Biological Waste-Special Medical Waste Management Guidelines and Instructions

Biological Waste is also commonly referred to as Special Medical Waste or Pathological Waste.  This type of waste is considered potentially contaminated with infectious agents, human, animal tissues, body fluids, or sharps.  In order to keep a clean and safe environment, EHS disposes of Biological Waste following federal, state, and local regulations. The three major waste streams (chemical, biological, and radioactive) must be kept separate as much as possible. If mixed waste is unavoidable, contact EHS at 410-706-7055.

Biomedical waste consists of all biological, pathological and infectious wastes. This includes:

  1. Anatomical Material: Human or animal body parts including tissues and organs or whole animal carcasses (except those containing radioactive materials).
  2. Blood: Human or animal, whole or blood components.
  3. Blood-soiled Articles: Any article that contains blood in any form as a result of contact with blood.
  4. Sharps: Syringes, needles, surgical instruments such as scalpels, razor blades or other articles which have cut or punctured human skin or have come in contact with an infectious agent as defined by the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) regulations. Any sharps contaminated with radioactive material should go through the radioactive waste stream.
  5. Unused cultures and stocks of infectious agents.
  6. Biologically Contaminated Laboratory Materials: Any article that is contaminated with or has come in contact with a pathogenic or infectious organism such as petri dishes, glassware, etc. This category includes microbiological cultures, clinical specimens (urine, feces, etc), and contaminated animal bedding.

All biomedical waste must be either treated and disposed of as solid waste or consigned to Environmental Health and Safety for incineration at the EHS facility on site.

Disposal Methods

“Dry”, non-sharp materials should be disposed of in a brown burn box/biohazard box.

Examples of dry materials: Biologically contaminated laboratory materials, blood soiled articles, cultures, petri dishes containing media and stocks of infectious agents.

  1. Line a burn box/biohazard waste box with the provided plastic liner.
  2. Add any dry biohazard waste to the box. Soaked materials, such as paper towels used in cleanup, should be double bagged using absorbent material in the inner bag before being placed in the burn box. Do not dispose of liquid waste in burn boxes. Do not overfill waste boxes. An overly full box is one where the waste extends above the top rim of the box.
  3. When full, twist the plastic bag(s) at the top, bend the twisted portion to form a loop and seal using filament tape. Seal the bags individually when double bagging.
  4. Close the box and secure it with filament tape.
  5. Submit an online request for Biological (Special Medical) Waste Removal. Please specify the number of new or replacement boxes needed.

Note: EHS will provide boxes and bags for new and existing biohazard waste producers.

Note: Do not place free flowing liquids in any containers

Note: Petri dishes or stock solutions with media containing hazardous chemicals such as mercuric chloride must be containerized separately from the infectious waste without a hazardous chemical component.

Note: Many research floors have the Grey Biohazard Bin disposal system in place. These grey bins are generally located in your floor’s autoclave room and are emptied on a regular schedule. See following section if your floor uses a grey bin. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grey Biohazard Bin

Some research floors use Grey Biohazard Bins (commonly located in the autoclave room) to collect full biohazard bags of dry materials. Appropriate waste for grey biohazard bins are the same as for the dry burn boxes (eg.  Biologically contaminated laboratory materials, blood soiled articles, cultures, petri dishes containing media and stocks of infectious agents.)

If your lab floor uses the grey biohazard bin system, follow the below steps for biohazard waste.

