How to dispose of an inorganic chemical kit?

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mr_breen
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How to dispose of an inorganic chemical kit?

Post by mr_breen »

Hi. I am doing a home cleanout for my uncle in a preparation for a house sale. I came across a cabinet of chemicals that I'm not sure how to handle.

My uncle used to work as a chemist and I think he may have taken this cabinet of chemicals home from an old employer. They have probably been in his garage for a couple decades. I briefly looked through the cabinet. All the drawers are full and all bottles seem to have some compound in them. Unfortunately, my uncle is not really well enough to tell me more about them.

There is an inventory list in the top drawer that I have photographed.

Below is the link to page 1 of the inventory:

http://i.imgur.com/djzImBi.jpg

Below is the link to page 2 of the inventory:

http://i.imgur.com/rN1WoPA.jpg

Below is a link to pic of the cabinet:

http://i.imgur.com/yDi1sTd.jpg

Below are a couple more pics of the drawers:

http://i.imgur.com/VXoxhjO.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/8QWTfYE.jpg

I have no background in chemistry and am not sure about the danger of any of these chemicals. I am also a little concerned about some brown substance on some of the individual bottles as seen in the above two pictures. I'm worried it may be a leaky bottle, although it may just be the cabinet rusting away.

So, for those who might know more about these matters, I have some questions:

1.) Are there any dangerous chemicals on the inventory?

2.) Do you think I can dispose of this cabinet in my regular township trash pickup service?

3.) If I can't throw them in the trash, do you think I can bring them to my county's Household Hazardous Waste Disposal Event? Here is a link to the county's Household Hazardous Waste Disposal event:

http://www.co.delaware.pa.us/recycle/hhw.html

4.) If I can't even bring them to the Household Hazardous Waste Disposal, would I have to use any even more specialized disposal service? Perhaps a service that laboratories use? Any ideas of a service to call and how much it might cost?

Any help is appreciated. Thanks
Last edited by mr_breen on Mon Jun 20, 2016 12:31 am, edited 1 time in total.
livesoft
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Re: How to dispose of an inorganic chemical kit?

Post by livesoft »

mr_breen wrote:I have no background in chemistry and am not sure about the danger of any of these chemicals.

So, for those who might know more about these matters, I have some questions:

1.) Are there any dangerous chemicals on the inventory?
Definitely, yes. But most are not dangerous. Some of the obviously dangerous ones have the elements: Beryllium, Cadmium, Lead, Mercury, Thorium, Uranium, and Cyanide (not an element) in the names. And don't forget about Arsenate, etc.

2.) Do you think I can dispose of this cabinet in my regular township trash pickup service?
No. It would be illegal in my neighborhood.

3.) If I can't throw them in the trash, do you think I can bring them to my county's Household Hazardous Waste Disposal Event? Here is a link to the county's Household Hazardous Waste Disposal event:

http://www.co.delaware.pa.us/recycle/hhw.html

4.) If I can't even bring them to the Household Hazardous Waste Disposal, would I have to use any even more specialized disposal service? Perhaps a service that laboratories use? Any ideas of a service to call and how much it might cost?
You might be able to call a local university or research lab or pharma lab. They might have a regular "run" of "let's get rid of hazardous waste" and could do you a favor. They could at least tell you who they use. Then when that firm came by to pick up their stuff, they could pick up your stuff. This would help reduce the fee which might be $500 to $4,000 or so.
You are lucky that the stuff seems to be organized and labeled. A particular problem is the uranyl acetate which is probably slightly radioactive and if you open the jar, radon gas will be released.
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krannerd
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Re: How to dispose of an inorganic chemical kit?

Post by krannerd »

Check your county or city website. Many have hazardous waste drop off locations.

You can also Google your city and hazardous waste.....there are sometimes specific days that you can leave these by your trash can.
inbox788
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Re: How to dispose of an inorganic chemical kit?

