Office of Risk Management and Environmental Health and Safety

Laboratory Sharps and Biohazardous Waste Procedures

Biohazardous waste

Waste containing infectious materials or potentially infectious substances such as blood is treated as biohazardous waste. Of special concern are sharp wastes such as needles, blades, glass pipettes, and other wastes that can cause injury during handling. Also called infectious waste or biomedical waste.

All biohazardous waste must be properly decontaminated prior to disposal.  Common methods of decontamination include heat sterilization (autoclaving), chemical disinfection and incineration.

Those who generate biohazardous waste must strictly observe the following guidelines:

Disposable solid items (Non-sharps items, and not animal carcasses, tissues or bedding)

Collect all non-sharp disposable items (such as gloves, plasticware, Kimwipes, etc) contaminated with biohazardous materials in leakproof autoclavable biohazard bags (bags with the universal biohazard symbol).  Before decontaminating, place an autoclave indicator tape “X” over the biohazardous symbol. Decontaminate the bags by autoclaving for a minimum of 45 minutes before disposal.

After autoclaving, place the now decontaminated biohazard bag into a dark garbage bag, seal and place in the normal trash.

Sharps disposal

All contaminated metal sharps (hypodermic needles, razor blades, scalpel blades, surgical needles) must be placed in approved red biohazard containers labeled with the universal biohazard symbol. Containers should be autoclaved when ready for disposal.

After the container has been autoclaved the now decontaminated sharps waste container is labeled as “Non-Infectious Syringes and Metal Sharps Only” label. These containers may be obtained by contacting Jack Geary at 3-2301.  NEVER recap needles or remove from syringes, instead discard the entire unit into the sharps waste container designated for biohazardous sharps.

Non-contaminated sharps

Metal sharps that have not been contaminated with biohazardous materials may disposed of in white sealable hard plastic containers and disposed of in the normal trash. The container should be labeled as “Non-Infectious Syringes and Metal Sharps Only.”

Liquids

Decontaminate all liquid biohazardous materials (such as human blood, bacterial cultures in liquid media, body fluids of animals experimentally infected with pathogens, etc) by autoclaving or treatment with appropriate chemical disinfectant for the sufficient contact time.

After decontamination is complete, liquids may be disposed of by pouring them down the drain into the sanitary sewer system.

Collect non-sharp disposable items (such as gloves, plasticware, kimwipes, etc) that have been contaminated with biohazardous material in leakproof autoclavable biohazard bags (red or orange bag with universal biohazard symbol or other bag tagged with red or orange universal biohazard symbol).  Before decontaminating, place an autoclave indicator tape “X” over the biohazardous symbol.  Bags should be decontaminated for at least 45 minutes prior to disposal.

After the bag has been properly sterilized the bag is placed into a dark garbage bag, sealed and placed in the normal trash.

Glass Sharps

All glass sharps which include Pasteur pipets, broken glass, etc. that have been contaminated with biohazardous materials should be placed in rigid, leakproof puncture resistant red biohazard containers labeled with the universal biohazard symbol. Plastic material such as pipette tips and plastic pipettes) that can poke out of bags should also be disposed of in a similar manner.  Decontaminate the containers by autoclaving prior to disposal.

After being autoclaved, place the now decontaminated glass sharps container inside a dark black garbage bar or cardboard box, seal, label “Broken Glass” and discard as normal trash in a dumpster.

Collect glass sharps that have never been contaminated with biohazardous materials (eg., used only with chemicals) in rigid, leakproof, puncture resistant containers labeled “Broken Glass”. Autoclaving of these containers is not necessary.  Discard of as normal trash in a dumpster.

 

Procedures in Word Format