Biohazardous waste is any material contaminated with blood or other infectious materials that can pose a risk of spreading diseases to humans, animals, and the environment. It is essential to handle and dispose of biohazardous waste in a safe and responsible manner. In this article, we will discuss the different methods of disposing of biohazardous waste, as well as the regulations and safety protocols that must be followed. Biological liquid waste can be discharged down the drain (sanitary sewer) under running water after being decontaminated in an autoclave or by chemical means. There is no need to disinfect human or animal blood and body fluids before pouring them down the drain.
Laboratory workers who process biohazardous waste through a steam autoclave should receive appropriate biosafety training and follow the procedures described in the Biohazardous Waste Disposal Plan.
Sharp ContainersSharp containers contaminated with biohazardous materials must be autoclaved in an orange autoclavable bag marked with an “x” on the biohazard symbol on the bag. At a minimum, all biohazardous waste must be labeled with the universal biohazard symbol and the word “Biological hazard”.
Biologically Hazardous Liquid WasteBiologically hazardous liquid waste includes all blood and liquid waste from humans or animals, and all other biohazardous liquid waste (such as microbial cultures). While small fragments of contaminated broken glass can be placed in the sharp-object containers identified above, large objects with broken and contaminated glass should be autoclaved separately in a container with rigid walls (such as a cardboard box) lined with an orange biohazard bag with an “x” autoclave indicator tape above the biohazard symbol on the bag.
Regulations and Safety ProtocolsIn addition to the requirements that biological hazardous waste containers must be durable, leakproof, have a lid and be clearly labeled, all UNC laboratories are required to collect waste hazardous to biological health in red outdoor containers. Medical waste can be very confusing.
It is important to understand what federal laws apply, as well as any state or local city requirements.