Environmental Health & Safety Lab Cleanout Policy

Lab Cleanout Policy

Chemical waste management on the WSU campus requires that each container be sorted, transported, logged, weighed, and packaged according to hazard class. Tens of thousands of waste containers are generated on campus every year, including regularly generated waste from lab and maintenance processes, as well as expired or unwanted chemicals. To properly manage it all, WSU waste generators must work with EH&S to manage their waste in a legal and responsible manner.

When large numbers of chemicals become unwanted because of expiration, alteration of research, or a researcher departure from the University, the disposal of those chemicals is classified as a “lab cleanout”. Due to the increased workload generated during these events, EH&S will now be charging for this service.

To avoid charges for chemical waste disposal, the following guidelines should be observed:

  • An employee of the waste generating lab or shop should submit online chemical collection requests (CCRs) for each different chemical. If all other rules are followed, but proper paperwork is not submitted, EH&S employees will enter the paperwork, and a cleanout charge may be imposed. CCR Submission Form and CCR Submission Guide.
  • Submit no more than fifteen waste containers or expired chemicals per month. Labs should be settling into a cycle where expired or unwanted chemicals are cleaned out frequently enough that the limit of fifteen is never met. Regularly generated process waste should be submitted as necessary to avoid a backlog of containers.
  • Containers should be properly labelled, clean, closed with an appropriate lid, and chemically compatible with their contents. These are legal responsibilities of waste generators. Should EH&S be required to perform cleanup prior to or after waste collection, a charge may be levied. Labelling Guide.


Charges are calculated based on the number and types of waste containers being submitted for disposal. On average, a cleanout will cost around $2.50 per container. Services beyond the scope of collecting and managing chemical waste may be subject to an hourly service-center rate, including, but not limited to, decontamination of fume hoods or other workspaces, clean up of old chemical spills, disposal of trash, searching through drawers and cabinets for chemical waste, etc.

Schedule a Cleanout

  • To schedule a cleanout, send an email to Dale Silbernagel (silbernagel@wsu.edu) with details including a rough count estimate, building name and room number(s), where the waste is located, the name of the primary investigator who the waste belongs to, and information about any chemicals with unique hazards amongst the materials.
  • Pictures of the waste would be helpful. It is not necessary to move or handle the waste, simply take pictures of it as-is.
  • Do not submit any collection requests for paid cleanouts, as the paperwork entry is part of the service.
  • EH&S will provide an estimate based on container counts. To schedule a cleanout, please provide a budget number that the service can be charged to.


The goals of this program include:

  • Spreading awareness on campus that chemicals being purchased in shops and labs have associated costs beyond the initial purchase. WSU spends hundreds of thousands of dollars per year disposing of regulated waste.
  • Incentivizing researchers to develop a schedule for chemical inventory evaluation and management.
  • Encouraging waste generators to manage containers properly and submit for collection in a timely fashion.


If you have any questions, please email Dale Silbernagel at silbernagel@wsu.edu, or call 5-3041 for the EH&S main line.