Q: How do you dispose of Alnochromix cleaner and sulfuric acid mixtures? What kind of container can hold the mixture, and what are the outgasses?
A: Excellent question about what disposal and containers are recommended, and what outgasses are there from an Alnochromix® Oxidizing acid additive sulfuric acid solution. The mixture of Alnochromix and concentrated sulfuric acid forms peroxydisulfuric acid, bisulfate salts, and persulfate salts, which will be present with sulfuric acid. The mixture will outgas sulfur dioxide and oxygen when oxidizing organic residues. This is why we recommend storing in a vented container. Vent caps and other Alnochromix related products are available at Alconox.com in the shop.
High-density polyethylene is an acceptable container for spent solutions of Alnochromix cleaner and sulfuric acid. If the solution is spent there should be no more outgassing, however, if there is some active solution, a vented container used for disposal would be recommended.
The sulfuric acid in an Alnochromix solution may be neutralized with ammonium carbonate, yielding a mixture of ammonium sulfate, carbon dioxide, and water, or with calcium carbonate, yielding a mixture of calcium sulfate, carbon dioxide, and water. There will still be residual persulfate and any decomposition products from residues from cleaned glassware. Perform the neutralization procedure carefully with slow addition under cooling (ice bath or water bath), as solution may become hot (exothermic). Neutralization with either carbonate will cause gas evolution and bubbling (carbon dioxide).
Due to dangers of aerosolization of sulfuric acid, perform this procedure in a well-ventilated area, ideally a fume hood. Choose an oversized vessel to allow for expansion or perform the procedure in small aliquots in a large enough vessel. We recommend giving the neutralized mixture to a hazardous waste handler for disposal. Always dispose of according to local, state, and federal environmental laws.
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