Environmental Health and Safety

Disposal of Gas Cylinders

Acquired after May, 1993: return to original manufacturer or distributor

The Gas Cylinder Policy, adopted by The University in May 1993, prohibits the purchase of any gas cylinders for use on campus. Only cylinders that are guaranteed to be returnable to the distributor or manufacturer may be obtained after this date. The only exception to this policy prohibiting the purchase or acquisition of nonreturnable cylinders is for a compelling research reason. In such rare cases, a Letter of Credit commitment must be prepared which indicates that the PI will be responsible for the proper disposal of the non-returnable cylinder and agrees to pay a $1,000 fee if The University is required to dispose of the cylinder. This request is then submitted to the department chair and dean for review and approval. For more information concerning this policy, refer to Appendix XIV of the Laboratory Safety Manual (revised November 1996).

Acquired before May, 1993: treat as hazardous waste

Non-returnable gas cylinders purchased before May 1993 must be treated as hazardous waste and disposed of in accordance with the Laboratory Safety Manual (revised November 1996, pages 18-21). Before EHS can pick up any cylinder, a standard waste tag is required. The waste tag must be filled out by the generator and attached to the cylinder. A Request for Disposal (RFD) form must be submitted to EHS. If a cylinder is empty, the tag and RFD must be filled out with the previous content’s name and also noted with the word “empty”. To qualify as an empty cylinder, EHS requires that the valve be removed by the generator. Both the tag and the RFD form (instructions on reverse side) can be obtained by calling EHS.

“Cradle to Grave” Responsibility

Federal and State law prohibit disposal of hazardous chemicals including gases, by pouring them into the storm or sanitary sewer, putting them into a waste container destined for an unapproved landfill or by venting them to the atmosphere without treatment. Remember, the rules that govern the disposal of chemicals also apply to the container (cylinder) and to any residue remaining in the container.

Unidentified and Orphaned Gas Cylinders

All chemical containers including gas cylinders must be in good condition and properly labeled, sealed, and stored at all times. Anyone observing a cylinder that is in poor condition or whose owner and contents cannot be positively identified should immediately contact EHS.

For more information concerning the disposal of any hazardous waste including gas cylinders, call EHS at 471-3511.