Are You Familiar with Lab Packs?

By Steve Todisco, Corporate Director of Healthcare

For those of you who routinely ship waste off-site for hazardous waste disposal you should be familiar with what the term "lab pack" means. In order to understand what a lab pack is we should quickly outline the different types of ways that most people typically ship waste off of their site for hazardous or non-hazardous waste disposal. There are typically 3 major types of overall ways to ship waste off-site: bulk, non-bulk, and lab pack.

Bulk shipping is shipping waste in larger containers that exceed 119 gallons of waste and is usually utilized for shipping in tanks, tanker trucks, and totes.

Non-bulk waste shipping can include the shipment of a 55-gallon drum of liquid such as oil, or solvents. These containers might look and feel like a bulk container and they are often referred to that way, but because they fall under the 119-gallon requirement we can call these non-bulks.

This brings us to the term lab pack. Lab packing is a method of shipping smaller inner containers inside a larger outer container. This allows companies like ours to be more efficient when shipping “like” materials. If you had several smaller containers that all were intact and contained within their own primary container then these items could be placed into a drum that is equal or lesser than 55 gallons and “lab packed.” Other things like packing material would also fall under the requirements of being added to this lab pack drum. Don’t forget that there are specific requirements for the amount of packing material required in each specific size drum per DOT regulations.

By shipping “like” things together you will be utilizing shipping names in the regulations like waste flammable liquids n.o.s (not otherwise specified). This means that the shipping name that best fits all of the materials involved isn’t a specific single item like Waste Acetone or Waste Methanol. Instead it could include “like” items such as methanol, acetone, and isopropanol all in the same outer container.

Remember that “lab packing” falls under specific rules and exceptions so only highly trained individuals should undertake these tasks. Combining bottles of chemicals in the same outer container can be dangerous if not done correctly.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us here at Triumvirate Environmental.

This blog was originally published in December 2009.

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