Hazardous & Nonstandard Materials

Hazardous materials, such as old batteries, televisions and fluorescent light bulbs, have the potential to wreak havoc on the natural environment and aren’t safe to throw away normally. In response to this, Washington University in St. Louis has special procedures for these waste materials.

Request a waste pickup from WashU’s Environmental Health & Safety.

Environmental Health & Safety accepts unwanted electronics and appliances, sending them to material recovery centers. The items are stripped down into their constituent materials, which are then recovered and reused. Contaminated (chemical, radioactive and infectious) equipment will not be accepted. This is a free service, but Environmental Health & Safety does not have the resources to accommodate pickups of equipment that is heavier than 750 pounds or greater than six feet in any direction. It is the responsibility of your department to hire commercial vendors to facilitate removal and disposal of equipment that Environmental Health & Safety cannot handle. Fire codes do not allow storage of electronic equipment in corridors on the WashU campus. Departments are responsible for compliance with storage requirements until Environmental Health & Safety removes the equipment. Request a waste pickup by completing the Environmental Health & Safety form

Rechargeable Batteries

Our staff collects all rechargeable batteries and nonalkaline (such as nickel cadmium, lead acid and lithium) for recycling. Battery casings should be intact and free of leaks. Request a pickup by completing the Environmental Health & Safety form.

Nonrechargeable Batteries

Nonrechargeable alkaline batteries go in the trash. Their toxicity in a landfill is low so there is no regulatory requirement to divert these batteries. Additionally, alkaline batteries are not effectively recycled because the limited amount of material collected from the battery utilizes more resources to reprocess and remanufacture the materials than the manufacture of batteries from raw materials. Many alkaline battery recyclers still landfill most of the battery. The pollution generated and energy utilized during the recycling process is an overall negative outcome. We encourage the use of rechargeable batteries to reduce the purchase of new batteries and to utilize a product that is more beneficially recycled.

If the appliance is still functional, please do your best to find a new home for it by donating it to a local nonprofit, such as MERS Goodwill or Operation Food Search.

Office Essentials, WashU’s preferred office supplies vendor, offers free and convenient recycling for printer and copier toner cartridges. Return cartridge to original box (or another box if original is gone); label OE Toner Empty Return.

If you receive toner deliveries directly at your office, you can give them empty cartridges at that time. If you do not receive direct deliveries (select School of Medicine accounts), return boxes will need to be taken to a dock for return: 4444 Forest Park; 4523 Clayton Ave; 425 S. Euclid Ave. Look for a cart/box labeled Office Essentials Returns.

Pickup and proper disposal of light bulbs and compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) through Environmental Health & Safety is a free service; however, Environmental Health & Safety will not be responsible for packing light bulbs. Any nonpacked materials will not be collected. Please provide the approximate quantity of light bulbs when you request pickup. Students may bring their CFLs to Home Depot for recycling.

Most paint is latex-based and can be disposed of in any landfill container. Before disposal, either solidify the paint with soil, sand, cat litter or some other inert material, or place it in thick plastic bags that prevent the paint from spilling all over the dumpster.

Enamel and acrylic paints must be disposed of as a hazardous waste through Environmental Health & Safety, using the request form.

Empty paint cans can be placed in any landfill bin.

For the purposes of recycling confidential documents, our local vendor, Shred-it, provides a locked security container that can be used for discarded sensitive information. There is no need to remove staples or paper clips from white paper, colored paper, file folders, transparencies, window envelopes or plastic cards before you place them in a Shred-It container.

A bonded customer security representative transfers the contents directly to a truck parked on-site where the destruction takes place. No documents leave the premises until they are destroyed and 100 percent of the shredded paper is delivered to regional paper mills for recycling. In 2010, WUSTL saved 12,536 trees from destruction through our shredding efforts with Shred-It.

Environmental Health & Safety collects unwanted glues, sprays, poisons and other hazardous chemicals for proper disposal. Fill out a waste pickup request form to have hazardous materials removed.


Danforth Campus

Donna Hall

Mark Zykan
Cell: 277-5722

Phil Hellmann


School of Medicine Campus

Livi Isringhausen

Jason Allen
Cell: 288-5095

Jeffrey Brenning
Cell: 278-9349

Mitch Burger
Cell: 278-7005

Stephen Kemp