I'm doing a book for the African market and the syllabus asks for discussions on proper disposal of chemicals and waste products, particularly in the classroom setting

The authors said something along the lines of:

Chemicals numbered 1 to 4 can be rinsed down the drain with water. Chemicals labeled 5 to 8 must be disposed of with the help of an Environmental Agent or official.

What are the numbers they mention? Is there some numerical system (similar to scheduling on prescription meds) which guides us on how to dispose of certain chemicals?


The numbering clearly is not a part of the international GHS (Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals) labeling scheme.

On a side note, GHS requires

  • hazard pictograms,
  • coded hazard statements (Hnnn and EUHnnn)
  • coded precautionary statements (Pnnn)

but typically does not give any information on the how/where to dispose chemicals.

For classroom settings, the questions are:

  1. How many different waste containers are needed?
  2. How to label them?
  3. Which chemicals go where?

To my knowledge, a global or EC-wide (European Community) scheme does not exist for this and I'd be astonished to find that the African Union has agreed upon a common scheme.

Instead, this is typically regulated on a nation-wise basis only.

To give an example: In Germany, the classification scheme is provided by the Deutsche Gesetzliche Unfallversicherung (mandatory accident insurance) and you may find their suggestions for waste disposal in schools here (PDF in German, Stoffliste zur Regel „Unterricht in Schulen mit gefährlichen Stoffen“, 2017).

Consequently, without knowing the (national) origin of the source you are citing in your question, it is very difficult to say which number refers to which compound class.

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