For the temporary storage of radioactive waste in the laboratory, we recommend a step-on type container for hands-off use. While plastic is adequate for beta emitters, it is recommended that you purchase metal containers for gamma emitters.
For low energy beta emitters such as H-3, C-14, and S-35, all standard materials will provide adequate shielding of the waste.
For P-32, acrylic is a good shielding material. If purchasing an acrylic waste container or beta-shields for bench top work, a minimum thickness of 3/8 inch is recommended. This thickness will stop all of the beta particles.
For shielding gamma emitters such as I-125 or Cr-51, lead may be used. The exposure rate from a gamma emitter is a function of the energy of the gamma, the total activity of the source, and the distance from the source. The exposure rate from I-125 is 0.07 mR/hr per mCi at 1 meter. Lead with thickness of 1/8 inch will reduce the exposure to 0.4 percent of the original rate. The exposure rate from Cr-51 is 0.016 mR/hr per mCi at 1 meter. Lead with thickness of 1/8 inch will reduce the exposure to 68.6 percent of the original rate.