Reactive Waste

Lithium, Sodium Or Potassium Metal Waste

Safe Management of Reactive Metal Waste Streams:

Lithium; Sodium & Potassium Metal and Powders:

  • Within the glove box, or controlled environment, containerize the waste materials and completely submerge them in mineral oil.
  • Remove the waste container from the glove box,
  • Label it with a red tag,
  • Spell out the chemical constituents,
  • Indicate “ignitable and reactive” as the associated hazards,
  • Date the container
  • Place it in the lab’s SAA.
  • Place a waste collection pick up request online for removal. 

*If working with these materials, please work with EHS to prepare a lab/process specific SOP to ensure safety requirements are met. This process will also ensure you have the appropriate fire extinguishing method available for these water reactive chemicals. 


Dry Picric Acid

Surplus dry picric acid should be made safe for removal from the lab by wetting the material prior to placing a waste collection request online. Please follow these steps to safely and effectively wet the dry picric acid:

  • Wear the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) for this process:
    - lab coat
    - nitrile gloves
    - safety glasses
  • You will need a 1 gallon (1G) "mayo" container filled half way with DI water for this process.
  • Conduct all work within a chemical fume hood.

Follow these steps:

  1. Place the half-filled 1G container of DI water in the fume hood.
  2. Place the dry picric acid container into the 1G container of DI water and allow it to sit and absorb the water for at least 24-hours or until the DI water turns yellow.
  3. Once the water has turned yellow, open the 1G container in order to access the bottle of picric acid. Open the bottle of picric acid and allow the chemical bottle to be submerged into the water.
  4. Close the 1G container with the submerged picric acid bottle, red tag the bottle (picric acid, water; corrosive) and request a pickup from the lab’s SAA or place in the lab’s MAA.

Contact EHS for assistance/questions/concerns regarding this process.


Highly Hazardous Reactive Wastes For Stabilization

Some reactive materials are capable of violent or explosive decomposition (e.g., lethal shock-wave, extreme heat, flame or explosive gas). Special care must be observed when handling these materials and wastes. Precautions regarding shock, heat, friction, flame, static discharge, elevated temperatures or any reaction initiating event must be implemented. An example of a material requiring a stablization by a licensed environmental vendor includes peroxide forming chemicals with peroxides well over 100ppm or those with crystals formed inside or on the cap of the bottle. If you need to get rid of a waste that is explosive there may be a charge associated with it as reactive wastes are difficult to get rid of.  Contact the EHS Office at (617) 452-3477 for details or via email at