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Biohazardous waste, also called infectious waste or biomedical waste, is any waste containing infectious materials or potentially infectious substances such as blood. Of special concern are sharp wastes such as needles, blades, glass pipettes, and other wastes that can cause injury during handling. Sharps must be disposed of according to Hutchinson Center Sharps Disposal Policy, which is located in Section 9, Sharps Waste.
If the biohazardous waste you generate also contains radioactive material and/or hazardous chemicals, please see Section 10, Mixed Hazardous Waste.
Biohazardous waste includes the following materials:
Note: If your waste also contains radioactive material or hazardous chemicals, see Section 10, Mixed Hazardous Waste.
Laboratories that generate biohazardous waste are responsible for:
Although biohazard waste bags are often conveniently placed throughout the lab, it is important to remember that these bags are for biohazard and contaminated wastes only, and are not to be used for regular trash. Disposal of non-biohazard waste in a biohazard waste container adds significant costs to waste management.
The following are examples of items that do not need to be disposed as biohazard waste:
Biohazardous liquids and liquids that contain human blood should be disinfected in the lab and flushed down the drain.
Do not attempt to disinfect solutions that contain a large amount of whole blood to avoid clot formation in pipes (see Section 8.5, Preparing Biohazardous Waste for Autoclaving or Disposal).
To disinfect small amounts within the lab:
Biohazardous (infectious) wastes that cannot be treated in the lab must be prepared and transported by lab personnel for off site shipment for treatment and disposal. Such waste includes large amounts of protein or clotted blood. Containers of protein, stock solutions, clotted blood, etc., can be steam-sterilized or autoclaved on site, or packaged for disposal. All biohazardous waste not being treated on site (e.g., HIV suites) should be taken to the E-Level of the Thomas Building, and put into the designated room.
Each bag of biohazardous waste must be labeled with:
Using a permanent marker, write the information directly on the waste bag.
Dry, solid biohazardous waste must be placed in an autoclave bag. Bags should be closed or covered when not in use or at the end of the day.
Use only autoclave bags available through the Hutchinson Center Stockroom. These bear the biohazard symbol and are available in various sizes. Use autoclave bags for biohazardous waste only. Do not fill bag more than halfway to allow for a five-inch grip. Tie the bag tightly before transporting.
Biohazardous waste to be autoclaved off site must be transported by lab personnel to the DE level staging room within 14 days of first generating the waste. Prior to transporting the waste, it must be kept in waste pans, plastic bins, or on carts to prevent possible leakage onto floors. Bags of biohazardous waste MUST NOT be stored directly on floors.
When available, use the designated freight elevator for your building. Gloves are not allowed in elevators, so the use of a cart is recommended for transporting biohazard waste.
The infectious waste to be shipped offsite for autoclaving should be brought to the staging room located in the E-level of the Thomas Building.
All bags must be deposited in red, covered holding containers. Lab personnel are required to log in the waste at the autoclave room in the logbook provided. Any waste that is not properly packaged or labeled will be returned to the designated lab.
Instructions for treating biohazardous waste that also contains hazardous chemicals or radioactive materials are listed in Section 10, Mixed Hazardous Waste.
Plastic pipettes or serological pipettes are used in many Hutchinson Center laboratories. When contaminated with blood or biohazardous material, they may be safely disposed of in an autoclave bag. See section 8.6.1 below from proper method of disposal in autoclave bags. If not contaminated, intact plastic pipettes should be disposed of in a laboratory glass box for disposal in regular garbage, as described in Section 9.7, Laboratory Glass Waste Disposal Procedures. If broken, dispose of them in sharps waste containers.
To dispose of contaminated plastic pipettes in a bag, the pipettes must be intact. Use only the clear autoclave biohazard bags, and be sure to double-bag. When placed in bags randomly with other debris, pipettes have a tendency to puncture the bags. Please place pipettes into autoclave bags in a manner which reduces the likelihood of a punctured bag. For example, stack the pipettes in a small bag, and then place this bag into a larger autoclave bag with other debris.
Only broken plastic pipettes may be disposed of in sharps containers.
Refer to Section 9, Sharps Waste, for sharps disposal procedures.
Sharps containers and biohazard autoclave bags are available through the stockrooms at the Hutchinson Center in a variety of sizes.