Biological Waste Disposal Instructions

Biohazard Symbol

Biohazardous Waste

Biohazardous waste is common to most labs on the KUMC campus. Proper disposal of all biohazardous waste must be done to ensure the safety of all personnel handling the waste from production to shipment off campus. All biohazardous waste should be treated as infectious and personnel should always wear gloves and use universal precautions when handling biohazardous waste. Anything described as a biohazardous waste below or bearing a biohazard symbol should be considered to be biohazardous until proven otherwise.  The Biological Safety page can be consulted for further information regarding handling of biohazard materials.

General Information:

All of the biohazardous waste is removed from the labs by the Environment, Health & Safety (EHS) office. It is contained within a 28 gallon red tub. Many labs are supplied with these 28 gallon red biohazard bins. Each week, a company called Stericycle removes and incinerates all of the biohazardous waste according to EPA, OSHA, and Kansas State regulations.

Biohazardous Waste Examples

  • Infectious agents or items potentially contaminated by infectious agents.
  • Un-autoclaved waste contained in biohazard bags
  • Human blood, blood products or other human body fluids or tissues
  • Items contaminated with animal or human tissues or fluids
  • Contaminated Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
  • Liquid or semi-liquid potentially infectious materials 
  • Sharps (needles, syringes, scalpels, razors, microtome blades, lancets, infusion sets)
  • Specimens from medical, pathology and research laboratories
  • Disposable culture/petri dishes
  • Devices used to transfer, inoculate, and mix cultures
  • Wastes from the production of biologicals
  • Discarded live and attenuated vaccines
  • Animal carcasses, body parts and bedding exposed to pathogens

Biohazard Waste Disposal Preparation

The 28 gallon tubs are provided, at no cost, to labs lined with a red biohazard bag. These liners are NOT autoclave safe. If you do not have a bin and need/want one, please contact the EHS office. Once the tub is full, the red bag should be securely tied closed with a knot. Then the lid should be oriented on the tub so that the tabs are aligned with the handles. Pushing down on the tabs will engaging the locking mechanism with a snap and secure the lid on the container. After the waste has been prepared a request for pickup can be made. All biohazard waste must be double-bagged and properly closed to avoid leakage.  Do not overfill bags or biohazard bins. The biohazardous waste must fit in the 28 gallon red tubs to be shipped off campus. For more information regarding the disposal of sharps containers, please consult the Sharps Waste page and the Guidelines for the Safe Handling of Sharps. NOTE: If you are disposing of animal bedding or animal carcasses, please contact Laboratory Animal Resources  for further information.  In rare cases, laboratories may generate animal wastes that are contaminated with other hazardous substances.  Recent examples of this include animals injected with TCDD, the radioisotope C-14 or with EPA regulated compounds.  Please contact the EHS office for instructions on disposing of these types of animal carcasses.  DO NOT return these carcasses to LAR.

Requesting a Pick-Up

Once your waste is ready for pick-up, please fill out the Biohazard Waste Pick Up Request form. This form will ask several questions. You will need to know:

  • the laboratory Principle Investigator (PI) (the person who is in charge of the lab)
  • who is filling out the form and their contact information
  • the building and room where the waste is located
  • the type and amount of waste you are disposing (i.e. tub, bag, or sharps container)

At the end of the form is a comments section. This can be used for any special requests or information. Some examples of information to put into the comments section is, if your lab has limited access, if the waste is located in a hidden location (under a bench, behind a door, in a cell culture room) or if you need extra tubs. After you submit the form, it will be sent electronically to several members of EHS and someone will remove the materials - usually within hours, but in can take up to three working days. If you are submitting a pick up request for a tub, a new one will be provided with a liner. EHS does not replace sharps containers or biohazard bags. Each lab must purchase these items. If your waste is not removed within 3 working days please contact the EHS office at 8-1081 or ehs@kumc.edu.   

Rendering "non-viable"

Some biohazard waste needs to be rendered "non-viable" before disposal. This includes liquid waste that will be disposed of in the sewer system. Please contact the Environment, Health and Safety (EHS) office prior to disposal of 10 liters or greater.  Materials that must be rendered non-viable include any material that has been generated inside a BSL3 laboratory and any materials that contain or have come into contact with:

  • Living infectious microorganisms (bacteria, parasites, viruses, fungi) or prions
  • Any human or non-human primate blood, tissues, or cell lines.
  • Spore-forming organisms
  • Functional biological agents or toxins
  • Organisms constructed using recombinant DNA
  • Any liquid that contains infectious or potentially infectious material to humans, animals or plants
  • Any liquid that contains cells or tissue with recombinant DNA

Acceptable methods of rendering materials "non-viable" include autoclaving or using disinfectants, such as bleach or certain alcohols, known to effectively kill infectious agents.  Each of these methods must be done properly in order to be effective.  Please consult your supervisor or the EHS office before attempting to disinfect or autoclave materials if you have not been appropriately trained in these methods. Also consult the Selected EPA-registered Disinfectants website for approved disinfectants. If you are unsure whether you waste needs to be rendered "non-viable", please contact your supervisor or contact the EHS office and we can assist you in making that determination.

Autoclaves

There are many autoclaves located on campus. All are supervised by an autoclave monitor and by the EHS office. Biological indicators are run quarterly to test the efficacy of each autoclave. Results are kept in the EHS office if you require them. In the event that an indicator was to fail, the use of the autoclave would be immediately stopped until maintenance was provided and additional biological indicators pass the efficacy test.

Autoclaving Materials

After determining whether your waste needs to be autoclaved and can be autoclaved, the proper training and access to the autoclave rooms needs to be obtained. Please contact your supervisor for more information. Certain precautions need to be taken when handling autoclave waste and when transporting waste to the autoclave rooms. Please follow the general guidelines:

  • Red bag waste must be tied to prevent contents from spilling.
  • The bags used must be autoclave safe.
  • Waste must be transported in a durable, leak proof container and secured for transport.
  • Sharps containers must always be closed and upright.
  • Waste should be placed on a cart and never carried.

Most autoclave rooms are equipped with the 28 gallon red tubs. Place all autoclaved waste into these tubs for removal. If you notice these tubs getting full, please contact the appropriate autoclave monitor. If you have any questions, please contact the EHS office at 8-1081 or ehs@kumc.edu.

Last modified: Sep 05, 2014
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