Lab Pack Service
April 22, 2024

Manufacturing plants, laboratories, hospitals, government agencies, and other facilities that use potentially hazardous chemicals can all benefit from using a lab pack service. While there have been strict regulations regarding the management of a lab pack service through the Land Disposal Restrictions (LDR), and the Resource Recovery and Conservation Act (RCRA), working with a waste management service, such as Environmental Marketing Services will make this process safe and compliant with all laws.

What is a Lab Pack Service?

Lab packing is a process where potentially hazardous chemicals are placed into a DOT-approved container. The container is typically a 55-gallon drum or a cubic yard box. This large container is then filled with small containers of chemicals along with packing material to keep them safe from breaking or leaking during lab pack waste disposal. The packing material used is typically vermiculite.

The hazardous chemicals placed into lab packs are dangerous alone, and even more so when in the presence of other chemicals. Due to the dangers involved with handling these substances, only professionals such as those at Environmental Marketing Services should handle lab pack waste disposal. Trained lab packing technicians understand the dangers and safety precautions needed in handling these hazardous substances.

Materials typically packed for chemical waste lab pack services include:

  • Solvents
  • Oxidizers
  • Disinfecting and cleaning agents
  • Radioactive materials
  • Inks
  • Dyes
  • Paint thinner
  • Paint stripper
  • Compressed gasses
  • Aerosols

Lab packs are an ideal method to dispose of large quantities as well as small quantities of hazardous waste within federal and state regulations safely.

Chemical Waste Lab-Pack Services


Identification is the first step for a lab pack service. All chemicals that need lab pack disposal have to be identified according to their hazardous characteristics. Once identified, they can be properly packed into a DOT-approved container

The identification process should be completed by a qualified technician. The technician needs an intimate knowledge of hazardous substances, packing policies, and other guidelines regarding necessary safety measures. Certain chemicals are not hazardous and will not require lab pack disposal.

Once the identification process is complete, the technician should have knowledge of how much of each substance needs disposal, the quality of each chemical, and the location of each chemical. Labeling can begin once this information is gathered.

As much detail as possible should be included in the labeling process. Whenever a container is handled, the person handling it should know exactly what is inside, and what the chemical is capable of. The RCRA (Resource Conservation and Recovery Act) has a standardized coding system for labeling chemicals so anyone can read and understand detailed labels.


The segregation process begins once all containers have been identified and labeled. Separating the chemicals for safe packing and transportation is an important piece of lab pack disposal. The containers cannot be mixed randomly into the larger drum or box.

There are four types of hazardous chemicals:

  • Ignitable
  • Reactive
  • Toxic
  • Corrosive

Some of these chemicals can poison living things, some are flammable, others can cause decomposition or rust, and some can explode. These substances have to be properly separated, or segregated, as their combination with each other can make them more dangerous than when they are alone.


Once the segregation process is complete, the technician can begin the packing process for lab pack waste disposal. The chemicals should now be in small, durable, and airtight containers before they are placed into the larger DOT-approved drum or box.

The DOT (Department of Transportation) determines the quality of an approved container. Approval varies per industry, but the standards focus on durability. Durability means the container can withstand vibrations experienced during transportation, any extreme temperatures that might occur, and will not spill or catch on fire. Typically this means barrels or metal drums for chemical waste lab pack services.


While your facility may have a qualified professional on staff to identify and segregate the chemicals, you will still require a chemical waste transportation service, such as Environmental Marketing Services. The DOT not only has guidelines for containers, but it also enforces strict transportation regulations. These regulations are to keep transportation personnel, as well as others safe. Using Environmental Marketing Services ensures compliance with all DOT requirements so the lab pack reaches its destination safely.

When a lab pack is received at its destination, disposal of the materials may include recycling, chemical waste incineration, or another method of neutralizing or stabilizing treatment, blending, or disposal in a landfill.

When to Use Lab Pack Disposal

There are instances when a dangerous or hazardous chemical needs to be disposed of safely using a lab pack. These are a few situations when this process should be applied:

  • Condition of chemical has degraded– When a chemical is not stored properly or has not been sealed correctly, chemical degradation will occur
  • Expiration– If a chemical goes beyond its expiration date it is no longer of any use
  • No longer in use– In some cases, a chemical no longer has a use in the laboratory. An unneeded chemical can take up valuable space or become a potential hazard
  • Hazardous– Hazardous chemicals can become more of a risk than their use warrants. Check your inventory and learn if there are safer chemical alternatives and dispose of the more dangerous ones.

Turnkey Lab Pack Services

A turnkey lab pack service is a waste management service that provides on-site chemical material identification and inventory. A team of experts comes into your facility to properly dispose of the waste. There are many steps as outlined above in the handling of lab pack materials. There are many regulations to follow for the good of the environment and all personnel. Using the services of a turnkey lab pack service, such as Environmental Marketing Services will ensure that your facility complies with these regulations and avoids stiff fines, as well as negative impacts on the environment, workers, or staff.

There are various regulations all generators of chemical waste must comply with. These are two of the more significant ones:

Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)

The RCRA gives the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) full control over managing hazardous waste treatment, disposal, and storage. This Act requires all chemical waste generators to properly dispose of chemical waste promptly, and safely.

Through the years since the RCRA became active, there have been various amendments made. One of the more notable amendments is the Land Disposal Restriction (LDR) program. This program protects standards for stabilization, immobilization, and incineration. The three main portions of the program include regulations and rules concerning dilution prohibition, disposal prohibition, and storage prohibition.

Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA)

CERCLA is the EPA’s regulation over chemical waste. This Act allows the EPA to seek out and potentially punish any party that is responsible for the release of hazardous waste substances. The ACT ensures everyone remains in compliance. CERCLA sets standards for proper lab packing, who is authorized to perform lab packing, who is allowed to be present during lab packing, and applicable disposal and storage facilities, along with other restrictions and regulations.

Reliable Lab Pack Service

Lab pack waste disposal has many complex regulations to follow. Understanding these rules and keeping your staff, students, employees, and the environment safe are required. When you work with a Turnkey Lab-Pack Service, such as Environmental Marketing Services, you will have peace of mind knowing your facility is in complete compliance with all regulations.

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