Chemical Waste Compatibility

Waste Compatibility Charts by Chemical Group:

Alcohols and Glycols


Aliphatic and Aromatic Amines


Aromatic Hydrocarbons 

Azo Compounds, Diazo Compounds and Hydrazines



Combustibles and Flammables







Halogenated Organics

Inorganic Sulfides


Non-oxidizing Mineral Acids

Organic Sulfides and Mercaptans

Oxidizing Mineral Acids


Metals - Alkali and Alkaline Earth

Metals and Alloys as Powders, Vapors or Sponges

Metals and Alloys as Rods, Sheets and Drops

Metals - Toxic



Organic Acids

Organic Nitro Compounds

Organic Peroxides and Hydroperoxides

Organophosphates, Phosphiothioates and Phosphodithioates

Phenols and Cresols

Polymerizable Compounds

Saturated Aliphatic Hydrocarbons

Strong Oxidizing Agents

Strong Reducing Agents

Unsaturated Aliphatic Hydrocarbons

Water and Water Mixtures


 The Dangers of Mixing Incompatible Waste Streams


Segregating incompatible chemical waste is key to laboratory safety. When incompatible chemicals are combined, dangerous reactions can occur and can cause serious injury. These reactions can cause heat, pressure, fire, explosion and violent reactions. You can refer to our waste compatibility charts to determine which chemicals can and cannot be stored together safely. 

All waste containers must be properly labeled to ensure you are only mixing compatible waste. The labels must be clear and readable, preferably moisture resistant. If your labels become washed out, faded or unreadable, the chemicals will need to be analyzed before disposal to determine what they contain. It is preferable to avoid such an expensive process by ensuring labeling is done and maintained properly.


CP Lab Safety recommends that labs go above and beyond the labeling by using proper color-coding to make it immediately obvious to all workers which containers to use. Most organizations create their own color-coding systems, below is our suggestion. We now make ECO Funnel® in the following colors for easy color-coding. 







Never mix these groups of chemicals:

  • Acidic and alkalyne

  • Spontaneously combustible and acidic

  • Acidic and flammable

  • AcidicandCyanide

  • Acidic and reactive sulfides

  • Oxidizers and organics

  • Nitrates and acids

  • Ammoniated compounds and hypochlorites and bleach

  • Organic nitrates/perchlorates and other oxidizers or metals

  • Azides and metals, metal salts, acids, strong oxidizers or halogens

  • Perchloric acid and metals, metal salts, charcoal, ethers, organics, combustibles or acids


The following list of incompatibles have been tied to specific incidents in laboratories, resulting in accidents or even serious injury.


  • Acids and bases- Can generate excessive heat and boil over.

  • Acids, bleach, azides, cyanides, sulfides, metals, or carbides- Can generate toxic gasses.

  • Nitric or perchloric acid (even when dilute) and any organic material- Can generate excessive heat or fire. 

  • Acetic acid, Acetic Anydride, and Formic Acid- These are in a special class of both acid and organic. They are flammable in concentrated form and should not be mixed with mineral acids.

  • Peroxides and organics or metals- Can cause fire.

  • Inorganic nitrate salts or bases and organics- Can form highly unstable compounds which may detonate.

  •  Ammonium nitrate or hydroxylamine nitrate and organic material- Can cause an explosion.

  •  Potassium permanganate and sulfur- May cause flash fires.

  •  Nitromethane and bases, amines, metals or metal compounds.

  •   Piranha solution and any organic material or metals- Can cause a violent reaction, fire or overpressurization. 

  • Azides and metals- Can generate shock-sensitive salts and detonate.

  • Chloroform and acetone with a base- Can cause a violent reaction.

  • Monomers and iron, acids or water- Can cause violent reactions.

  • Acetic anhydride and water, glycols or alcohols- Can cause fire or violent reactions.

Our waste compatibility charts make it simpler to avoid any accidental mixing of incompatible chemicals. You can view them here or download the full documents to keep on file or print out for your lab. These charts utilize chemical groups that have been categorized by the Environmental Protection Agency.