Environmental Health & Safety

Identifying A Hazardous Waste

What is a Hazardous Waste?

A waste is basically any discarded material. By law hazardous waste is defined as a waste, or combination of wastes, that because of its quality, concentration, physical, chemical or infectious characteristics may cause or significantly contribute to an increase in serious irreversible, or incapacitating reversible illness or pose a substantial present or potential hazard to human health, safety or welfare or to the environment when improperly treated, stored, transported, used or disposed of or otherwise managed.

A hazardous waste is:

  • Ignitable,
  • Corrosive,
  • Reactive, and/or
  • Toxic

Hazardous Waste can be identified by consulting 4 CFR 261. The codes not only represent the ingredients of the waste, but indicate the process generating the waste. Each hazardous waste has a particular alphanumeric code based on its ingredients and process. Wastes are categorized by the following:

Four chemical lists exist (F, K, U, and P) of waste streams that possess hazardous properties and are subject to hazardous waste regulations.

"K-Listed" waste are those generated from a specific process, and therefore are not applicable to Alfred University.

"F-Listed" wastes are hazardous wastes from nonspecific sources. Although there are 39 listings (F001-F039), the most common F-listed wastes generated on campus are F001-F005.

  • F001: The following spent halogenated solvents used in degreasing: tetrachloroethylene, trichloroethylene, methylene chloride, 1,1,1-trichloroethane, carbon tetrachloride, and chlorinated fluorocarbons; all spent solvent mixtures/blends used in degreasing containing, before use, a total of ten percent or more (by volume) of one or more of the above halogenated solvents or those solvents listed in F002, F004 and F005; and still bottoms from the recovery of these spent solvents and spent solvent mixtures.
  • F002: The following spent halogenated solvents: tetrachloroethylene, methylene chloride, trichloroethylene, 1,1,1-trichloroethane, chlorobenzene, 1,1,2-trichloro-1,2,2-trifluoroethane, ortho-dichlorobenzene, trichlorofluoromethane and 1,1,2-trichloroethane; before use, a total of ten percent or more (by volume) of one or more of the above halogenated solvents or those listed in F001, F004 or F005; and still bottoms from the recovery of these spent solvents and spent solvent mixtures.
  • F003: The following spent non-halogenated solvents: xylene, acetone, ethyl acetate, ethyl benzene, ethyl ether, methyl isobutyl ketone, n-butyl alcohol, cyclohexanone, and methanol; all spent solvent mixtures/blends containing, before use, only the above spent non-halogenated solvents; and all spent solvents mixtures/blends containing, before use, one or more of the above non-halogenated solvents, and a total of ten percent or more (by volume) of one or more of those solvents listed in F001, F002, F004 and F005; and still bottoms from the recovery of these spent solvents and spent solvent mixtures.
  • F004: The following spent non-halogenated solvents: cresols and cresylic acid, and nitrobenzene; all spent solvent mixtures/blends containing, before use, a total of ten percent or more (by volume) of one or more of the above non-halogenated solvents or those solvents listed in F001, F002, and F005; and still bottoms from the recovery of these spent solvents and spent solvent mixtures.
  • F005: The following spent non-halogenated solvents: toluene, methylethylketone, carbon disulfide, isobutanol, pyridine, benzene, 2-ethoxyethanol, and 2-nitropropane; all spent solvent mixtures/blends containing, before use, a total of ten percent or more (by volume) of one or more of the above non-halogenated solvents or those solvents listed in F001, F002, or F004; and still bottoms from the recovery of these spent solvents and spent solvent mixtures.

Some common examples of "F-listed" hazardous wastes include:

  • A maintenance worker uses a 10% solution by volume (or greater) of Methylene Chloride as a degreasing agent. The waste that results is considered an F001 hazardous waste and must be disposed of through the hazardous waste management program.
  • A graduate student working in a science laboratory uses Acetone as a final rinse for cleaning glassware, the Acetone waste that results is considered a F003 listed hazardous waste. This Acetone rinse cannot be disposed of down the drain and must be managed as a hazardous waste.
  • A person working in a Fine Arts department uses a trade name paint brush cleaner that contains 10% or more (by volume) of Toluene. The waste that results is considered an F005 listed hazardous waste and must be managed accordingly.

"U-Listed" wastes are regulated as toxic, reactive, ignitable, or corrosive waste.

"P-Listed" wastes are regulated as acutely hazardous wastes. An acutely hazardous waste poses immediate and serious health risks to both the environment and humans.

Both "U-Listed" and "P-Listed" codes are assigned to chemicals that are discarded commercial chemical products, off-specification species, and container residues. The EPA and DEC also regulate any residue or contaminated soil, water or other debris resulting from the cleanup of a spill involving a U or P-listed chemical as hazardous waste. It is EH&S policy that any mixture of chemicals that contain ANY concentration of U or P-listed chemicals is considered to be hazardous waste and must be disposed of through the hazardous waste management program. The U and P lists of chemicals can be found at the appropriately labeled tab in this document.

