It's important to understand how to recycle or dispose of your laboratory glassware properly in order to protect the health and safety of others.
Recycle or dispose?
Glassware that has been used with chemicals can often be cleaned and recycled. Glassware that has been used with biological hazards may be recycled after it has been autoclaved and cleaned. Glassware that has been used with radiological hazards must be disposed of in accordance with regulations and best practices. Follow the steps below to clean and recycle your glassware:
1. CLEAN IT
Chemically contaminated glassware:
Empty remaining chemicals into a properly labelled waste container.
Clean your glassware using warm water, soap, and an appropriate cleaning brush. Remove all labels.
Biologically contaminated glassware:
Autoclave the glassware using cycle parameters that are appropriate for the biological agent involved.
- After the glassware has returned to ambient temperature, empty autoclaved biological material into the appropriate waste receptacle.
- Clean your glassware using warm water, soap, and an appropriate cleaning brush. Remove all labels.
2. RECYCLE IT
Collect glassware in an appropriate impervious container for transport.
- Transport glassware to an appropriate recycling bin (typically the yellow bins on campus). Do NOT put glassware in blue bins.
What about glassware that can't be cleaned?
In some cases, lab glassware cannot be cleaned. For example, if your glassware
- cannot be effectively cleaned with a brush
- is broken
- has been used with high-risk chemicals
collect hazardous glassware into an impervious container and dispose of it as hazardous waste via CHEMATIX.
Glassware that has't been cleaned must never go in a recycling bin as it will contaminate the other contents of the bin. Take responsibility for your recycling.
Can I donate my glassware?
Watch for "freecycle" programs where new glassware and clean, gently used glassware can be donated for others to use.