Lab safety

Laboratory safety programs apply across many, if not all, campus laboratories. They are developed to ensure the health and safety of university members and to ensure regulatory compliance. The programs also set out the university's program-specific requirements as well as support education and training. The SFU Laboratory safety manual assembles key information from the SFU Laboratory safety program in a single document.

Hazardous waste

Dispose of all your laboratory waste responsibly to protect human health and the environment, as well as SFU plumbing and sewer infrastructure.


  • Print the Laboratory Waste Handling Guide for a quick visual aid that can be posted in your lab.
  • Request pickup of hazardous chemical or biological waste from your laboratory using the link below.
  • Submit your request before 3 pm on the day prior the desired collection day.

Refer to each program area for specific information about:

Consult the topics below as needed related to hazardous waste.


Refer to the Guide for hazardous waste labelling. Request labels from EHS or pick up at Science Stores.

Solvent waste containers

SFU provides reusable 5L translucent Baritainers® for laboratory organic solvent waste. Pick up containers at Science Stores or request drop off when placing a hazardous waste request.

Segregate and label your organic solvent waste accordingly as either halogenated or non-halogenated.

Do not use SFU solvent containers for oxidizing waste or mercury-containing waste. The containers can then no longer be reused and will be sent for disposal.

Animal and fish carcasses

Place animal and fish carcasses in heavy duty (high mil) plastic bags to a maximum weight of 10 kg. Label waste bags and place them into a red hard-sided container located within a designated tissue freezer. For freezers in Animal Care and Biological Sciences, staff will arrange pickup. For other department freezers, you must request hazardous waste pickup.

Glass and chemical container waste

SFU does not recycle glass chemical containers or other laboratory glass waste.

Ensure all chemical containers are triple rinsed before placing them in the glass waste box or regular waste stream (for non glass items). Collect rinsates for disposal in an appropriate waste stream.

For glass contaminated with infectious materials, autoclave or adequately disinfect prior to disposal.

Refer to the Chemical containers and glass waste disposal procedure for details.

Mercury waste

Mercury is expensive to dispose and containers used for mercury waste (elemental and salts) will also be sent for disposal. Please take note of the following:

  • Do not use SFU reusable solvent waste containers for any mercury-containing waste. Use empty reagent bottles instead.
  • EHS encourages phase out of mercury-containing thermometers and equipment. For example, mercury strain gauges may be replaced by indium-gallium strain gauges and mercury thermometers by organic liquid-filled thermometers, platinum resistance thermometers, thermistors or thermocouples. 
  • When disposing of intact equipment containing elemental mercury (e.g., thermometers, sphygmomanometers), remove all components which are not in direct contact with mercury. Double bag the part containing mercury and label it "Contains elemental mercury."

Mercury spill? Refer to Spills