Solid Radioactive Waste

Long-Lived Waste

For wastes with half-lives > 120 days. Example: solid waste contaminated with H-3 or C-14.

Solid wastes containing radioisotopes with half-lives greater than 120 days are collected in white 5-gallon polypropylene pails lined with heavy plastic yellow liners.

White 5-gallon pail for long-lived solid waste

Use this pail for solid wastes with half-lives > 120 days

Short-Lived Solid Waste (Decay-in-Storage Waste)

Solid wastes containing radioisotopes with half-lives of 120 days or less are collected in pails within laboratories and then transferred to a campus storage facility, known as the Decay-in-Storage (DIS) Facility. These wastes are held for a minimum of ten half-lives and then surveyed. If no detectable radioactivity is found, the waste is then disposed of as non-radioactive medical waste.

Decay-In-Storage Waste with Very Short Half-Lives (< 15 days)
Example: P-32

Solid wastes containing radioisotopes with half-lives < 15 days are collected in the lab in gray 5-gallon polypropylene pails lined with heavy plastic yellow liners.

Gray 5-gallon pail for P-32 waste

Use this pail for your P-32 solid waste.

Decay-In-Storage Waste with Moderately Short Half-Lives (between 15 - 120 days)
Example: P-33, S-35, I-125

Solid wastes containing radioisotopes with half-lives between 15 and120 days are collected in the lab in blue 5-gallon polypropylene pails lined with heavy plastic yellow liners.

Blue 5-gallon pail for solid wastes such as P-33, S-35 or I-125

Use this pail for P-33, S-35 and I-125 solid wastes.

Prohibitions

A red sharps box

Put your syringes, razor blades, pasteur pipettes and other sharps into a sharps box and then put the box into the radioactive waste pail!

  • No unprotected sharps
  • No liquids, except for droplet amounts and damp materials
  • No hazardous chemical wastes
  • No animal wastes
  • No contained sources (see the section below about contained source disposal)
  • No lead (such as lead pigs and lead shielding)

Radioactive Gels

Radioactive gels should be disposed of in the solid radioactive waste bins and not down the sink. They do not need to go in a secondary container in the solid waste bins.

Click here for Laboratory Radioactive Waste Disposal Procedures - Solid Waste

Disposing of Contained Sources

Examples of contained sources (plated and sealed sources)

In a contained source, the radioactivity is present in a form that is not easily dispersible due to its design characteristics.  For example, the radioactivity may be encapsulated in a welded capsule, embedded into a matrix or plated onto a surface.  Contact EHS prior to disposing of contained sources.  Special waste packaging and disposal arrangements may be necessary.