1. Personnel must avoid or minimize contact with infectious biohazard waste.   Protective clothing (lab coat, gloves, etc.) must be worn when necessary.  "No touch" technique must be used when practical.  Avoid generating aerosols or splattering.  Hands must always be washed after any contact with biohazard waste.
2. All contaminated or infectious dry solid type waste (e.g., gloves, personal protective equipment, paper towels, gauze/bandages, bodily fluid/blood saturated items, etc.) must be placed in double red bags stored inside proper biohazard boxes with lids. Do not put sharps or liquids into red-bagged boxes. Keep the weight of box reasonable, 30 lbs. or less.
3. All contaminated needles, syringes, and blades must be placed into red sharps containers. (Not red buckets)
4. Other contaminated sharps (e.g., glass and plastic pipettes, broken and unbroken glassware, slides, culture dishes, cover slips, rigid plasticware having sharp edges or points, capillary tubes, etc.) must be placed into the red buckets or sharps containers that are puncture-resistant and leakproof. Anything that could potentially puncture a bag should be placed into proper red sharps containers/buckets.
5. By law, non-contaminated needles and syringes (with or without needles attached), must still be placed into a red sharps container. Containers must not be over-filled and must be closed and disposed of when 3/4's full.

Contaminated laboratory liquid waste (aqueous biological or infectious solutions such as human blood and body fluids, liquid culture medias, viral supernatant, media from infected cells and stocks, etc.) must be autoclaved or chemically disinfected (e.g., 10% bleach solution) prior to disposal. Upon obtaining a one-time approval from Environmental Health and Radiation Safety for compliance, the bleach disinfected waste may be flushed into the sanitary sewer system (drain) if flushed with large amounts of water (and if non-hazardous, aqueous and soluble) Properly autoclaved liquids may only be flushed into the drain if biological indicator (spore) tests are being conducted and documented.

Otherwise, these liquids must be in break-resistant containers that are tightly sealed before being placed into red biohazard waste buckets. There should be sufficient absorbent material in the bucket to absorb the entire contents of the liquid in the event of a release. (e.g., absorbent pads or vermiculite)

7. Never place hazardous drugs/pharmaceuticals (including chemo drugs), chemicals, radioactive materials, or regular garbage into the biohazard waste containers.
8. Autoclave or decontaminate all virulent pathogens, higher risk biosafety level 2 agents, cultures and stocks of infectious agents and pathogens, recombinant or synthetic nucleic acids and transgenics, BSL-2 and BSL-1 agents if they present any risk to individuals or the environment, potentially infected animal cages and bedding or reusable labware and consumables used in the manipulation of these substances, prior to placing into the red biohazard waste containers for disposal.
9. Dispose of all autoclaved waste through the biohazard/infectious waste stream. (red bags/containers)
10. Never autoclave sealed containers, animal carcasses, bleach-treated waste, or items contaminated with flammables, corrosives, reactives, cytotoxic drugs, reproductive and carcinogenic hazards, volatile chemicals or radioactive materials. [Link to recommended procedures for autoclaving materials]

Chemo/Cytotoxic and Hazardous Drug Biohazardous Waste Disposal

  1. Review the Safety Data Sheet and other reference material for the toxin/agent you are using to determine what method(s) are recommended for inactivation and disposal of toxin/agent, contaminated wastes and bedding.

  2. Discarded contaminated items containing trace amounts of chemo/cytotoxic drugs and hazardous pharmaceuticals may be disposed of into the appropriate red (for hazardous pharmaceuticals and biotoxins) or yellow (for chemo/cytotoxic) biohazard waste container.

  3. Original cytotoxic/hazardous drug/biotoxin bottles or diluted stocks containing drugs/agents must be disposed as hazardous chemical waste and brought to the Central Stockroom(s). [Biotoxins must be inactivated before disposal as hazardous chemical waste.] In addition, bottles, tubing, vials, syringes and other discarded contaminated items containing residual or trace amounts of these drugs/agents may be placed into the appropriate red (for hazardous pharmaceuticals and biotoxins) or yellow (for chemo/cytotoxic) biohazard containers.

  4. Carcasses and bedding containing chemo/cytotoxic drugs must be placed in yellow "chemo-labeled" double bagged, yellow biohazard containers only. While storing carcasses with bedding in the refrigerator/freezer, these should be double-bagged in sealed yellow chemo-labeled bags.

  5. Carcasses and bedding containing hazardous pharmaceutical and biotoxins must be placed in red double-bagged, biohazard boxes. While storing carcasses with bedding in the refrigerator/freezer, these should be double-bagged in sealed red biohazard bags.

  6. Sharps containing trace chemo/cytotoxic drugs must be placed in yellow chemo/cytotoxic biohazard sharps containers only. Sharps containing trace hazardous pharmaceutical and biotoxins must be placed in red biohazard sharps containers.

Non-contaminated sharps whether plastic or glass (except needles, syringes and blades), must be placed into blue and white laboratory glassware boxes. (Not in regular trashcans.)

While storing biohazard/hazardous material bags and containers in the laboratory, THEY MUST BE KEPT CLOSED, unless adding waste. Before transport from the laboratory, check to make sure that they are sealed and not leaking.

Do not leave a waste container unsecured. (It must be locked up or in a locked laboratory when unattended)

Do not store biohazard waste in hallways or near general traffic.

Biohazard waste may be stored at room temperature until the storage container is full, but no longer than 30 days from the date of generation (excluding used sharps). It may be refrigerated for up to 30 days and frozen for up to 90 days from the date of generation. Biohazard waste must be dated when refrigerated or frozen for storage. Storage of biohazard waste in a freezer must be approved by the Environmental Health and Radiation Safety Dept.

All bags and containers are available in the Central Stockrooms.

Bring the waste to the appropriate stockroom only if you have been Department of Transportation trained or contact the Central Stockrooms at X8843 or X3141 to schedule a pick-up.

See procedures on chemical waste disposal.

See procedures on radioactive waste disposal.

University of the Sciences in Philadelphia • 600 South Forty-third Street • Philadelphia, PA 19104-4495 • phone: 215-596-8800 • email: