There are 4 general categories of biohazardous wastes based on the physical form of the waste. Each form must be segregated, identified, decontaminated and disposed of in an appropriate manner for the form in order to minimize occupational exposure and environmental release risks.
Biohazardous waste in any form should not be left unsecured in areas that are accessible to the public (i.e., left in hallways). Only lab personnel should remove biohazardous waste from the lab area and transport it to waste holding areas for final disposal.
- Collect biowastes at the laboratory level in designated biohazard-labeled cans per current biowaste collection procedures. Segregate serological pipettes and pipette tips to prevent bag punctures or tears. Collect biohazardous sharps in sharps containers as required (see below).
- The following are acceptable wastes: stock/propagated cultures of infectious agents; materials that have been used for the collection/processing/storage of human or animal blood or body fluids (including cell lines); recombinant/synthetic nucleic acids; or lab consumables contaminated with any of these materials.
- The following are unacceptable wastes: hazardous chemicals (e.g. phenol, chloroform, agarose gels with ethidium bromide, etc.); radioactive wastes; bulk liquid wastes (>25 ml/container); pathological waste such as human/animal bulk blood, tissues, or animal carcasses (contact Biosafety for guidance); human fetal remains, limbs, or cadavers; compressed gas cylinders; loose sharps; controlled substances; etc.
- Once the bag is ~2/3 full, close the bag by gathering the top, twisting, and closing with a single overhand knot. This method of closure minimizes the risk of leaks and spills and is required by DOT (since materials will be transported in commerce). Do not tie the bag closed by crossing tabs (‘bunny or dog-eared’ method).