Post by inbox788 »

I was thinking you could donate it to the local high school, but looks like you're dealing with more dangerous stuff than they may be allowed to carry. Also, anyone accepting the chemicals would have to assume they are correctly labeled, and without a trusted source, can't really use the chemicals, and even disposing of the chemicals may be troublesome if they're mislabeled. You could try hazmat disposal, but community centers may not be able to handle these industrial materials.

What was he trying to synthesize in his garage? I wonder what Homeland Security or DEA would do with these? On second thought, this might bring unwanted attention on the matter. What about eBay or Craigslist? I'm guess not. (If in California, be sure to note: warning "This product contains a known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm. It's standard language anywhere any chemicals are used.)

I don't know anyone who might want to use the chemicals for fear of mislabeling, but if a university were willing to take a chance, it would be an interesting experiment to run on an unknown chemical anylsys project. If a student confirms the label, it's likely it's correct, but if the student determines another chemical, you wouldn't know if the student made an error or the sample was mistakenly labeled. You could do another identification to see if it helped confirm the first experiment or the label. In any case, seems like they do dispose of many unknown chemicals at the end of every term when students leave unlabeled or poorly labeld bottles behind.
https://sites01.lsu.edu/wp/ehs/files/20 ... sposal.pdf

If there are very dangerous chemicals present, even transporting them for disposal may be problematic for fear of accident during transport. However, if this is the company and sample quantities are small (i.e. less than 10gm), there shouldn't be sufficient quantity to do much damage. If all fails, you might contact the company directly (seems like a small company) and talk to one of the scientists to see if they'd like a donation to their museum or want to do some long term studies on some of their products. They might take the opportunity to see how they product have faired in the field.
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Teague
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Re: How to dispose of an inorganic chemical kit?

Post by Teague »

Before moving anything I would be asking if any of these chemicals could have become unstable over the decades.
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Re: How to dispose of an inorganic chemical kit?

Post by 123 »

Perhaps a call (not 911) to your local police or fire department could get you some guidance or assistance. It sounds like there is a potential hazard that needs to be removed from the neighborhood.
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inbox788
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Re: How to dispose of an inorganic chemical kit?

Post by inbox788 »

Come to think of it, you might contact the company to see if they can help you with disposal instructions.
Products are packaged in small quantities to minimize storage, waste, and disposal requirements.
https://www.chemservice.com/about-us/
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mr_breen
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Re: How to dispose of an inorganic chemical kit?

Post by mr_breen »

inbox788 wrote:Come to think of it, you might contact the company to see if they can help you with disposal instructions.
Products are packaged in small quantities to minimize storage, waste, and disposal requirements.
https://www.chemservice.com/about-us/
Thank you so much for looking the company up. I did not even think to do that or that they would still be around. They are definitely with driving distance to me. Their location also makes sense given where my uncle had worked.

I think I will try and call them and see if they have any advice. The cabinet isn't that big (about 2 feet tall.) If I have to transport it, I'll probably double bag the whole thing in heavy duty plastic trash bags and tie it up tight.
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sdsailing
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Re: How to dispose of an inorganic chemical kit?

Post by sdsailing »

I would try to sell it on Craigslist for a few hundred bucks.
Wellfleet
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Re: How to dispose of an inorganic chemical kit?

Post by Wellfleet »

This is my profession and I suggest you seek professional assistance thought your communities household hazardous waste program. Dumping in regular trash is likely illegal in your location.


Someone may have to pay appx. $5000 for proper disposal if your community or state env. Dept cannot assist. If then, only deal with national players like Clean Harbors, Veolia no 1800 we take it all.

No professionals, schools or anyone else should take this stuff via Craig's list or otherwise. Old chemical inventories and shockingly INACCURATE. Do fellow industry pros a favor and do not try to schlep onto the local U that someone suggested might be an interesting project.

Respectfully, no one here should making determinations about hazards without close inspection.

Retired chemists are notorious for their home labs that turn into this situation.
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FreeAtLast
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Re: How to dispose of an inorganic chemical kit?

