Environmental Health and Safety (EHS)

Broken Glass Disposal

Broken glass that is not contaminated with chemicals, infectious agents, or other hazardous materials can be collected in either approved broken glass boxes or 5-gallon buckets with lids.

Always pick up broken glass using a brush and dustpan, tongs or forceps and place into a container specifically designated for broken glass disposal, to minimize the risk for injury.   Broken glass should never be handled directly and should never be placed into the regular trash.

Selection of an appropriate container for collection and disposal of broken glass is at the discretion of the laboratory.

  1. Five Gallon Plastic Buckets are available from a variety of sources including Chem Stores for about $4.00. The buckets should be labeled for collection of broken glassware (see link below).  When the bucket is full, secure the lid and attach a note to the bucket requesting disposal by the custodian.  The bucket and the broken glass are disposed as a unit.  The bucket will not be returned to your lab.  
  2. Glass Disposal Boxes are available from a variety of vendors. These boxes come with a plastic liner for disposal of wet glassware and a lid designed with an integral cardboard flap to seal the box when it is full.  In practice these large floor standing boxes are often overfilled, heavy and structurally unsound by the time someone in the laboratory takes the initiative to dispose of it.  For these reasons, custodial services will not dispose of these boxes.  The filled box must be transported to the dumpster for disposal by laboratory personnel, making this choice less practical in some laboratories.

Unbroken glass reagent containers can be discarded into the regular trash.  The container should be rinsed and the label defaced prior to disposal.  As a courtesy to custodial staff a note may be placed on the trash container indicating that it contains unbroken glass.