Hazardous Waste Disposal

Frequent disposal will minimize accumulation of hazardous waste materials in work areas reducing potential risk to lab occupants and facilities.

The types of waste generated at the University of Calgary are numerous and ever changing. The information provided under the Hazardous Materials Disposal Manual will guide you in preparing your waste for collection in most situations. For information on other waste streams that are not handled by HMS, visit the Office of Sustainability.

HMS will endeavor to provide services of the highest quality. While it is our aim to remove hazardous materials quickly, safely and efficiently, there are some wastes that we cannot accept. Our training and operating permit do not allow us to transport explosives of any kind.

There are chemicals that may become explosive under certain conditions. For example, Picric Acid  (2,4,6 trinitrophenol) and Dinitrophenols could be potentially explosive if allowed to dehydrate. These should be carefully monitored.

Some chemicals (e.g. 2,4-Dinitrophenylhydrazine) may require further determination by HazMat to deem if acceptable for collection based on TDG Regulations and capability of specialized waste disposal vendors.

Clean lab glass and plastic is collected by Caretaking Services, click here for more information. To obtain a blue bucket or request service, complete an ARCHIBUS Work Request.

A large quantity of chemicals is defined as ten containers or more. To ensure the efficient and effective removal of large quantity of chemicals from your lab, complete the below initial procedure.

  1. Read Section 3.1 Large Quantity Disposals of the Hazardous Materials Disposal Manual and follow the directions provided.
  2. If you are not a Chematix user, download the Large Quantity Spreadsheet (Microsoft Excel).
  3. Email the completed spreadsheet to hazmat@ucalgary.ca
  4. A classified spreadsheet will be returned within ten business days from the day it was received. When you receive the completed list, download the preparation documentation to prepare your chemicals.

Large quantity collections will occur at a time mutually agreed upon if Hazardous Materials Services must perform the collection outside of our normal collection times.

The following departments and locations are required to use Chematix for laboratory inventory and chemical waste submissions. 

  • Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Schulich School of Engineering
  • Veterinary Medicine
  • Heritage Medical Research Building
  • Health Sciences Centre
  • Health Research Innovation Centre
  • Energy Environment and Experiential Learning
  • Mechanical Engineering Building
  • Calgary Centre for Innovative Technology
  • Spyhill Campus
  • Geosciences
  • Kinesiology
  • University Research Park

If your lab, workshop, or location is not registered in Chematix, contact Hazardous Materials Services via email at hazmat@ucalgary.ca to receive a copy of the Chemical Waste Disposal Authorization and instructions for completing the form.

Email hazmat@ucalgary.ca to notify Hazardous Materials Services that your radioactive waste is ready for collection (see collection schedule below).

Each liquid or solid radioactive waste container must have a separate Radioactive Waste Disposal Authorization. Multiple stock vials can be listed on a single Radioactive Waste Disposal Authorization.

Scintillation vials must be listed on a Scintillation Vial Tag.

Carcasses must have Carcass Tag.

Biohazard Container Waste Cards or Labels

Effective Jan. 8, 2012, all Chematix labs must use the Bio Hazardous waste card to submit their biohazard containers for collection. One waste card is required for each container and the estimated weight for each container provided. Multiple containers of the same weight can be generated easily. At the time of collection, HMS will replace containers on a one-for-one basis. If more containers are required, contact HMS via email to arrange for the delivery of additional containers.

All non-Chematix labs must attach a Biohazard Waste label to each bucket or box. Contact HMS via email for a copy of the label file.

Closing Biohazard Buckets

The preferred method for closing a biohazard bucket is to use a rubber mallet. Hold lid in place with your hand at the 9 o’clock position and strike the edge of the lid at the 3 o’clock position. The blow must be quite forceful to properly seal the lid. Rotate the bucket 60 degrees and repeat until the lid is secured. If you can fit a finger between the bottom lip of the lid and the bucket ring it is not properly closed. Remove any excess dust and visible liquid residue from bucket’s exterior with a damp paper towel.

