Skip Navigation
Oklahoma State University

Waste Identification

Waste Identification Guide

To identify a waste chemical, determine the scientific name or names if a mixture of the substance. If the scientific name is not on the label of the waste container, refer to the Safety Data Sheet (SDS). Scientific names of chemicals are required to be present on a SDS which identifies a trade-name chemical.

Lists, Characteristics, Criteria: To designate a waste as a regulated waste, determine whether the waste:

  • Is present on one of the lists of hazardous or dangerous chemicals,
  • Has the characteristics of a hazardous waste
  • Meets certain criteria which make the substance a hazardous waste.

EPA LISTS AND CHARACTERISTICS

If the chemical name does not appear on any of the lists, the substance may still be a regulated waste.

EPA CHARACTERISTICS

For chemicals which are not on these lists, EPA has definitions of “characteristics” of non-listed hazardous wastes. If a surplus or waste chemical meets those characteristics, it must be managed as a hazardous chemical waste. These characteristics are identified by the terms ignitability, corrosivity, reactivity, and toxicity.

  1. Ignitability (D001): If the waste chemical meets the ignitability characteristic as indicated below it is a dangerous waste and carries the D001 waste code. NOTE: “Ignitable” substances include flammable liquids, flammable solids, flammable gases, and oxidizers.
  • Flammable liquid is defined as a non-aqueous solution which has a flash point of less than 60 degrees C (140 degrees F). As measured by a Pensky-Martens Closed Cup Flash Tester utilizing a specific method.
  • Flammable liquid is also defined as an aqueous solution containing more than 24% alcohol which has a flash point of less than 60 degrees C (140 degrees F). As measured by a Pensky-Martens Closed Cup Flash Tester utilizing a specific method.
  • Flammable solid is defined as any material which is not a liquid at standard temperature and pressure, and which may ignite as a result of friction or the absorption of moisture, or which may ignite spontaneously.
  • Flammable gas is defined according to 49 CFR 173.300, as “a compressed gas” in which “any one of the following occurs”:
    • Either a mixture of 13% or less (by volume) with air forms a flammable mixture or the flammable range with air is wider than 12% regardless of the lower explosive limit (tested using a specified method).
    • When igniting the gas at the valve, the flame projects more than 18 inches beyond the ignition source with the valve opened fully, or, the flame flashes back and burns at the valve with any degree of valve opening (tested using a specified method).
    • There is any significant propagation of flame away from the ignition source (tested using a specified method).
    • There is any explosion of the vapor-air mixture in a drum (tested using a specified method).
    • Oxidizer is defined as “a substance such as a chlorate, permanganate, inorganic peroxide, or a nitrate, that yields oxygen readily to stimulate the combustion of organic matter.” Oxidizer is also defined as “an organic compound containing the bivalent-O-O- structure and which may be considered a derivative of hydrogen peroxide where one or more of the hydrogen atoms have been replaced by organic radicals”, unless the material is classified as an explosive, forbidden for transportation, or it is determined that the predominant hazard of the material containing the organic peroxide is other than that of an organic peroxide.
  1. Corrosivity (D002): If the chemical meets the corrosivity characteristic as indicated below it is a dangerous waste and carries the D002 waste code. Corrosive is defined as:
  • An aqueous solution which exhibits the characteristic of pH less than or equal to 2 or greater than or equal to 12.5.
  • Any material which corrodes steel (SAE 1020) at a rate of 0.250 inches per year at 55oC. (130oF.).
  • Any solid or semi-solid material which, when tested using a specified procedure exhibits a pH less than or equal to 2 or greater than or equal to 12.5.*
  1. Reactivity (D003): If the waste meets the reactivity characteristic as indicated below it is a dangerous waste and carries the D003 waste code. A reactive is defined as:
  • Reacts violently upon contact with water, or produces toxic or explosive gases upon contact with water, or
  • Is cyanide or sulfide bearing and when exposed to solution of pH less than 2 or greater than 12.5 produces toxic vapors, or
  • Is capable of detonation or explosion, or
  • It’s classified as a Forbidden Material (49 CFR 173.51), Class A Explosive (49 CFR 173.53), or Class B Explosive (49 CFR 173.88) by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
  1. Toxicity Characteristics (D004-D043): The toxicity characteristics waste list is used to control wastes with toxic characteristics. Chemicals on this list have “D” prefixes. If a waste or any constituent of a waste mixture is on the Toxicity Characteristic list, it carries the applicable D code.