Lab Cleanout

At Appalachian State University, a lab cleanout is defined as the removal of an excess amount of unwanted, abandoned, unused or expired chemicals from a laboratory. Lab cleanouts may also involve radioactive and bio-hazardous wastes. Specifying a lab cleanout procedure is necessary to minimize exposures to hazardous materials for university personnel and students as well as helping the university remain in compliance with state and federal environmental and rules and regulations.

Lab cleanouts are to be requested when an excessive number of chemical containers or chemical volume has accumulated. This procedure is not to be utilized for routine hazardous waste pickups.

Situations which could require a lab cleanout

  • The lab is moving to another physical location, either temporarily or permanently.
  • The lab is discontinuing operations. This could be due to a faculty member's retirement, termination of employment, transfer to another role within the university or other similar circumstance.
  • The lab has accumulated an excess of chemicals which will not be used.

Lab Cleanout Procedure

  • Lab cleanouts can place additional stress on the time and resources of EHS&EM and academic departments. For this reason, lab cleanouts should be planned well in advance. The lab cleanout questionnaire should be completed at least 30 days prior to needing the chemicals removed.
  • Complete the lab cleanout questionnaire. Generally, a lab with > 30 containers is considered to be an area requiring a lab cleanout. Labs with fewer than 30 containers can usually utilize the Hazardous Waste Inventory Form, located here.
  • Unknown chemicals are a safety hazard and very expensive to dispose of. Every effort should be taken to identify all constituents of every container.
  • Ensure all chemical containers are properly labeled. Print, complete and apply App State's hazardous waste labels, to correctly prepare the chemicals for removal.
  • Confirm all containers are in good condition and closed during this process. Keep all incompatible chemicals segregated while in storage.
  • EHS&EM is available to provide an initial consultation if you need help with container labeling, preparation, and segregation. If you require any guidance with this procedure, or if the lab stores any amount of radioactive or bio-hazardous materials/wastes, contact the Environmental Affairs Manager or (828) 262-4008.



  • Providing guidance and assistance to faculty, staff, department and lab personnel in order to facilitate lab cleanout procedure.
  • Setting up arrangements for the university's hazardous waste vendor to service lab cleanout areas and remove the waste.

Principal Investigators (PIs) and lab personnel

  • Notifying the applicable department and EHS&EM of their planned departure, move or transfer at least 30 days prior to the event by using the lab cleanout questionnaire.
  • Seeking guidance from EHS&EM and following all steps located in the lab closeout procedure.


  • Notifying EHS&EM and following the lab cleanout procedure when abandoned chemical wastes are left behind, due to faculty and lab personnel changes and/or transfers.
  • Notifying EHS&EM at least 30 days prior to temporary or permanent lab transfer, construction or renovation projects which will warrant the removal of chemicals.

Note: The associated department is ultimately responsible for the completion of lab cleanouts, so PIs should schedule lab cleanouts with EHS&EM at the earliest possible moment. This will reduce the complexity, risks and costs involved with performing the cleanout.

Have Questions?

For assistance or to schedule an appointment, contact the Environmental Affairs Manager or 828-262-4008.