Post by FreeAtLast »

I have a degree in chemistry and have performed multiple clean-outs of old industrial and laboratory chemicals over my career. I reviewed your inventories. My advice is that you absolutely do not throw these chemicals in the trash. I also doubt that your local county hazardous waste pick-up will accept them, although you could ask. A proper, legal removal is going to cost your uncle (or you) some significant money, I am sorry to say. You need to hire a company that specializes in old lab chemical removals who will follow state and federal regulations and will provide a trained field chemist to evaluate the condition of the chemicals,perform the correct separation, sorting and packaging of the chemicals ("labpacks"), and ship them with a legal transport manifest to the appropriate waste facility for legal disposal (Notice how I keep repeating the word "legal"?).

Some of your chemicals are toxic by inhalation, ingestion, or skin exposure if you accidentally break a bottle. You do NOT want to make a mistake in performing any sort of amateur removal. Do you have a state Environmental Conservation Department you could call?
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Wellfleet
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Re: How to dispose of an inorganic chemical kit?

Post by Wellfleet »

FreeAtLast wrote:I have a degree in chemistry and have performed multiple clean-outs of old industrial and laboratory chemicals over my career. I reviewed your inventories. My advice is that you absolutely do not throw these chemicals in the trash. I also doubt that your local county hazardous waste pick-up will accept them, although you could ask. A proper, legal removal is going to cost your uncle (or you) some significant money, I am sorry to say. You need to hire a company that specializes in old lab chemical removals who will follow state and federal regulations and will provide a trained field chemist to evaluate the condition of the chemicals,perform the correct separation, sorting and packaging of the chemicals ("labpacks"), and ship them with a legal transport manifest to the appropriate waste facility for legal disposal (Notice how I keep repeating the word "legal"?).
Hello industry colleague I was referring to :sharebeer
charley
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Re: How to dispose of an inorganic chemical kit?

Post by charley »

I think most of the advice given so far is excellent. You might also call a firm that deals with asbestos or lead remediation. While your chemical inventory is different than the specialities of these firms, the safety and environmental regulations are likely similar. Your chemicals are in small sealed containers with some labels, which is significantly less dangerous than typical lead and asbestos hazards that are spread across building materials and not labeled.

I'm in southeast PA and can recommend someone if you're in this area (just a guess based on livesoft's link - not sure if that was based on your previous posts or just a top google hit).
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Re: How to dispose of an inorganic chemical kit?

Post by FreeAtLast »

Wellfleet wrote:
FreeAtLast wrote:I have a degree in chemistry and have performed multiple clean-outs of old industrial and laboratory chemicals over my career. I reviewed your inventories. My advice is that you absolutely do not throw these chemicals in the trash. I also doubt that your local county hazardous waste pick-up will accept them, although you could ask. A proper, legal removal is going to cost your uncle (or you) some significant money, I am sorry to say. You need to hire a company that specializes in old lab chemical removals who will follow state and federal regulations and will provide a trained field chemist to evaluate the condition of the chemicals,perform the correct separation, sorting and packaging of the chemicals ("labpacks"), and ship them with a legal transport manifest to the appropriate waste facility for legal disposal (Notice how I keep repeating the word "legal"?).
Hello industry colleague I was referring to :sharebeer
I feel terrible that mr_breen has had this chemical legacy dumped into his lap (so to speak). For you and me, this would be an average labpack disposal project. For a non-chemist, I shudder to think of the potential accidents that could occur.
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Re: How to dispose of an inorganic chemical kit?

Post by FreeAtLast »

mr_breen:

1) If Chem Service will take the chemicals back, you do not package or transport them. Let their employees do that if they are properly trained and certified to do so.

2) I'd better ask.....did your uncle store any old liquid chemicals in the house or garage? If so, what are their names? (Please do not touch or move the bottles if they are present).

(Edited)
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barnaclebob
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Re: How to dispose of an inorganic chemical kit?

