Environmental health and safety office

Infectious Waste Management

A. Waste Segregation
All wastes will be segregated into appropriate categories at the point of generation (e.g. laboratory, patient room, service area), properly containerized and maintained in separate packaging throughout collection, storage and transport in a manner that prevents release of the waste material.
  • All untreated infectious waste will be placed immediately into appropriate collection bags and containers.
  • All infectious/ objectionable waste destined for on-site decontamination by autoclaving will be segregated from other waste and placed directly into autoclavable waste collection bags.

    B. Labeling and Container Requirements

    Container Requirements

    Reusable containers:
    Infectious waste collection and transportation containers will be rigid, leak burst and tear resistant under normal conditions of handling and use; constructed of smooth, easily cleanable, impermeable material. Reusable containers, which have been in direct contact with infectious material will be disinfected prior to reuse.

    Disposable containers:
    All infectious waste (other than sharps) collection containers will be lined with disposable waste collection bags. Infectious waste collection bags will be impervious to moisture an and of sufficient strength to preclude, ripping, tearing, or bursting under normal conditions of use and handling. Red disposable infectious waste bags will be used for the collection of non-autoclavable infectious waste such as pathological waste, infected research animal waste only, or for other waste not intended for on-site decontamination or treatment. Sharps containers will be rigid, puncture burst and tear resistant under normal conditions of handling and use. All sharps containers will be prominently labeled with the words "Sharps" and bear the biohazard symbol.
    Please Note: Cardboard boxes are not accepted and should not be used as sharps containers.

    Labeling Requirements:

    All infectious waste collection containers, bags, or liners will be clearly labeled with a biohazard symbol and/or marked with the words "Infectious Waste". Sharps containers must be labeled with the words "Sharps" and bearing the biohazard waste symbol whether the sharps are infectious or not. Room Labeling: Consult with the University wide Bio-safety Officer to see if your research will require labeling of the laboratory and/or work area doors and entrances. A biohazard label must be posted on the doors of any laboratory performing BL1 or higher-level research. In general, affix Biohazard Warning labels to refrigerators, freezers and other containers holding blood and other potentially infectious materials to warn others of the hazards involved.

    C. Storage Requirements:

    Infectious/ objectionable, pathological, infected research animal and pathological waste destined for off-site shipment must be properly containerized, labeled and stored separately from other waste in areas designed to prevent the entry of vermin and access by unauthorized persons. All untreated infectious waste and non-preserved animal and pathological waste will be stored in coolers, refrigerator and freezers to prevent putrefaction, and minimize odors. All storage containers will have tight fitting lids.

    D. Decontamination:

    On-Site Decontamination of Infectious Waste

    All laboratories involved with the use of virulent infectious agents must decontaminate all cultures, stocks and materials used in the manipulation of infectious agents before disposal into the normal waste stream or general refuse. Infected animal carcasses and body parts will not be decontaminated on-site but shipped for off-site incineration. Subsequent to decontamination, all autoclaved waste will be handled as normal waste and discarded in the normal waste stream.

    Decontamination by Autoclaving

    Autoclaving (saturated stream under pressure) is approved decontamination method of most infectious waste (other than research animal and pathological waste) generated at UMD. Usually, a 60 to 90 minute cycles at 121 degrees C will be used to effectively decontaminated waste. There are other acceptable processes for the decontamination of infectious waste. However, the approval of the University of Minnesota Bio-safety Officer must be obtained for their use.