Lab Cleanout Inventory

Do an Inventory

To determine what chemicals are present in your school, it is very important to create and maintain a chemical inventory. Conducting a thorough lab chemical inventory at your school will give you an idea of the types and condition of chemicals in storage. A good inventory will help schools plan for the cost of removing unwanted chemicals. Schools may be able to lower disposal costs by joining with other schools in their areas for ‘group’ removals. In addition, conducting an inventory will provide information on whether adequate storage, handling, and purchasing procedures are in place. Please remember, old chemicals may be unstable and some chemicals may form explosive compounds as they age. Caution must be used at all times in handling bottles and containers. Have a plan to deal with potential explosives. Will the local or state bomb squad remove potential explosives? Will a private hazardous waste removal company be hired to remove potential explosives? What agencies need to be alerted? What is the procedure for removal of potential explosives? Will the school have to close until the chemical is removed? Notify your local authority (i.e. Fire Department) that you will be doing a inventory, especially if this is the first inventory in several years.

After completing an inventory, decisions can then be made on what chemicals are needed and what chemicals should be discarded. All unwanted chemicals must be disposed of properly and in accordance with Florida solid and hazardous waste regulations.

Decide How to Complete the Inventory

Several precautions should be taken prior to starting an inventory:

  • The inventory should be completed by personnel knowledgeable about school laboratory chemicals, i.e. the science teacher.
  • School personnel who are not knowledgeable about school laboratory chemicals may, under the direct supervision of a knowledgeable person, assist with the inventory.
  • Students should not be allowed to perform or help or be in the area.
  • Work in pairs and never work alone.
  • Designate other personnel to periodically check on the safety of the inventory staff.
  • Schedule ample time to complete the inventory.
  • Wear chemical resistant gloves, chemical splash goggles, a lab apron, and closed toed shoes.
  • Have spill cleanup materials immediately available.
  • Make sure the area is well ventilated while you are performing the inventory.
  • Provide access to a telephone, eyewash, and a safety shower.
  • Emergency telephone numbers should be clearly posted near available telephones.
  • The inventory team should review the school's Chemical Safety or Hygiene Plan, if one is available.
  • Review published safety guidelines for working around lab chemicals.
  • Remember to look everywhere. Containers of chemicals may be behind glassware, in refrigerators, or in other cabinets in the lab.

Procedures Following the Inventory

  • Determine what waste chemicals must be managed and disposed of as hazardous waste.
  • Select what (if any) chemicals need to be removed and disposed. All unwanted chemicals must be disposed of properly and in accordance with Florida solid and hazardous waste regulations. FDEP or a hazardous waste disposal company can give assistance with disposal options.
  • Any immediate cleanup response is required.
  • Are any containers open or leaking? If the chemical is not explosive, it may be transferred to another compatible container and the spill cleaned up. Be sure to properly mark the contents on the new, compatible, container.
  • Does any chemical pose a significant, immediate risk? This is a difficult question to answer, particularly if potentially explosive chemicals are present. The situation should be discussed with the School District’s Health, Safety or Environmental person.
  • Consult with municipal landfills and city sewers prior to disposing any unwanted chemicals via those utilities. Septic or storm water systems are not city sewers, and chemical disposal via a septic system is probably illegal.
  • Develop a detailed inventory of all unwanted chemicals that are not suitable or allowable for disposal via the municipal landfill or city sewer.
  • Using the detailed inventory, obtain cost estimates from several reputable waste disposal firms or call FDEP.

Hire an experienced waste disposal company to remove remaining unwanted chemicals or use the Household Hazardous Waste Collection Program contractors Disposal Contacts (PDF) .

Inventory List (Excel) Inventory Template (Excel) DEP Inventory Procedures

Call the Bureau of Solid & Hazardous Waste at 850-245-8707, or visit for additional information.


325 West Gaines Street
Suite, 1054
Tallahassee, FL 32399
Phone: 850-245-9295

Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)
Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)
Hazardous Waste Regulation Section
Florida Department of Environmental Protection
2600 Blair Stone Road MS 4560
Tallahassee, FL 32399-2400
Phone: 850-245-8707