Post by barnaclebob »

Do you have a university with a chemistry program nearby? Maybe see what they do and see if you can get ahold of whoever is in charge of their chemical disposal. If your are nice they may just let you bring them by to dispose of.
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sdsailing
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Re: How to dispose of an inorganic chemical kit?

Post by sdsailing »

barnaclebob wrote:Do you have a university with a chemistry program nearby? Maybe see what they do and see if you can get ahold of whoever is in charge of their chemical disposal. If your are nice they may just let you bring them by to dispose of.
There is often a significant charge for disposal even internally at Universities, i.e. PI of lab has to pay for disposal per unit of material. Of course it won't hurt to ask but it seems unlikely.
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Re: How to dispose of an inorganic chemical kit?

Post by Teague »

FreeAtLast wrote:mr_breen:

1) If Chem Service will take the chemicals back, you do not package or transport them. Let their employees do that if they are properly trained and certified to do so.

2) I'd better ask.....did your uncle store any old liquid chemicals in the house or garage? If so, what are their names? (Please do not touch or move the bottles if they are present).

(Edited)
And he's not kidding about the not touching or moving part. I remember stories of old cans of ether (very common) told by my even older chemistry professor. Nicely summarized by the following lifted from the Internet:

"Ether reacts with air to form shock sensitive explosive peroxides. For this reason it should always be kept in a metal container which will inhibit the formation of peroxides. Ether must never be stored in glass jars. Bottles of ether contaminated with peroxides have been known to explode from unscrewing the lid. Be aware that although metal inhibits the formation of peroxides, it does not remove existing peroxides and new peroxides still may form.

As a general rule, ether stored without refrigeration should not be used longer than three months after it is opened. Close attention should be paid to the expiration date on the can. Very old cans of ether often must be disposed of by bomb squads rather than disposal agencies."

And that's just one chemical, as an example.

from
http://cool.conservation-us.org/waac/wn ... 6-205.html
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mr_breen
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Re: How to dispose of an inorganic chemical kit?

Post by mr_breen »

FreeAtLast wrote:mr_breen:

1) If Chem Service will take the chemicals back, you do not package or transport them. Let their employees do that if they are properly trained and certified to do so.

2) I'd better ask.....did your uncle store any old liquid chemicals in the house or garage? If so, what are their names? (Please do not touch or move the bottles if they are present).

(Edited)
Thank you so much for advice and information - much appreciated. I don't see any liquid chemicals yet. He seems to have a lot of glassware (beakers, burets) and instruments (microscopes, long mercury thermometers, and other instruments I cannot identify.)

I carefully opened some of the drawers in the inorganic chemical kit. Some of the bottles have some brown powder on the outside of them. I'm not sure if some bottle broke and leaked or maybe it is just rust from the metal cabinet. I am leaning toward rust from the cabinet or maybe some of the foam packing disintegrating. Remember this cabinet has been in a garage for over 20 years in a climate where we get hot humid summers and cold winters.

Below are a couple more pics of the drawers:

http://i.imgur.com/VXoxhjO.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/8QWTfYE.jpg

In any event, it makes me wary of moving it. It looks like this is going to be much more involved and complex process than I was anticipating.
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FrugalInvestor
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Re: How to dispose of an inorganic chemical kit?

Post by FrugalInvestor »

Maybe the company that your uncle worked for would feel some responsibility to help you properly dispose of the chemicals. They may have some liability as well if the chemicals belonged to them.
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Re: How to dispose of an inorganic chemical kit?

Post by Ged »

I would definitely start with your county waste disposal organization. The one in my county handles a great variety of materials including old pesticides that are quite toxic. They advertise that they will take old chemistry sets. They take up to 20 gallons of material per visit. They would likely take the majority of what you have.

Some of the compounds on your list could be a problem though. The mercury and cadmium compounds in particular.
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Re: How to dispose of an inorganic chemical kit?