  1. Line a burn box/biohazard waste box with the provided plastic liner.
  2. Add any dry biohazard waste to the box. Soaked materials, such as paper towels used in cleanup, should be double bagged using absorbent material in the inner bag before being placed in the burn box. Do not dispose of liquid waste in burn boxes. Do not overfill waste boxes. An overly full box is one where the waste extends above the top rim of the box.
  3. When full, twist the plastic bag(s) at the top, bend the twisted portion to form a loop and seal using filament tape. Seal the bags individually when double bagging.
  4. CAREFULLY remove the sealed plastic liner from the biohazard box and transport it to the grey biohazard bin location. Do not drag the liners along the floors when transporting to the bin location. Do not carry the liners in your arms, in case a pipet tip punctures the liner. It is best to transport full, sealed plastic liners on a lab cart.
  5. Place the sealed plastic liner into the bin and close the top.
  6. Grey bins are removed at regularly scheduled times, so you do not need to submit a waste removal request. HOWEVER, if the bin is full and there is no more room for your waste, call EHS at 410-706-7055, state your location and that the grey bin is full, and we will arrange for an off-schedule pickup.
  7. Re-line your burn box with a new plastic liner and continue to use the outside box.

Note: No chemical, radioactive waste, sharps containers, loose objects, or free flowing liquids should ever be placed in grey bins. Only dry solid medical and lab waste.

Note: Do not stack items on or around the grey bins. Waste should be placed inside bins and not around them.

Note: Biohazard Boxes should not be stored in bins. It is acceptable to place them next to a bin and EHS will remove them at the time they remove the bin.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sharps contaminated with human or infectious materials should be placed in an appropriate sharps disposal box.

Examples of sharps materials: Syringes, needles, surgical instruments such as scalpels, razor blades or other articles which have cut or punctured human skin or have come in contact with an infectious agent

  1. Place intact needles and syringes and other sharps into an autoclavable, puncture-resistant sharps container.
  2. Do not recap, bend, remove or clip needles.
  3. Fill 3/4 full, snap the lid closed and secure with filament tape.
  4. Do not overfill or force fill the sharps container. This may result in puncture wounds.
  5. Submit an online request for Biological (Special Medical) Waste Removal .

Note: EHS does not provide sharps containers

Note: Do not place free-flowing liquids in sharps containers.

 

 

 

Autoclaving Waste

All laboratory wastes suspected of being contaminated with potentially infectious materials must be autoclaved.

Autoclave bags (polypropylene) must be used. Ordinary plastic bags will melt in the autoclave. All bags must be secondarily contained in either a polypropylene tote or a stainless steel tote.

Once the autoclaving of the potentially infectious material is complete, allow the bag(s) to cool. Once the autoclave bag(s) cool, place the bag into the grey cart found in autoclave rooms throughout the campus.

Most carts are scheduled for weekly pickup by EHS. If you need a mid-week or an immediate pick up because of higher volume of waste, call 410-706-7055. EHS will remove and replace the cart.

Please see Autoclave Use and Quality Assurance Program page for more information

 

 

Glass disposal

Uncontaminated broken glass: EHS does not provide Broken Glass Boxes, as pictured, and does not remove them from your space. These boxes are intended for uncontaminated broken glass and should be disposed of with general trash. Place in a broken glass box, to be disposed of with general trash.

Contaminated broken glass: Place in a properly labeled sharps disposal container. When full, submit for removal by EHS.

Uncontaminated unbroken glass: Place in a sturdy, sealable cardboard box for disposal. Close and seal securely. Place with general trash.

Contaminated unbroken glass: Decontaminate the glassware as appropriate for the source of contamination (autoclave, gas, or chemical methods). Once decontaminated, place in a sturdy, sealable cardboard box. Close and seal securely. Place with general trash. If the glass is contaminated with radioactive materials or cannot be decontaminated, contact EHS at 410-706-7055.

 

 

 

 

Animal Carcasses/Tissues

Animal carcasses that have been injected with regulated hazardous chemicals during the course of an experiment must be labeled with the amount of that hazardous chemical remaining in the animal carcass and disposed of as chemical waste.

  1. Place animal/tissue in a plastic bag, close, then double bag and place in the freezer.
  2. Call EHS at 410-706-7055 or submit an online request for Biological (Special Medical) Waste Removal.

Whole Blood, Blood Components or Other Body Fluids

COMAR 10.06.06.07B allows for sewer disposal of untreated blood and macerated tissue