Waste Management

Laboratories produce a high volume of wastes from packaging materials to single-use equipment. The following is information on how to utilize campus resources for sustainable waste management practices in laboratories.

Download a one-page information sheet about waste reduction here.

Glassware & Plasticware

  • There are positive and negative environmental impacts of using plasticware or glassware. Both options are long-lasting but it is best to consider which material is best suitable for specific labs needs.


  • Lightweight and less prone to shatter but effected by high temperature and some chemicals.
  • Shorter lifespan due to lower visibility and chemical damages.


  • Heat and chemical resistant but heavyweight and prone to shatter.
  • Greater carbon footprint when produced and transported.

Zero Waste Bins

  • Ensure break rooms and facility hallways incorporate Zero Waste bins to contribute to UCI Zero Waste efforts.

  • Requests to order Zero Waste bins are through Facilities Management using an FMR, or call 949-824-5444.

Styrofoam Recycling Bins

recycle bin
  • Styrofoam, or polystyrene, production emits about 21 million tons of CO2, which is equivalent to the emission of 5 power plants.

  • Styrofoam is either packaging or storage materials because some labs have repurposed styrofoams for laboratory usage.

  • UCI has implemented styrofoam specific recycling bins located at designated lab facilities. Display the following map of where styrofoam bins are located within lab facilities.

100% Recycled Paper

  • Set printers and computers to print double-sided, as well as minimizing content when possible. Paper can also be recycled in the blue recycling bins.

  • UCI had committed to purchasing 100% post-consumer waste (PCW) paper as a standard copy paper for the campus to practice environmental purchasing. The 100% recycled paper can be purchased here at UCI Buy.

Cardboard Recycling

  • Cardboard is a naturally biodegradable material, if not contaminated. Recycled cardboard takes 75% of the energy needed to make new cardboard.

  • Cardboard that is cleaned and flattened can be placed near loading docks of the facility to be recycled.

Hazardous Waste Disposal

  • Improper disposal of hazardous waste can pollute the environment and pose a threat to human health.

  • Therefore, the Environmental Health & Safety department had created a comprehensive list of resources for managing hazardous wastes, including chemical, biohazards, radioactive, e-wastes, and etc. EH&S Hazardous Waste Management.