Post by JoinToday »

My first reaction was: Damn, looks better than the chemistry set I had in the 3rd grade. I might have been able to do something with those chemicals.

I remember a couple friends and I trying to make gun powder in the 3rd or 4th grade. We weren't successful, as evidence by the fact that I have all 10 fingers, both eyes, and hearing, although the eyes and hearing aren't what they used to be.

Hard to believe I survived intact, given all the bone headed things I did growing up.

My advice is to follow the sage of the advice from previous posters.
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Re: How to dispose of an inorganic chemical kit?

Post by Nestegg_User »

This most definitely should NOT be disposed in regular trash.
Especially problematic compounds are---

Group 1:
All cadmium compounds
All mercury compounds
(Chromium are chrom-III not chrom-IV but may need special disposal)
Beryllium (radioactive)
Group 2:
Potassium chromate
Potassium cyanide (poison)
Potassium cyanate (also poison)
Potassium perchlorate (explosive)
Potassium permanganate
Sodium arsenate
Sodium chromate and dichromate
Thorium nitrate (radioactive)
Uranyl nitrate (possibly radioactive)

Due to cradle-to-grave aspect, NO respectable lab would take these, some of which are P-listed or worse (the radioisotopes) and would be expensive to discard.

Definitely a call to your local hazardous waste disposal center. (It may not be cheap. )



And Teague: when I was CHO at one location, I had someone with a few pounds of potassium perchlorate next to some old ether cans and a few gallons of Stoddard solvent. (they had inquired as to whether they should move to the regular disposal -- I said h$ll NO,it was shall we say, an interesting situation)
Another time, had a few pounds of old picric acid - dried with nice crystals everywhere. Can you say " bomb squad ". We were able to dispose but it sure was interesting.
Last edited by Nestegg_User on Mon Jun 20, 2016 5:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
barnaclebob
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Re: How to dispose of an inorganic chemical kit?

Post by barnaclebob »

sdsailing wrote:
barnaclebob wrote:Do you have a university with a chemistry program nearby? Maybe see what they do and see if you can get ahold of whoever is in charge of their chemical disposal. If your are nice they may just let you bring them by to dispose of.
There is often a significant charge for disposal even internally at Universities, i.e. PI of lab has to pay for disposal per unit of material. Of course it won't hurt to ask but it seems unlikely.
I don't think the extracurricular club I was part of had to pay to dispose any of our hazmat through the large state universities disposal service. It was mostly various solvents but we labeled most of it as "unknown" if we couldn't figure out what it was.
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Re: How to dispose of an inorganic chemical kit?

Post by inbox788 »

Ged wrote:I would definitely start with your county waste disposal organization. The one in my county handles a great variety of materials including old pesticides that are quite toxic. They advertise that they will take old chemistry sets. They take up to 20 gallons of material per visit. They would likely take the majority of what you have.

Some of the compounds on your list could be a problem though. The mercury and cadmium compounds in particular.
Mercury thermometers and NiCad batteries were very common. Community/consumer waste disposal units are probably well versed in handling them.

Thorium is radioactive and breaks down into Radon. I would be more worried about that, but looking at past uses and the small quantities involved, I haven't come across anything that i'd panic over yet. Came across some hazard disposal instruction that measures chemicals by the gallons and pounds or even hundreds of pounds.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gas_mantle#Thorium

Today, if someone drops and breaks a mercury thermometer or CFL bulb at a workplace, everyone sounds the alarm and evacuates the building, calling in the hazmat team to clean up the damage and writing up an incident report. Half a century ago, millions of mercury thermometers were routinely used and only few problems occurred over long/lifetime exposures.

Hope you find a simple solution that's not a sledgehammer to a thumbtack.
JoinToday wrote:My first reaction was: Damn, looks better than the chemistry set I had in the 3rd grade. I might have been able to do something with those chemicals.

