Biological Waste Disposal Policy
This policy is intended to provide guidance and insure compliance with NIH/CDC guidelines, the State of Florida Administrative Code 64E-6, and restrictions of the local County landfill.
By authority delegated from the University President, the Vice-President for Business Affairs is responsible for the safety of all University facilities. Under this authority, policies are developed to provide a safe teaching, research, service, housing and recreational environment.
Biological Waste Segregation and Handling
The generator must segregate biological waste from other types of waste at the point of origin into the following categories:
Infectious, Potentially Infectious, or R-DNA Biological Waste
- any material containing or contaminated with human pathogens
- any material containing or contaminated with animal pathogens
- any material containing or contaminated with plant pathogens
- any material containing or contaminated with recombinant DNA or recombinant organisms
- laboratory and clinical wastes containing human or primate blood, blood products, tissue, cell cultures, and other potentially infectious material (OPIM) including:
Used, absorbent materials contaminated with blood, blood products, or OPIM
Non-absorbent, disposable devices that have been contaminated with blood, body fluids or OPIM
- All cultures
Laboratory waste containing infectious, potentially infectious, or rDNA must be inactivated prior to leaving the facility. The preferred method is steam sterilization (autoclaving), although incineration or chemical inactivation (e.g. treatment with household bleach) may be appropriate in some cases.
Storage of all non-inactivated waste in this category is restricted to within the generating laboratory. Infectious or pathogenic waste must be held in a closed/covered biowaste container and may not be stored longer than 24 hours prior to inactivation.
Biological waste containers and bags for material that is infectious/potentially infectious to humans must be labeled with the biohazard symbol.
Filled or partially filled biological waste containers and boxes should not be held for more than 30 days.
Non-infectious Biological Waste
This category includes the following:
- Used labware (tissue culture dishes and flasks, petri dishes, centrifuge tubes, test tubes, pipettes, vials, etc) from clinical or biomedical labs that is NOT contaminated with any of the biological wastes listed in category 1 above
- Gloves used in clinical or biomedical labs that are NOT contaminated with any of the biological wastes listed in category 1 above
- Disposable personal protective equipment used in clinical or biomedical labs that is NOT contaminated with any of the biological wastes listed in category 1 above
- Unused medical devices
- Items contaminated with blood from animals not known to, or expected to, contain pathogens
The material should be placed in the red bag-lined cardboard biological/biomedical waste box (off campus UF facilities should contact the biosafety office at 352-392-1591 for guidance on this category of waste).
This material does not require inactivation prior to leaving the facility.
Note that chemically contaminated material (i.e. DNA extraction tubes contaminated with phenol/chloroform, specimen cups containing formalin, chemically contaminated gloves, etc) must be handled as chemical waste.
Chemical and Radioactive Waste Disposal or call (352) 392-8400
Sharps are instruments that are intended to cut or penetrate skin and include metal lancets, scalpel blades, needles, or syringe/needle combinations. These must be placed in red, hard plastic sharps boxes, even if unused. If these sharps are contaminated with infectious, potentially infectious, or rDNA materials, the sharps box must be autoclaved before disposal.
- Close the sharps box when it is ¾ full. Do not store closed sharps boxes for more than 30 days. Sharps boxes are placed into the red bag-lined cardboard biological waste box for disposal (off campus UF facilities should contact the biosafety office at 352-392-1591 for guidance on disposing of sharps boxes).
Biological waste items (Infectious, Potentially Infectious, or R-DNA Biological Waste or Non-infectious Biological Waste above) that can cut, but are not intended to do so, should be disposed of in a manner that prevents harm; a bag does not provide adequate protection. Examples of such materials include fragile glass, glass slides and cover slips, razor blades, pipettes and pipette tips.
- You may use a sharps box for these items. Other options include a small rigid box placed in a biohazard bag or a plastic sleeve (that will hold the pipettes together in a bundle) placed in a biohazard bag. Boxed/sleeved and bagged items containing infectious, potentially infectious, or r-DNA material must be inactivated before disposal.
Mixed radioactive/biological waste
The infectious, potentially infectious, or r-DNA component(s) of mixed radioactive/biohazardous waste shall be inactivated (if possible) prior to its release to Radiation Safety Services for disposal as radioactive waste. Please check with the Radiation Safety Office (392-7359) regarding the best method of inactivation.
