Waste disposal guidelines

After being cleaned, these containers will be returned to users

Hazardous Waste Management provides a full hazardous material disposal service to the McGill community. Disposal of waste is free of charge to internal departments, provided the waste is coming from research activities, presented in a proper manner, and not part of a lab decommissioning (see section below for details on decommissioning).

Due to the nature of these materials, a number of basic requirements are necessary for the HWM to process and dispose of hazardous waste safely and efficiently. These apply to virtually all types of hazardous materials.

Waste disposal requirements

  • All waste material must be adequately, completely and legibly labelled.
  • Only containers provided or specified by HWM will be accepted for disposal.
  • Overfilled and/or leaking containers cannot be accepted for transport. Same thing for reacting and/or inflated containers. Call us at 5066 for instructions.
  • Full containers should be stored in a single storage area in each building which is close to exit and/or transport facilities. The area should be safe from mishandling, should be kept locked and be reasonably fireproof.  Most research buildings are equipped with a dedicated hazardous waste room, see our weekly pickup schedule for room locations.
  • Only containers provided by HWM are to be stored in Hazardous waste rooms for pick up: biomedical waste boxes, radioactive waste containers, as well as 10L and 20L chemical waste containers.  Those waste rooms ARE NOT meant to store any other type of container, including chemicals in their original bottles.  Those should stay in your laboratory, as we will go collect them directly on location.
  • Hazardous waste rooms are emptied on a weekly basis, YOU DO NOT need to fill up a myLab request for pick up of waste stored in those rooms.
  • Collection of chemical waste at your laboratory is arranged by using the myLab software.  Please refer to our requests and forms section for more details.
  • The myLab chemical waste pickup module is to be used: 
    1. For all your chemical waste if you do not have access to a hazardous waste room or
    2. Only for chemical waste in their original containers if you have access to a hazardous waste room
  • An initial supply of empty containers may be arranged for by calling 5066.
  • While records will be kept of the volumes produced by each department, charges will not be made against individual users within the University for wastes which is generated as part of normal teaching and research operation for which established disposal guidelines are followed.
  • Laboratory decommissioning is not entirely covered by our budget and will require a FOAPAL.  See section below.
  • Unknown material of any kind cannot be accepted for disposal . Should departments not be able to identify their waste, an analysis will be performed at the depatments' expense.
  • Explosive chemicals must be stabilized prior to transport. Stabilization can be arranged by calling 398-5066.


Laboratory decommissioning

Is considered decommissioning:

  • A researcher leaving McGill
  • A researcher moving to a different laboratory
  • An abandonned space where laboratory work was performed
  • A laboratory closing
  • A renovation project in a laboratory

Special arrangements needs to be made with our department, as laboratory decommissioning IS NOT considered  part of our regular hazardous waste disposal activities.  Laboratory decommissioning will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, an an estimate of the costs not covered by HWM will be produced after we visit the areas to be cleaned.  In order to do a proper decommissioning, please consult the EHS laboratory decommissioning documents.

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