Safe Chemical Disposal and Storage

One of the more regular queries our Technical Support team get are queries around how to dispose of old or used chemicals and what is the safest and compliant way to save them. Our guide helps you understand the complexities of managing your chemicals and making sure they are stored safely and disposed of correctly.


First, you need to ensure that all chemicals are stored correctly and safely. Chemicals that are hazardous to life are covered by COSHH guidelines, this means that they must be stored in a controlled, locked cabinet. If you are unsure of the suitability of your safe store cupboard then please see the DfE have produced this
latest update which you an insight in to the latest best practice.


Disposal Schools and colleges need to be aware of the range of legislation covering the disposal of waste. The HSE provides a wide range of advice and guidance for those who need to dispose of hazardous chemicals and substances. The Environmental Protection Act 1990 places an explicit duty of care on all those handling waste, including those producing it. It also places a duty of care on the disposer to ensure that waste does not harm future handlers. EU legislation is implemented by the Hazardous Waste Regulations 2005 (as amended).


These regulations mean that hazardous wastes from schools and colleges are considered differently to domestic and household wastes, and this has implications for how they must be dealt with. Schools and colleges should be aware that in addition to chemicals, hazardous waste may include many other items, e.g. computers, fluorescent light tubes and refrigerators. They can check with the Environment Agency (EA) on how to classify different types of waste, and use the EA’s hazardous waste guidance, which sets out the steps that must be followed when producing, storing and disposing of hazardous waste, to check their responsibilities. Further advice can be obtained from CLEAPSS.  Hazardous waste must be collected by a registered waste carrier. In some instances, such as transport and disposal of desensitised explosives, the carrier will need a classification or an authorisation from HSE (see HSE Explosives - Classification for transport). Schools and colleges should have in place arrangements to remove hazardous waste where this is required. 


CLEAPSS provides a list of registered hazardous waste disposal companies and where schools and colleges are setting up or making changes to arrangements for disposal they are advised to contact CLEAPSS to discuss their requirements and the appropriate arrangement.


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