilled used oil immediately. Then submit the collected waste for pickup to EHS.
- Keep drums closed unless adding material.
- Do Not mix used oil with even small amounts of hazardous wastes or solvents, such as degreasers or carburetor cleaner.
- Do Not pour used motor oil onto the ground or dispose of used oil in a storm drain, septic tank, sewer, or dumpster.
- How Do I Handle Used Oil Filters?
- Used oil filters must be thoroughly hot-drained of all oil prior to disposal. Hot-draining generally means draining oil close to or at engine temperature. Oil filters must be gravity hot-drained by one of the following methods:
- Puncture the filter anti-drainback valve or the filter dome end and hot drain for 12-24 hours;
- Hot drain and crush; or
- Dismantle and hot-drain.
Filters that have been gravity hot-drained by one of these methods can then be placed in the trash.
- Hot-drain, crush, split, and/or process oil filters by other means to remove the oil from the filter.
- Keep processed filters in a separate container labeled “Used Oil Filters.”
- Put oil drained from filters into your used oil container.
- Do Not put undrained filters into the trash.
- Do Not put terne plated (an alloy of tin and lead) oil filters in the dumpster. They are considered hazardous waste due to the lead content.
- What Do I Do With Absorbents?
- Absorbents are typically used to clean up spills in repair shops. Absorbent material can be granular (kitty litter type) or made of foam. Absorbent foam pads can be used to absorb spilled oil and then pressed to remove the oil so the pad can be reused. Absorbent books or pigs can be used to reduce the amount of absorbent material needed for cleanup by initially diking the spill. Absorbent usage can be reduced by practicing good housekeeping procedures such as the use of drip pans, funnels, and detection and repair of leaks.
- Use drip pans, keep lids on, and repair equipment leaks to prevent spills and avoid the need for absorbents.
- Use the minimum amount of absorbent to complete the job.
- Keep absorbent materials nearby or in a well placed spill kit to quickly clean up any spills.
- Clean up any spilled material immediately. If the spilled material is hazardous, then submit the collected waste for pickup after labeling the container properly.
- Do Not put used absorbents into drains or on the ground.
- Do Not mix non-hazardous material with absorbents containing hazardous waste.
- How Do I Handle Antifreeze?
- Recycle your antifreeze through a recycling service.
- Keep antifreeze containers closed at all times except when adding material.
- Keep antifreeze containers protected from the elements.
- Label antifreeze containers as “Used Antifreeze” or “Reconditioned or Recycled Antifreeze.”
- Use dedicated antifreeze collection equipment, including funnels, transfer pans or buckets, and well maintained storage containers.
- Do Not dispose of antifreeze on the ground, in a storm drain, septic tank, or well.
- Do Not mix radiator flush chemicals with used antifreeze. Dispose of it separately.
- What Do I Do With Brake or Carburetor Cleaner?
- Brake and carburetor cleaners normally contain hazardous solvents. Their use can contaminate other, non-hazardous solvents. Examples of chlorinated solvents are chlorofluorocarbons, carbon tetrachloride, 1,1,1-trichloroethane, and chlorobenzene. EHS can help you determine if and solvents contain chlorinated compounds.
- Consider replacing brake and carburetor cleaners that contain chlorinated solvents with non or less hazardous cleaners.
- Keep brake and carburetor cleaner in their original containers and keep them closed when not in use to avoid evaporation.
- Manage your spent chlorinated brake cleaners, carburetor cleaners, and cleanup residue as hazardous wastes.
- Collect chlorinated brake cleaner residue separately from other waste to avoid cross contamination.
- Keep waste containers closed and labeled as “Chlorinated Waste.” Request a pickup of your container.
- Do Not dispose of brake or carburetor cleaner down any storm drain, septic system, sanitary sewer, dumpster, or on the ground.
- Do Not use chlorinated brake or carburetor cleaners in or around other solvents. Do not mix them with any other solvents by spraying them near or over open parts washers, or open pans used to collect antifreeze or used oil.
- How Do I Handle Shop Rags?
- Shop rags may or may not be a hazardous waste depending on how they were used. If rags are used with hazardous solvents, the used rags potentially become a hazardous waste. The recommended way to deal with rags is to use an industrial rag service/laundry. Shop rags collected and laundered by a licensed launderer are not considered hazardous waste as long as they are reused. If a rag service is not used, then you must determine that your rags are non hazardous before putting them in your trash.
