Environmental Health & Safety

Waste Management

UC Risk & Safety Software Applications


Waste management is the collection, transport, processing, recycling or disposal of waste materials. Our Waste Management program help you manage hazardous chemical, radioactive, medical and other wastes safely and legally. We deliver online Waste Pickup Services where you can request pickup of hazardous, biohazardous, or radioactive waste.



Hazardous Waste Management training

Biohazardous and Medical Waste Disposal Requirements
Closing containers
Empty container management

UCR Empty Containers Fact Sheet

DTSC Empty Containers Fact Sheet
Hazardous Waste Disposal Requirements poster
Hazardous Waste Determination Guidance

Hazardous Chemicals list
No Sharp in Trash sign
Radioactive Waste Management (Radiation Safety Manual)

Hazardous Waste Determination Guidance

See this Hazardous Waste Determination Guidance document for information and links to resources to help you determine whether or not your waste is hazardous.

Hazardous Chemical Waste

Federal and State regulations define hazardous wastes as a substance which poses a hazard to human health or the environment when improperly managed. A chemical waste is considered hazardous if it is either listed on one of the lists found in Federal or State regulations or if it exhibits one or more of the four following characteristics:

  1. Ignitable - ignitable wastes generally are liquids with a flash point below 60°C or 140°F (however, just because a material has a higher flash point, it still cannot be drain disposed).
  2. Corrosive - corrosive wastes are generally aqueous wastes with a pH less than or equal to two (2) or greater than or equal to 12.5 (although UCLA policy includes any waste that is not neutral).
  3. Reactive - reactive wastes are those wastes that are unstable, explosive, capable of detonation or react violently with water.
  4. Toxic - a chemical that poses a hazard to health or the environment (this can be a gray area).

To assist in waste determination, review the Hazardous Chemicals List.

Waste Dispoal Requirements Poster
Waste Disposal Requirements Poster 

What are the guidelines for handling hazardous chemical waste?

The proper management of hazardous waste is essential to protect the health and safety of the University community and to ensure compliance with laws and regulations. 

Make sure that no hazardous materials are placed into regular solid waste containers, flushed down the drain or otherwise inappropriately disposed. If there is any doubt, contact EH&S Hazardous Waste Operations at (951) 827-4248 or (951) 827-5518.

Whenever possible, store flammable waste liquids and waste corrosive liquids in a cabinet designed for storage of these classes of chemicals.

Containers marked with biohazard or radioactive warning labels only are not acceptable for chemical or mixed waste disposal. Never use orange biohazard bags, these are illegal in California. All chemical waste must be accumulated and stored in appropriate containers. This does not include red biohazard bags.

Good housekeeping must be maintained at all times in any designated hazardous waste storage location. All storage containers should be inspected daily to monitor for leaks or storage practice deficiencies that could lead to leaks or spills. A container holding hazardous waste must always be closed during storage, except when it is necessary to add or remove waste.

The use of secondary contaiment is necessary to guard against leaking material escaping in such a manner that will compromise safety or the environment.

Biohazardous and Medical Waste


Refer to this Biohazardous and Medical Waste Requirements poster for detailed information on containers, labeling, and storage of all types of biohazardous and medical waste.

What are the requirements for handling biohazardous and medical waste? 

  1.  Label a red biohazard bag with building and room number before filling it.
    For research Plant and Soil waste only, clear bag with red biohazard symbol is preferred.
  2.  Place the waste in the red biohazard bag (orange bags are illegal in California). Do not place glass pipettes or anything that will puncture the plastic bag. Rigid objects such as transfer pipettes can be decontaminated by exposure to a 10% household bleach solution for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Place autoclave tape on the bag to confirm autoclave attainment of adequate sterilization conditions.
  4. Contaminated waste must be stored in a labeled, rigid, puncture-proof container with a tight-fitting lid and biohazard symbol on all visible sides and the top.
  5. To dispose waste after autoclaving, take the biohazard bag directly to the building dumpster or make special arrangements with building services.
  6.  All waste must be decontaminated and disposed within seven (7) days of generation if stored at a temperature above 0°C.
  7. All waste must be disposed within 90 days if stored at or below 0 °C.
  8.  Place all sharps in a red sharps container that is rigid, leak proof, and has the international biohazard symbol. Do not fill container more than ¾ full. 

What are autoclave requirements for biohazard and medical waste treatment?

  1. The autoclave must be spore-tested monthly and all test results must be kept on file at the department for three (3) years. For guidance, contact EH&S Biosafety at 951-827-5528.
  2. The autoclave must have a chart recorder. All charts must be dated and kept by the department for three (3) years.
  3. All waste treatment runs must be listed on the autoclave log and the logs must be kept by the department for three (3) years.

What are the storage area requirements for biohazardous and medical waste?

  1.  Biohazardous and medical waste storage areas must have warning signs on, or adjacent to, exterior doors, gates, or lids in English and Spanish:


  1. The biohazardous and medical waste storage area must be either locked or under direct supervision or surveillance, and remain closed to prevent unauthorized access. 

How do I request pickup of waste sharps containers using WASTe?

  1. Login to WASTe at https://ehs.ucop.edu/waste/#/ and create a Biological tag type, or if your sharps are contaminated with hazardous chemicals, create a Chemical tag type using the existing profile for sharps contaminated with hazardous chemicals.
  2. Update the sharps container tag status in WASTe to Ready for Pickup and EH&S will pick up the container.

How do I request new sharps containers from EH&S?

Contact EH&S Waste Pickup Services at radiobiowastepickup@ucr.edu to request new sharps containers.

How do I request replacement sharps containers using WASTe?

  1. If you have a sharps container for pickup, create a Biological tag type in WASTe, click the checkbox at Replacement Sharps Container? If you are using the Chemical tag type, request replacement sharps container at Comments.
  2. Update the sharps container tag status in WASTe to Ready for Pickup and EH&S will pick up the sharps container and bring a replacement.

What are the guidelines for handling physically hazardous waste (sharps)?

Uncontaminated broken glass and other sharp objects must be placed in a box for broken glass. Boxes designed to collect broken glass are available thought a varity of vendors including the UCR Campus Storehouse and Fisher Safety.

Print a copy of the sign below and post in your space as a reminder to dispose sharps waste in appropriate containers:

No Sharps in Trash Sign

  • Medical sharps must be collected in a rigid red sharps container labeled with the biohazard symbol
  • New sharps containers are available by contacting radiobiowastepickup@ucr.edu
  • Replacement sharps containers are available by checking the "Replacement Sharps Container?" checkbox when you create a new WASTe Biological type sharps container tag, or by entering a request for a replacement sharps container in "Comments" on a WASTe Chemical type sharps container tag 

How do I request a hazardous waste pickup?

  • WASTe for chemical hazardous waste
  • WASTe for radioactive waste
  • WASTe for biohazardous waste and sharps

What are my responsibilities for compliant waste management? 

  • Label your chemical, radioactive and biological waste.
  • Properly segregate incompatible chemicals and appropriate storage of hazardous waste.
  • Manage your empty containers.

How do I keep myself safe?

  • Wear your Personal Protective Equipment when you working around chemicals.
  • Always review the Safety Data Sheet (SDS) for all materials before you begin to use the substances.
  • Review the Summary of Waste Disposal Requirements.


For More Information

For more information, contact us at (951) 827-5528 or radiobiowastepickup@ucr.edu.



More Information

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

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Environmental Health & Safety

Environmental Health & Safety
Environmental Health & Safety

Tel: (951) 827-5528
Fax: (951) 827-5122
E-mail: ehs@ucr.edu