Four categories of chemical wastes that under certain conditions or concentrations possess hazardous properties that are subject to hazardous waste regulations.

These characteristic properties are:

  • Ignitability (EPA waste code D001)
  • Corrosivity (EPA waste code D002)
  • Reactivity (EPA waste code D003)
  • Toxicity (EPA waste code D004)

Many states choose to regulate additional materials not covered in the Federal regulations. New York State regulates Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs).

PCBs and PCB contaminated materials are regulated by the DEC as hazardous waste. PCBs and all waste chemicals and contaminated debris containing 50 PPM (parts per million) or greater of PCBs are a New York State listed hazardous waste. Oils in or from electrical equipment whose PCB concentration is unknown or not otherwise clearly marked as "No PCBs", must be assumed to contain between 50 and 500 ppm of PCBs and must be disposed of through the hazardous waste management program.

Due to the high cost for disposal of PCB waste, it is very important to keep PCB waste clearly identified and separated from other wastes. If PCB waste is added to a container of non-PCB waste, the resulting mixture will have to be treated as PCB waste. Please make every attempt to minimize the amount of PCB waste that you generate.

The division of Ceramic Art has developed a system which identifies materials that require hazardous waste disposal.

All materials stocked by the Claystore that are regulated by federal, state, or local agencies are labeled with this yellow sticker.

Dispose of as Hazardous Waste

This sticker is also applied to mixtures containing these regulated materials.

Characteristics of Hazardous Waste

If a solid waste does not contain any of the four listed wastes (F, K, U, P), it still may be a hazardous waste due to the characteristics of a sample of the waste. It may exhibit ignitability, corrosivity, reactivity, and/or toxicity.

Ignitable
  • A liquid with a flash point of less than 140° F (60° C).
  • Not a liquid and is capable, under standard temperature and pressure, of causing fire through friction, absorption of moisture or spontaneous chemical changes, and when ignited burns so vigorously and persistently that it creates a hazard.
  • An ignitable compressed gas.
  • An oxidizer – such as nitrites, nitrates, perchlorates, chlorine, permanganates, bromates and peroxides.
  • Some examples are most organic solvents such as:
    • Acetone
    • Ethyl ether
    • Benzene
    • Heptane
    • Ethanol
    • Hexane
    • Ethyl acetate
    • Methanol
    • some paints
    • Toluene
    • paint thinner
    • Xylene
Corrosive
  • An aqueous solution that has a pH less than or equal to 2 or greater than or equal to 12.5.
  • A liquid that corrodes steel at a rate greater than 6.35 mm per year at a temperature of 130° F (54.4° C).
  • A solid that when added to water results in a solution with a pH < or = to 2 or a pH > or = to 12.5.
  • A chemical whose original container identifies the contents as 'corrosive'.
  • Some examples are:
    • Hydrochloric Acid (Muriatic Acid)
    • Sulfuric Acid
    • Nitric Acid
    • Acetic Acid
    • Thionyl Chloride
    • Sodium Hydroxide
    • Ammonium Hydroxide
    • Potassium Hydroxide
    • Calcium Hydroxide
Reactive
  • It is normally unstable and readily undergoes violent change without detonating.
  • It reacts violently with water.
  • It forms potentially explosive mixtures with water.
  • When mixed with water, it generates toxic gases, vapors or fumes in a quantity sufficient to present a danger to human health or the environment.
  • It is a cyanide or sulfide bearing waste which, when exposed to pH conditions between 2 and 12.5 can generate toxic gases, vapors or fumes in a quantity sufficient to present a danger to human health or the environment.
  • It is a forbidden explosive as defined in 49 CFR 173.51 or a Class A explosive as defined in 49 CFR 173.53 or a Class B explosive as defined in 49 CFR 173.88t is capable of detonation or explosive decomposition or reaction at a standard temperature and pressure.
  • Some examples are:
    • Ammonium Sulfide + Acid
    • Benzoyl Peroxide (dry)
    • Picric Acid (dry)
    • Sodium Cyanide + Acid
    • Sodium Metal
    • T-Butyllithium in solvent
    • some Perchlorates
Toxic
  • A waste is a toxic hazardous waste if a representative sample of the waste tests above the concentrations set by the analytical test Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure (TCLP).
  • A chemical with an oral Lethal Dose (LD50) for a rat of < 500mg/kg.
  • A chemical whose original container identifies the contents as toxic or poisonous.
  • Some examples are:
    • Acetaldehyde
    • Benzene
    • Carbon Tetrachloride
    • Chloroform
    • Barium Nitrate
    • Silver Chloride
    • Lead carbonate
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