What kind of trash do meth lab cooks throw away?

What kind of trash do meth lab cooks throw away? The kind of trash that meth labs generate varies according to which method they’re using to make meth. Here is a list of some items that may be a signal a meth lab.


Rags with red and/or yellow stains.

A large number of pill blister packaging from cold and allergy products containing pseudoephedrine.


Bottles or containers connected with rubber hosing and duct tape


Empty containers from white gas, ether, starting fluids, lye or drain openers, paint thinner, acetone, or alcohol.

chemical cans

Compressed gas cylinders, or camp stove (Coleman) fuel containers

Packaging from Epsom salts or rock salt.

Propane tanks or coolers containing strong ammonia odors.

Pyrex/glass/Corning containers, with dried chemical deposits left in them.

Coolers, thermos bottles, or other cold storage containers.

Respiratory masks and filters or dust masks.

Funnels, hosing and clamps.

Discarded rubber or latex gloves.

Coffee filters, pillow cases or bed sheets stained red (used to filter red phosphorous), or containing a white powdery residue.

Disposable cold packs.


Multiple bags of fertilizer.


Originally posted:  October 20, 2008.

What you should know about meth lab trash

Methlab trash contains chemicals that are toxic, flammable, corrosive, and acidic. The chemicals can explode, catch fire, and burn your skin if it comes in contact with them. You should be especially careful not to touch any trash bags that you might see by by the side of the road or a highway.

What you should know about meth lab trash – here’s some good information from the Indiana state police:

gas-cans-with-tubing-attachedMeth cooks are using a variety of containers to manufacture their product. A popular container is the one and a half gallon gas can.

These gas containers can appear to be new,and have been found along the roadside by unknowing people who believe that they have found a new gas can and end up with a working meth lab.

soda-bottles-and-meth-labsOther Items to be aware of include battery casings, Ziploc style bags, empty blister packs, and containers (pop-bottles, jars, etc.) that contain a granular material.

They may or may not have a tube extending out of the top depending on whether it is a hydrochloric gas generator (HCL) or a one pot reaction. Both of these are extremely hazardous.


Be aware of any type of cylinder found in an odd place (middle of a field, ditch line, wooded area) that has a modified valve. The valve will typically be modified in some way and will have a bright blue color to it.

These cylinders are used to store or transport anhydrous ammonia, which is an extremely dangerous gas when direct contact or inhalation has occurred.

The Kansas Bureau of Investigation also provides the following information about cylinders, like propane tanks, that are used to store Anhydrous Ammonia:

Indications of illegal use of anhydrous ammonia:

  • Anhydrous ammonia stored in small propane tanks, plastic gas containers or insulated coolers.
  • Brass fittings on container have turned blue or green.
  • Container has frost forming on it.
  • Privately-owned anhydrous ammonia tanks are found with the valve open.

If you live in Indiana, you should call the Indiana State Police in Fort Wayne (260) 432-8661 or (800) 552-0976 (Indiana only) Any questions or concerns about meth can be directed to the Indiana Meth Suppression Section at (877) 855-METH.

If you live outside of Indiana and you find meth lab trash, you should call your state or local police department.