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How to Identify, Label, Package and Dispose of Biohazardous and Medical Waste

See requirements for managing biohazardous and medical waste.

Biohazardous Waste Disposal Guidelines

Biohazardous waste (e.g., biomedical, infectious, sharps, clinical medical waste, etc.) may be contaminated by blood, body fluids or other potentially infectious materials thus posing a significant risk of transmitting infection to humans or harming the environment. Please follow the guidelines for each category when disposing of biohazardous waste.

Print and post a simple version of this page for your lab (PDF).

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Animal carcasses and animal waste

Description

Animals and animal body parts if the animal is infectious, potentially infectious, or genetically modified, for example, all genetically modified animals, including all mice and zebrafish.

Storage and packaging

Place carcass in a clear colorless bag. Transfer to red pathological waste container with tight-fitting lid and a red bag liner. Store in refrigerator or freezer. Maximum storage time is 7 days.

Labeling

Affix the following:

  • Biohazard symbol
  • IACUC protocol number
  • Date
  • Species
  • PI name
  • Campus Address (La Jolla or Hillcrest campus; Word files)

Treatment

Off-site incineration by biowaste vendor.

Disposal

Red pathological waste container with biohazard symbol collected by EH&S-EMF at ACP collection sites. The Animal Care Program, (858) 534-6064, oversees collection and disposal. Package according to these guidelines:

  • Chemicals: Place carcasses and animal waste in a clear bag(s), attach appropriate hazardous waste tag, put carcass in lab freezer and request hazardous waste pick-up.
  • Noninfectious (excluding mice and zebrafish): Place carcasses and animal waste in a clear plastic bag and close. Transfer to rendering waste can. Store in ACP refrigerator.
  • Infectious: Place carcasses and animal waste in a clear plastic bag and close. Transfer to red plastic can with red bag liner. Store in ACP refrigerator. Maximum storage time: 7 days.

See Animal Carcass Disposal flow chart

Solid lab waste (dry biohazardous)

Description

Plastic pipettes, pipette tips, syringes without needles, petri dishes, culture flasks, paper towels, bench paper, biohazardous animal bedding, and gloves.contaminated with infectious, potentially infectious, or genetically modified materials or organisms including invertebrates.

Storage and packaging

Place two red biohazard bags in a rigid, leakproof container with a tight-fitting lid. Maximum storage time is 7 days.

Labeling

Affix the following:

  • Biohazard symbol on lid and sides
  • Campus Address La Jolla or Hillcrest campus; Word files)

Treatment

Off-site treatment by biowaste vendor. If BSL-3 or ABSL-2 steam, sterilize in an autoclave with quality control checks.

Disposal

Tie neck of bags in single knot and place in gray plastic waste container with biohazard symbol, collected by EH&S-EMF at building collection sites.

Pathological (human anatomical specimens)

Description

NOT RECOGNIZABLE--Human anatomical specimens, body parts or organs.

Storage and packaging

Place tissue in a clear colorless bag. Transfer to red pathological waste container with a tight-fitting lid and a red bag liner. Store in refrigerator or freezer. Maximum storage time is 7 days.

Labeling

Affix the following:

Treatment

Off-site incineration by biowaste vendor.

Disposal

Red pathological waste container with biohazard symbol located  in sites designated by EH&S-EMF For pick-up call (858) 534-2753.

  • Return pathological human specimens obtained from SOM Anatomical Preparation to them at completion of use for disposition.
  • If you have questions, contact Anatomical Preparation, (858) 534-4546 or 534-8280.

Liquid biohazardous waste

Description

Liquid biohazardous cultures or specimens, including infectious, potentially infectious, or genetically modified organisms.

Storage and packaging

Use a vacuum flask with a stopper. Store in a secondary container if outside biosafety cabinet. Maximum storage time is 7 days.

Labeling

Affix the following:

Treatment

  • Treat with household bleach (9:1) or
  • Steam sterilize without bleach in an autoclave which requires quality control checks

Disposal

Pour treated liquids down laboratory sink using appropriate personal protective equipment.

Dilute liquid waste with bleach (1 part bleach to 9 parts liquid waste) before pouring it down the drain.

Sharps

Description

Hypodermic needles, needles with syringes or tubing, blades, and all glassware if contaminated with infectious, potentially infectious, or genetically modified materials.

Storage and packaging

Use an approved sharps container. Container must be leakproof, rigid, and puncture resistant.

Labeling

Affix the following:

Treatment

Off-site treatment by biowaste vendor. If BSL-3 or ABSL-2, steam sterilize in an autoclave with quality control checks

Disposal

Close and seal with tape when ready for disposal and place in gray plastic waste container with biohazard symbol, collected by EH&S-EMF at building collection sites. The disposal method for sharps depends on whether they are contaminated with a hazardous material and the type of contaminant.

Whether contaminated or not, strict packaging and container restrictions apply.

Others

Follow instructions below for the category of waste generated.

MIXED WASTE: To dispose mixed waste (i.e, mixture of biohazardous and chemical or radioactive waste) contact EH&S' Environmental Mgt. Facility (EMF) at (858) 534-2753
*RECOGNIZABLE BODY PART and ORGANS: For recognizable anatomical specimen disposal and pick-up, contact SOM Anatomical Services at (858) 534-8280

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Note: This page has a friendly link that's easy to remember: http://blink.ucsd.edu/go/biowaste