8.10 Disposal

Biohazardous waste disposal must be handled in accordance with procedures and practices established by the University.  This waste must be segregated from general waste at the point of origin.  Potentially infectious material or biohazard waste must be discarded directly into redbag-lined Rubbermaid transport containers or a redbag-lined white biohazard box which is clearly identifiable and distinguishable from general waste.  Containers must be marked with the universal biohazard symbol (Figure 1).  Plastic bags must be distinctly colored red or orange, and marked with the universal biohazard symbol.  

Culture plates and vials containing pathogenic organisms must be autoclaved prior to disposal using autoclavable bags.  Do not use the biohazard box’s red liner for autoclaving.

All infectious/biohazardous wastes (excluding liquids, blood and blood products) are destined for incineration and must be placed in sealable, labeled, or color-coded, leakproof containers or bags.  If the bag or container is contaminated on the outside or leaks, a second leakproof bag or container that is also labeled and sealable must be placed over the first and sealed to prevent leakage during handling, storage and transporting. 

Place all needles and sharps in properly labeled sharps disposal containers (red sharps container or a Winfield Sharps-tainer).  These must be easily accessible to personnel, replaced before overfilling occurs, puncture resistant, leakproof and sealable to assure containment.  Use tape to secure the lids on the sharps' containers. 

In order to ensure proper containment of recombinant DNA (rDNA), all wastes involved with recombinant experiments are considered biohazardous and should be properly discarded in biohazardous waste tubs.  Additionally, any animals used in rDNA research projects are also considered biohazardous wastes and should be discarded according to Office of Animal Resources guidelines; please call 335-7985 for more information.

Human blood, blood products and body fluids greater than 500 milliliters must be solidified with a product such as Isolyzer and placed in a biohazard box (white with a red plastic liner or Rubbermaid transport container).  Liquid amounts less than 500 milliliters may be disinfected by autoclaving or with a solution of 5.25 percent bleach diluted between 1:10 and 1:100 and allowed to sit for 30 minutes.  Once disinfected, the fluid can be disposed of in the sanitary sewer system. 

Animal carcasses, body parts and bedding from animals exposed to pathogens should be disposed of in accordance with Animal Resources’ procedures.  Please call 335-7985 for more information.

Human tissues and body parts are disposed of in the Anatomy crematory.  Please call the Anatomy Donor Coordinator at 335-7762 for more information.

Uncontaminated waste must also be segregated during disposal.  Plastic bottles (e.g., media, bleach or ethanol containers) can be placed in the regular trash while glass bottles should be placed in a sturdy cardboard box.  Sharps or broken glass bottles, however, must always be placed in a red sharps container.  

Custodial staff will collect properly packaged waste and transport it to areas designated as waste collection points.  Procedures to follow when preparing waste for pick-up include:

  • Secure sharps container closure with tape.  Secure biohazard box liner, then close and seal the box.  Close cardboard box with glass containers and label as uncontaminated.
  • Label containers with room number, building and PI’s name.
  • Place in designated area for pick-up.

Check with custodial staff for pick-up information (335-5109).  Waste disposal procedures are also outlined in the Waste Disposal Guidelines and Procedures Manual available on EHS’s Web site.