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Waste & Environmental Programs

Waste Programs

UNCW is prepared for chemical or hazardous leaks and spills. Learn about our clear plans for keeping students, faculty and staff safe.


Laboratory staff shall clean chemical spills and contaminated areas that are bench scale and in which they have adequate materials to respond.

Take prompt action to prevent further release or harm to persons in the area if any hazardous, radioactive or biohazard material is spilled or is leaking.

If the spill is large, you do not have appropriate equipment or you feel uneasy, contact EH&S at 910.962.3057 for assistance. After hours, call 911.

Fill out the Unwanted Material Incident Form after containing the spill or evacuating the area.


EH&S recommends that each laboratory have a spill kit. Since each laboratory uses different chemicals, the spill kit should be specific to the hazards present in that laboratory.


When available, EH&S supplies 1L, 4L or 5-gallon waste containers for disposing of liquid lab waste. Please call EH&S to request a waste container.

Broken glass containers, once full, can be disposed of directly into the dumpster by lab personnel. The liquid hazardous waste is disposed of and managed by EH&S. A Unwanted Material Form is available from EH&S and must be submitted prior to pick-up. All waste must be properly labeled.

Please make sure all waste containers are labeled, kept closed and are protected from breakage. Any fines for improper waste handling are the responsibility of the generating department.


If you notice the smell of natural gas or other strange odor, this may be the first signal of a hazardous materials release that could result in a loss of life or damage to property or the environment. Take prompt action to notify appropriate parties to investigate.

Notify the Physical Plant and EH&S at 910.962.3057 for assistance. After hours, call 911.

Provide the following information:

  • Your Name
  • Department
  • Building
  • Room
  • Description of odor
  • Time odor first observed
  • Is this the first occurrence
  • Leave the area immediately if you begin coughing, wheezing or have watery eyes
  • Activate the fire alarm system to evacuate the building
  • Do not close the door as this will concentrate fumes
  • Evacuate to a safe distance and meet with authorities to provide information regarding the odor or leak
Biohazard Waste
Universal Waste

The Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S) Department manages the light recycling program at UNCW. All lights used at UNCW, except incandescent lights, are included in this program. The lights are considered hazardous due to the mercury content and can no longer be disposed of in the landfills. The lights managed under this program are specifically mercury-containing lamps to include:

  • Fluorescent Lamps
  • Compact Fluorescent Lamps
  • Mercury Vapor Bulbs
  • Metal Halide Lamps
  • High Pressure Sodium

The lights will be sent to a recycling vendor with selection based on environmental compliance with industry standards and insurance levels. The light recycling technology separates mercury-containing lamps into their main components, recovers the mercury, and recycles 100 percent of the end product. They accept all the mercury-containing lamps generated at UNCW.



  1. Physical Plant, Auxiliary Services, and Housing and Residence Life maintenance personnel are responsible for changing out the lights and, therefore, they will have the responsibility for the management of the program. The maintenance personnel in these departments will store the used lights in the original cardboard containers in their designated storage areas.
  2. "Universal Waste" labels are placed on these boxes by the generating department. The labels identify the generating department and the date. EH&S provides the labels to the departments.
  3. Physical Plant is the largest generator and they determine the pick-up schedule based on their storage capabilities. Physical Plant personnel will notify EH&S when their storage area is nearing capacity.
  4. EH&S schedules a pick-up from the recycling vendor at this time. Two weeks lead time is required.
  5. All used lights must be transferred to the warehouse receiving dock prior to pick-up.
  6. After the pick-up, EH&S will bill each department for their portion of the recycling costs.

If university employees change their own lights, they must contact their maintenance personnel or EH&S for assistance in sending the lights to the recycling storage area.

EH&S endorses this recycling program and feels that it supports the environmentally conscious mission of the university.

Environmental Programs

Spill Prevention Control & Countermeasures