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Empty Containers

Containers with less than 3% of their contents that are not contaminated with infectious material or do not contain a p-listed material, such as stock bottles, laboratory glassware, and plasticware must be triple rinsed prior to disposal.

  • Laboratory glassware or plasticware contaminated with biological material must be disposed of as regulated medical waste (RMW)
  • P-listed material, even when empty, must be disposed of as hazardous waste
  • Sample vials with small amounts of chemicals must be collected as hazardous waste if it is unable to be rinsed
The Triple Rinse Process

After removing as much product as possible, your empty chemical container can be rinsed and disposed of or reused to store another waste product by following these steps:

  1. Using a small amount of solvent capable of removing the contaminant (water, acetone, etc.) rinse out the inside of the container.
      • Be sure to use small quantities of solvent to reduce the amount of waste that will be produced
  2. Rinse must be collected as hazardous waste of the original waste content and you may combine compatible wastes into one waste container.                                                                                                                                                                                                                      For example: If an empty sulfuric acid bottle is being disposed of, consider the waste "sulfuric acid". This may be added to another waste container as long as the waste is compatible.
  3. Repeat this step two more times for a total of 3 rinses. 
  4. When the container is empty and ready to be discarded, deface the container’s label as depicted below and clearly write "Empty" and/or “Triple Rinsed".

Labels must be defaced prior to disposal

              Triple rinse              empty               Empty

Reuse of Empty or Triple Rinsed Containers

Empty or triple rinsed containers may be reused for the collection of hazardous wastes, if:

    1. The original container's contents are compatible with the waste that the container is being used for; and
    2. The container is compatible with the waste contents; and
    3. The container is in good working condition: no dents, cracks or corrosion.
Empty P-listed Material

For all empty containers that previously held a p-listed material, do not triple rinse!
These containers must be disposed of as hazardous waste, even if they’re empty.

Contact for any questions regarding p-listed container disposal

Common P-Listed Waste

Chemical Name CAS Number





Allyl alcohol


Arsenic compounds Varies
Beryllium powder 7440-41-7
Cyanide salts (inorganic) Varies
Carbon disulfide 75-15-0
Copper cyanide (Cu(CN)) 544-92-3
Cyanogen 460-19-5
Cyanogen chloride 506-77-4
2,4-Dinitrophenol 51-28-5
Epinephrine 51-43-4
Nicotine, & salts 54-11-5
Nitrous and Nitric oxide 10102-44-0,
Osmium tetroxide


Potassium cyanide (KCN)


Propargyl alcohol


Sodium azide


For the complete list of p-listed chemicals, visit the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's website

Recycling and Disposal of Empty Containers


Triple rinsed plastics other than #1 and #2 written in the universal recycling symbol (♻) must be disposed of in the trash.

Town of Brookhaven does not recycle plastics other than #1 or #2.


Triple rinsed glass containers must be disposed of in the trash if they’re not being reused. Glass containers that have been triple rinsed may be placed in garbage bags, corrugated cardboard boxes or "broken glass" boxes before being disposed of.

Town of Brookhaven does not recycle glass and glassware in recycling containers will not be accepted.

Under no circumstances are containers labeled with the international radioactive symbol, biohazard symbol, or with the words "Hazardous Waste" allowed to be disposed of in the trash.

Radioactive       biohaz       hazardous