Best Management Practices for Amalgam Waste

by Billy Tarpley on April 23, 2013

In light of recent attention placed on proper disposal of mercury and silver from dental amalgam, here are a few basics rules to keep in mind:


  • Consider using composite materials when possible
  • To contain waste, consider installing an amalgam separator or chairside traps in your practice.
  • Contact the ADEQ Helpline at (501) 682-0923 with any question you may have concerning a proper recycling program in your area.
  • When possible, use precapsulated alloys in order to avoid bulk mercury.
  • Salvage, store, and recycle all non-contact and scrap amalgam.
  • Amalgam from traps, vacuum pump filters, and other collection devices cam be recycled, as well.
  • Extracted teeth? Those too. (Just be sure to decontaminate by placing them in glutaraldehyde.)
  • Use line cleaners that minimize dissolution of amalgam in line


  • Don’t dispose of amalgam in biohazard containers, infections waste containers, or–certainly–regular garbage.
  • Don’t rinse amalgam traps, filters, or collection devices over a drain or sink
  • Don’t flush amalgam waste down toilet.
  • And don’t flush water lines with cleaners containing bleach or chlorine.


  • Never, ever, under any circumstances pour spent fixer down the drain. Ever.
  • Consider installing a silver recovery unit.
  • Or, better yet, give, sell, or pay someone who owns a silver recovery unit to take your fixer. (It’s an easy way to generate a little extra income.)
  • At the very least, comply with current state regulations by storing your spent fixer in a closed plastic container marked “Hazardous Waste: Used Filter.”

 Download a reference BMP poster here


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