The disposal of Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) is handled on a cost recovery basis. No service or handling charges are included in the cost quoted by Hazardous Materials Services. The procedure outlined below must be adhered to for timely removal of these items.

  1. PCBs will only be accepted in drums provided by our unit. Contact us at hazmat@ucalgary.ca to request a drum.
  2. A completed PCB Disposal Authorization Form is required at the time of collection. PCBs will only be accepted when accompanied by a completed form.
  3. Drums containing light ballasts must not be filled beyond two-thirds of the drum capacity.
  4. Contact us at hazmat@ucalgary.ca when the drum is ready to be collected.

The process for requesting disposal of gas cylinders is outlined below.

  1. In Chematix, complete the gas cylinder waste card for the gases you wish to have removed.
  2. When assigning the waste card to a pickup worksheet, include the account number to be charged for the disposal in the comments section. Include the name of the Dept Id owner for the account and then submit your pickup request.
  3. We will establish the disposal cost for the cylinder(s) with our contractor and submit an invoice to the identified budget owner.
  4. Once the invoice is approved for payment the cylinder(s) will be collected on the next regular pickup day for your area.

Propane and torch gas cylinders will continue to be disposable without charge. Gasses that are classified as ‘Forbidden’ under Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations will remain unacceptable. This restriction no longer applies to hydrogen sulfide lecture bottles.

Chematix users must submit pickup worksheets the day before the collection day.

Non-Chematix users must email hazmat@ucalgary.ca by 3:30 pm the day prior to the collection day.

Radioactive labs must email hazmat@ucalgary.ca for radioactive waste collection.

The cutoff for receipt of pickup requests is 3:30 p.m. Requests received after that time will not be processed the next day but will be added to the list for the following pickup date.


Main Campus

Tuesdays and Thursdays 9:30 a.m to noon. 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Foothills Campus

Tuesdays and Thursdays 9:30 a.m to noon. 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Spyhill Campus

First and Third Wednesday (as required) in the morning.

The following are some of the reasons that HMS will reject waste.

  • Door Locked - HMS does not possess master keys to access locked laboratories. Note: Hazardous materials should never be left unsecured in hallways


  • Waste Documentation Incomplete or Completed Incorrectly - HMS requires accurate and complete information about the waste such as chemical name, quantity, and physical state for proper transportation and disposal.


  • Waste Container Overfilled or Oversized- HMS will not accept containers which are overfilled or oversized for reasons related to safe transportation, handling, and storage. Liquid chemical waste container must have approximately 10 percent headspace. Box that contains chemically contaminated solid materials must not exceed a maximum total size of 122 centimeters/48 inches in all three dimensions and must not weigh over a maximum of 12 kilograms/25 pounds


  • Improper Container for This Waste Type - HMS will not accept containers that are not compatible with the type of waste being offered for disposal for reasons related to safe transportation, handling and storage.


  • Waste Container Leaking or Improperly Sealed - HMS will not accept waste containers that are leaking or improperly sealed. Leaking or improperly sealed containers have the potential to contaminate common areas and the transport vehicle, thereby presenting an unacceptable hazard to other building occupants and HMS staff. Contact HMS for assistance if you are unsure of how to proceed.


  • Exceeds 12 Litres of Similar Mixed Waste - Minimizing the quantity of waste accumulated and retained in the lab for extended periods is an integral part of safe storage. Submit waste pickup request for pickup whenever you have filled the container you are using for your liquid waste. This does not apply to HMS issued reusable container.


  • Exceeds 3 Boxes of Similar Mixed Waste - Minimizing the quantity of waste accumulated and retained in the lab for extended periods is an integral part of safe storage. Submit waste pickup request for pickup whenever you have filled the container you are using for your contaminated debris waste.


  • Waste Container Has External Contamination - HMS will not accept any container that has external contamination that may or may not pose an actual safety risk. External contamination is anything that is not part of the container except for labels or added markings.


  • Chemical Name Written in Abbreviation - Proper English chemical names must be provided for accurate and complete information for transportation and disposal. Acronyms, abbreviations, or trade names will not be accepted.