I remember a couple friends and I trying to make gun powder in the 3rd or 4th grade. We weren't successful, as evidence by the fact that I have all 10 fingers, both eyes, and hearing, although the eyes and hearing aren't what they used to be.

Hard to believe I survived intact, given all the bone headed things I did growing up.
Yah! When the county hazard disposal advertises they accept chemistry sets, I think they're talking about your 3rd grade kit, not this one (or those from the landlord that just evicted the meth lab or terrorist lab from their apartment). Good thing you didn't have the internet of today. Urban folktale says some online recipes are designed to blow off fingers of those that don't know what they're doing.
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Re: How to dispose of an inorganic chemical kit?

Post by Ged »

inbox788 wrote: Yah! When the county hazard disposal advertises they accept chemistry sets, I think they're talking about your 3rd grade kit, not this one (or those from the landlord that just evicted the meth lab or terrorist lab from their apartment). Good thing you didn't have the internet of today. Urban folktale says some online recipes are designed to blow off fingers of those that don't know what they're doing.
I don't think the county is worried about 3rd grade chemistry sets. More likely they want to scoop up the stuff that high school kids who have gotten a copy of the Anarchist's Cookbook are messing with.
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mr_breen
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Re: How to dispose of an inorganic chemical kit?

Post by mr_breen »

OP Back With Update:

Hi. I just wanted to thank everyone for the advice I received and give an update on what finally happened with these chemicals.

So, I decided to call some local hazardous waste disposal companies. A few of them specifically dealt with lab pack disposals and I emailed my inventory to them. I got quotes in the $1500 to $2000 range for picking up and disposing of the chemicals.

One of the chemical disposal directors I spoke to was very nice and asked if I was doing this disposal for a business or a home. I explained that this is for a home and he told me that his company is actually contracted by my uncle's county to do household hazardous waste disposal for county residents. This man looked at my inventory and told me that I could definitely bring the entire kit of chemicals to the public household hazardous waste disposal and it would be disposed of for free. He also said that he has supervised these public waste disposals in the past and he has seen people bring in even larger kits with more dangerous chemicals.

So, I decided to bring the kit to household hazardous waste disposal. I found some instructions in the kit that actually explained how to ship the kit via UPS. I figured if it was permissible to send the kit via UPS, it would probably be OK to drive it myself a short distance.

So, I put some protective gloves on and I tied the drawers closed and wrapped the entire thing in two contractor bags. When I arrived at the disposal location, I gave the volunteer the inventory list. She took it over to a supervisor who looked at the list and made me wait a few minutes. They came back and told me they would take everything. So, I gave them the entire cabinet and told them I needed nothing back. I was also able to dispose of a bunch of large mercury lab thermometers.

I have nothing but praise for my county's household waste disposal. They were very friendly and very efficient. I found it interesting that the screen for what they accept sort of works in the reverse of what I was expecting. I initially feared that the chemicals I had were too dangerous for them to accept. When I arrived at the site, they actually asked if I had latex paint or alkaline batteries and told me they can't accept those. They were actually screening out products that are NOT dangerous enough for them to accept. The told me they accept almost everything that's hazardous.

My particular situation was probably pretty unique. I suppose the lesson here might be to make use of your household hazardous waste disposal (if you have one.) The volunteers working mine were great. They took everything I had and were very helpful. Plus, they seemed generally happy to see these items disposed of properly.
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Re: How to dispose of an inorganic chemical kit?

Post by livesoft »

^That's a great story, but I have to wonder what will happen to the radioactive things that you gave them.
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Wellfleet
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Re: How to dispose of an inorganic chemical kit?

Post by Wellfleet »

livesoft wrote:^That's a great story, but I have to wonder what will happen to the radioactive things that you gave them.
The county experts may be experts in radiation control as well as chemical waste or most likely work with rad control officers to remediate anything radioactive.

Great story. Very cost effective for county to offer this and make it easy versus cleaning up polluted groundwater or major hazmat incident when dumped in trash and garbage truck starts smoking.
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Re: How to dispose of an inorganic chemical kit?

