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This policy is designed to meet Seattle-King County Solid Waste Disposal Regulations and to protect staff who are at risk in the handling of waste sharps. Procedures for non-sharp waste (e.g., non-sharp infectious, chemical, radioactive, unbroken glassware, and non-hazardous waste) are not affected by this policy.
Non-contaminated broken lab glass and plastic such as beakers and bottles are NOT considered sharps for disposal purposes. Refer to Section 9.7, Laboratory Glass Waste Disposal Procedures, for additional information.
Sharps waste categories include:
Laboratory glassware is not considered sharps waste for disposal purposes, but may be sharp enough to puncture normal garbage bags and endanger waste handlers. Lab glass includes items such as broken glass beakers or bottles, plastic pipettes and pipette tips.
Although sharps containers are often conveniently placed throughout the lab, it is important to remember these containers are for sharps waste only, and are not to be used for non-sharp biohazard waste or regular trash. Disposal of non-sharp biohazard waste in a sharps container adds significant costs to waste management.
The following are examples of items that should not be disposed of as sharps waste:
Sharps are collected in standard Fred Hutch sharps containers. These sharps containers are available in multiple sizes from the Stockroom.
The standard (non-radioactive, non-chemical) sharps waste pickup procedure is as follows:
Radioactive sharps are collected in standard sharps containers available through the stockroom. The radioactive sharps waste pickup procedure is as follows:
Attach a completed radioactive waste label, and indicate that the contents are not contaminated with biological material. EH&S collects containers of radioactive sharps.
Chemical sharps such as broken mercury thermometers or syringes contaminated with chemotherapy agents must not be disposed of in regular red sharps containers.
For disposal of sharps contaminated with chemotherapy drugs, refer to Section 4.5.
For disposal of broken mercury thermometers, refer to Section 4.7.
Contact EH&S for proper disposal instructions for other sharps contaminated with hazardous chemicals.
Laboratory glass (includes plastic pipettes and pipette tips) should be disposed of in rigid cardboard boxes. Boxes designed for this purpose are available commercially, though any other sturdy cardboard box could be used. When full, the box should be taped up and marked Broken Glass and placed in the hallway for pickup by custodians. Never use these boxes for disposal of sharps, chemical bottles containing EH&S inventory barcodes, or non-broken drink glasses that could be recycled.