Biohazardous Waste

Laboratory personnel and principal investigators (PIs) are responsible for identifying, packaging and properly decontaminating biohazardous waste, including all recombinant or synthetic DNA/RNA waste, before disposal. Procedures to identify, package, transport and decontaminate biohazardous waste are detailed below. For site-specific information, see Biohazardous Waste Flow Charts.

    What is biohazardous waste?

    The following materials are defined as biohazardous or biomedical waste:

    • Sharps waste
    • Human and nonhuman primate blood, tissue, body fluids and cell lines
    • Cultures or stocks of pathogenic agents, including bacteria, rickettsia, fungi, viruses, protozoa, parasites, prions and select agents
    • Recombinant or synthetic nucleic acids (recDNA), including waste products from procedures involving plasmids, viral vectors, E.coli, yeasts and naked nucleic acids
    • Laboratory waste items (i.e., used PPE, culture dishes, tubes) that have come into contact with a biohazard
    • Animal waste, carcasses and body parts that have been exposed to recDNA or any biohazard
    • Human pathological waste
    • Plant waste, including all transgenic plants, seeds, spores, plant debris and soil materials, and any plants exposed to plant pathogens

    Package Biohazardous Waste

    Transport Biohazardous Waste

    Decontaminate Biohazardous Waste

    Site-specific information

    Refer to Biohazardous Waste Flow Charts for site-specific information.

    What you can do to stay safe

    • Be familiar with the different types of biohazardous waste and their packaging and disposal methods.
    • Plan for disposal before generating biohazardous waste.
    • Follow all of the autoclave safety and monitoring requirements and provide training to all autoclave operators.
    • Follow the biohazard transport policy when transporting biohazardous waste.

    Services available

    EH&S biosafety officers can assist with training, consultation and help with any biosafety questions. If you plan to generate mixed waste (i.e., biohazardous and radioactive), please contact EH&S first.

    Frequently asked questions

    More Information