Biological Laboratory Waste Management – Disposal Policy & Procedure
This Environmental Health & Safety guideline documentation is intended for researchers and laboratory personnel.
The Administration of the University of Colorado Boulder Campus is committed to protecting its students, faculty, staff, the public and the environment. The Environmental Health and Safety Department has developed a biological waste management program in accordance with Colorado Revised Statutes Title 25-Article 15-Part 4, which, if followed, satisfies applicable safety, health, and environmental regulations and concerns for the Campus laboratory operations that generate biological waste. It is the responsibility of each of us to implement these requirements where they pertain to our respective activities and job duties.
It is the policy of the University of Colorado at Boulder, that biological waste from Campus research and teaching laboratories be managed in accordance with the Biowaste Program procedures detailed below. Failure to abide by this policy and program may result in penalties that can be assessed, as appropriate to the entities that caused or contributed to the non-compliance.
NOTE: For information and assistance regarding the proper management and disposal of Sharps (needles, syringes, blades, scalpels) generated from personal medical use or from Campus medical facilities, contact Wardenburg Health Center at (303) 492-2794. For information and assistance regarding occupational exposures to Bloodborne Pathogens, contact Risk Management at (303) 492-1901.
Biological Waste (Infectious & Non-Infectious): Cultures, plates, media and other liquid or solid materials generated by Campus research and teaching laboratories, that contain or come in contact with living cells, body fluids, viruses, clinical materials, and other microorganisms.
Infectious Waste: Biological waste that involves the presence of organisms containing recombinant DNA or any other organisms hazardous to human or animal health, including pathogens of sufficient virulence and quantity that exposure to the waste by a susceptible host could result in an infectious disease.
Non-Infectious: Plates, slides, culture vessels, and other biological or biomedical appearing materials generated by Campus laboratories, that do not meet the criteria of “infectious” (as defined above) or have been rendered non-infectious by chemical disinfection or autoclaving.
Waste Generator Responsibilities & Actions
Waste generator is responsible for identifying infectious and non-infectious biological waste that they use or make, and for collecting/managing the waste in accordance with these procedures.
If biological waste or sharps are contaminated with radioactive material, STOP. DO NOT AUTOCLAVE. Contact EH&S Radiation Safety at (303) 492-6523 for proper procedures.
- Determine if the waste is infectious. Render all infectious waste non-infectious using effective chemical disinfection methods or by autoclaving. Non-infectious liquid waste may be drain-disposed if it contains no other regulated chemicals or radioactive materials. If in doubt, be conservative and autoclave or chemically treat all non-radioactive biological waste or consult with EH&S Hazardous Materials and Waste Management Unit at (303) 492-7845.
- Place infectious waste that has not been chemically disinfected into non-leaking, heat resistant autoclave bags which have built-in sterilization indicators. Complete applicable portions (Department, PI, Room Number, Waste Volume, Contents) of a Non-Biohazardous waste Certification tag – available from EH&S, check the “Autoclave” box and attach all three tag copies to the bag. Bring the bag of biohazardous waste to your designated autoclave area.
- Sharps are not to be disposed of through this program. Sharps are handled through the hazardous (chemical) material/waste program. Biomedically appearing sharps (needles, syringes, blades, scalpels) whether they are chemically contaminated or not, must be placed in puncture-proof, sealed containers (no plastic or autoclave bags) and tagged for hazardous material/waste pick-up.
Infectious sharps must be rendered non-infectious prior to submittal of the hazardous material/waste tag. Chemical disinfection is not effective for needles and small syringes. These types of infectious sharps must be autoclaved using a puncture- proof container that contains a built-in sterilization indicator or place autoclave tape on the container. The tape is preferred because on containers with built-in sterilization indicators the change is often not visible.Make sure that the container is not completely sealed during autoclaving so that sharps won’t puncture it due to the heat and pressure. Once the container has been autoclaved, make sure the autoclave indicator has changed to show that the sharps have been rendered non-infectious. Re-seal the container.
- Seal biologically appearing non-infectious waste (no sharps) inside a non-leaking autoclave bag, and complete and sign a non-biohazardous waste tag as described below, checking the box that indicates the material inside the bag is non-biohazardous. Attach the 3-part biowaste tag to the bag, remove the top (white) copy and put it in the designated pocket posted in the area near the autoclave. Leave the other two copies of the tag attached to the bag (canary and bottom manila card) and place the bag into a designated “Certified Non-biohazardous Materials” receptacle. There is no need to autoclave or chemically disinfect this waste.
- Seal chemically disinfected solid biowaste (no sharps) inside a non-leaking autoclave bag and complete and sign a non-biohazardous waste tag as described below, indicating that the material inside the bag has been rendered non-infectious by chemical treatment. Attach the tag to the bag and put the top (white) copy into the designated pocket. Place the bag into a designated “Certified Non-biohazardous Materials” receptacle.
Generating Department’s Responsible Person(s) Responsibilities & Actions
Generating Department’s Rresponsible Person(s) is (are) assigned by the Department’s Administration to serve as liaison for the Biowaste Program and to assure that requirements are being properly implemented by the Department’s personnel.