Post by FreeAtLast »

Excellent! I'm very glad it worked out so well for you, mr_breen. A lot of the county hazardous waste sites that I am familiar with would not have accepted those chemicals.
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livesoft
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Re: How to dispose of an inorganic chemical kit?

Post by livesoft »

Wellfleet wrote:
livesoft wrote:^That's a great story, but I have to wonder what will happen to the radioactive things that you gave them.
The county experts may be experts in radiation control as well as chemical waste or most likely work with rad control officers to remediate anything radioactive.
That's one interpretation. Another is that they are clueless. For instance, if the radioactive chemicals (and/or) the cabinet did not have a radioactive symbol on it, they may not have even noticed.

I've been to our county hazardous waste disposal site where batteries and paint thinner are accepted. I have less faith than you do.
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mr_breen
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Re: How to dispose of an inorganic chemical kit?

Post by mr_breen »

Just curious - Does anyone know what actually happens to hazardous chemicals during a proper disposal process?

For example, the potassium cyanide I gave them is highly poisonous. Does that get rendered harmless during some process and released back into the environment? Or do they just put in very strong sealed drums and transport it to an area where it will hopefully never leak into the groundwater and just let it sit forever (sort of like nuclear waste.)

Also, wondering what happens to the mercury in the thermometers I gave them. Maybe it gets recycled to be used for other industrial purposes?
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Re: How to dispose of an inorganic chemical kit?

Post by GreenGrowTheDollars »

Glad this worked out so well for you.

In college I worked at a lab that had previously been directed by a scientist who was active and helping the military during WWII. The back supply room had hundreds of amber glass bottles bearing names like X429 with dates in the 1940's and 50's, as well as many other bottles of labeled chemicals. When the new lab director saw what was behind all the boxes that had been piled up in front of that old room, he ordered everyone out. It was almost three weeks before any of us were allowed back in the lab...apparently some of the material was not only hazardous, but very sensitive to movement. I don't know if they ever figured out what everything even was given some of the cryptic labels.

...though I still miss playing with mercury. That stuff is cool. (And, yeah, hazardous, but we didn't really know that way back when.)
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Re: How to dispose of an inorganic chemical kit?

Post by neilpilot »

mr_breen wrote:Just curious - Does anyone know what actually happens to hazardous chemicals during a proper disposal process?
It depends. Disposal can be by Fuel Blending, Neutralization, Incineration or Landfill.

For example, there are several neutralization methods whereby cyanide waste can be chemically treated, resulting in conversion of cyanide to cyanate or another compound of (relatively) low toxicity. However, in the case of lab pack disposal it's often less expensive to landfill or even to incinerate the entire pack than to unpack and customize disposal methods.
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Epsilon Delta
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Re: How to dispose of an inorganic chemical kit?

Post by Epsilon Delta »

If you put KCN in a landfill it does not have to be contained forever. It is reactive and sooner or later it will react. Usually that will eventually result in something less dangerous.

Also cyanide is naturally present in small concentrations in a lot of things, many of which we eat quite safely -- there are biological processes for handling very low doses. For poisons of this sort massive dilution may be a perfectly reasonable disposal plan.
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FreeAtLast
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Re: How to dispose of an inorganic chemical kit?

Post by FreeAtLast »

mr_breen wrote:Just curious - Does anyone know what actually happens to hazardous chemicals during a proper disposal process?

For example, the potassium cyanide I gave them is highly poisonous. Does that get rendered harmless during some process and released back into the environment? Or do they just put in very strong sealed drums and transport it to an area where it will hopefully never leak into the groundwater and just let it sit forever (sort of like nuclear waste.)

Also, wondering what happens to the mercury in the thermometers I gave them. Maybe it gets recycled to be used for other industrial purposes?
Mercury can be and is recycled. For example, check out:

http://www.bethlehemapparatus.com
Illegitimi non carborundum.
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