- Keep soiled rags in a closed container labeled “Used Shop Rags.”
- Use less hazardous cleaning solvents whenever possible.
- Keep lids closed on all containers to prevent spills.
- Set up a system to limit rag use and reuse whenever possible.
- Do Not use disposable paper towels, wipes, or rags if the materials are expected to come in contact with a hazardous waste.
- Do Not throw dirty wipes or rags into a dumpster if they have come in contact with hazardous waste.
- Do Not saturate rags.
- Do Not add shop rags containing free liquids to the rag collection bin.
- Do Not dispose of solvents by pouring them into containers of used shop rags.
- What Do I Do With Solvent Waste?
- Solvents, often from parts washers, are typically the largest hazardous waste streams generated by repair shops. Solvent use, and waste, can be reduced by eliminating unnecessary solvent cleaning requirements and extending solvent use.
- Make sure you understand the chemical properties of the solvent you are using and whether safer, non or less hazardous, solvents are available.
- Use solvents with the lowest possible volatile organic compounds, VOCs, content.
- Install drip racks, pans, or other devices to prevent spillage.
- Do Not discharge any solvents into a septic tank, sanitary sewer, storm drain, surface water, or on the ground.
- Do Not clean parts unnecessarily.
- Do Not mix hazardous and non-hazardous solvents.
- How Do I Handle Lead Solder Waste?
- Lead has been linked to health effects in humans, particularly children, and can contaminate soil and ground water. Even lead free solder can still contain up to ten percent lead. Discarded lead solder and solder dross are hazardous wastes and should be managed as such.
- Properly manage discarded solder and dross by placing the material in a container with a lid. Label the container as “Lead Solder Waste for Recycling.”
- Keep the lid on and closed unless adding material.
- Manage rags that have been used to wipe solder spills as hazardous waste.
- Use solder made from less hazardous materials, such as silver and nickel, whenever possible.
- Request the pickup of your containers of solder and dross waste.
- Do Not place lead solder and dross in the garbage.
- Do Not place rags used for wiping lead solder spills in the garbage.
- How Do I Manage Parts Washers?
- Spent parts washer solvents normally represent the largest waste source of vehicle repair shops. Spent parts washer solvents can be a hazardous waste but non-hazardous aqueous solvents for parts washers are now the norm. Avoid contamination of parts washer solvents with other hazardous wastes such as degreasers, brake cleaners, etc.
- Utilize the services of a reputable waste hauler.
- Call EHS for help in determining if the sludge and spent solvents are hazardous.
- If you have not already done so, consider switching to a water based parts washer that does not use petroleum based solvents.
- Keep accurate records of spent solvent shipments and disposal for a minimum of five years.
- Do Not dispose of spent parts washer solvents by pouring them on the ground or into drains, or by evaporating them in the air.
- Do Not mix parts washer solvents with any other wastes, including used oil.
- Do Not use aerosol spray cans near your parts washer.
- How Do I Manage Freon?
- If freon is improperly handled during the servicing of car or truck air conditioners, it could be released into the atmosphere. The refrigerant must be recovered by a qualified technician.
- Recover or recycle waste Freon on the premises using EPA approved recycling/recovery equipment with a certified operator.
- Make sure technicians obtain EPA approved training.
- Manage filters from Freon recovery equipment as hazardous waste.
- Keep records of the dates and quantities of Freon recovered and recycled.
- Do Not evaporate or vent Freon to the atmosphere.
- Do Not perform service on motor vehicle air conditioners without the proper refrigerant recovery/recycling equipment.
- How Do I Manage Caustic Degreaser Solutions?
- Some repair shops use caustic tanks for cleaning greasy parts. When the solution is changed, the spent solution and sludge typically are hazardous wastes due to their corrosivity and heavy metal content. The spent solvents and sludge must be handled, stored, and disposed of as hazardous waste.
- Accumulate all sludges and spent solvents from caustic (alkaline) degreaser containers in a closed, labeled container.
- Consider alternative cleaning methods such as detergent based (aqueous) parts washers.
- Do Not dispose of spent caustic cleaner down any drain or on the ground.
- Do Not dispose of caustic cleaner in a dumpster.
- What Do I Do With Household Waste?
- If you have batteries, paints, bulbs, solvents, etc that are household waste, they may be taken to the Household Hazardous Waste Collection on Eubanks Road. Durham and Wake counties have similar collection areas as well.