Mixed chemical/biological waste
The infectious, potentially infectious, or r-DNA component(s) of mixed chemical/biohazardous waste shall be inactivated (if possible) prior to turning it over to EH&S Hazardous Materials Management for chemical disposal. Precautions should be taken to prevent the generation and release of toxic chemicals during the inactivation process. In general, autoclaving is not recommended. Please contact the Hazardous Materials Management Facility at 352-392-8400 or the Biological Safety Office (392-1591) for guidance.
Note that the chemical component of the waste may inactivate the biohazard (e.g. as in the case of fixative solutions). Please check with the Hazardous Materials Management Facility at 352-392-8400 or the Biological Safety Office (392-1591) for guidance regarding particular chemicals. Chemical waste must be segregated, stored, labeled, and handled per the requirements outlined in the Chemical Waste Management Guide.
Animal Carcasses and Other Animal Material
The disposal of animal carcasses and other animal materials and tissue shall be through Animal Care Services or the Veterinary Medicine disposal devices only. These devices are for animal materials only. Please contact Animal Care Services (352-273-9230) or the EH&S Biosafety Office (392-1591) for further information.
Material obtained from the Animal Science slaughter facility may be returned there for disposal if not contaminated with infectious, potentially infectious, or r-DNA material.
No animal carcasses or tissue pieces shall be disposed of as regular trash or through the biomedical/biological waste box.
Animal carcasses and other animal material that may contain infectious animal or human pathogens require containment (bags, sealed containers labeled with the biohazard symbol) before moving to Animal Care Services or the Veterinary Medicine disposal facilities.
Contact the Biosafety Office (392-1591) or the State Anatomical Review Board (392-3588) for information on the disposition of human remains and body parts.
Packaging and Labeling Biological Waste
Use the following materials to package biological waste. Off campus facilities should contact the Biological Safety Office at 352-392-1591 for guidance.
Corrugated biological/biomedical waste cardboard boxes
Sturdy, pre-printed cardboard biowaste boxes displaying the biohazard sign are used as the terminal receptacle. Do not overfill; boxes must weigh less than 45 lb. Tape all seams.
Label the biowaste box with the date put in use, generator’s (PI/area supervisor) name, lab location (room number) and phone number. Only properly prepared and labeled corrugated biomedical/biological waste boxes will be accepted for pickup or transport to the biomedical/biological waste storage receptacle (trailers). Waste receptacle personnel are instructed not to accept any other type of containers.
Biowaste boxes are available from room AG-129, Bldg 0204 at the Health Science Center (call 352-294-5500) or from Facilities Services, Central Stores Warehouse, 1026 Magnolia Dr. (off Radio Road), 352-392-1116.
Biohazard bags (used for the initial collection of certain biological wastes)
All biohazard bags must meet impact resistance (165 grams), tearing resistance (480 grams), and heavy metal concentration (<100 PPM total of lead, mercury, chromium and cadmium) requirements. Documentation from the manufacturer regarding these requirements must be available.
Do not put liquids into the bags. Label the biohazard bag with the date put in use, generator’s (PI/area supervisor) name, lab location (room number) and phone number.
Red biohazard bags are placed in a red bag–lined biowaste box for disposal.
The generator must order and supply biohazard bags (e.g. Fisher Scientific #01-828E autoclavable red bags for the 30 gallon waste boxes).
Closed sharps boxes are labeled with the date closed, generator’s (PI/area supervisor) name, lab location (room number) and phone number, and then put into a biomedical/biological waste box for disposal.
Sharps boxes are available at room AG-129, Bldg 0204 at the Health Science Center (call 352-294-5500) or from Physical Plant Stores, Bldg 0705 near the Motor Pool (call 392-1116). Alternatively, they can be ordered from Fisher Scientific or other lab supplies vendor.
Transport biohazardous waste outside of the laboratory (i.e. to an autoclave or incinerator) in a closed, leak-proof bag or container; bags must be contained in a leak proof tray.
Do not leave inactivated waste unattended.
Laboratory staff needing to transport properly packaged and labeled biowaste boxes to a secure storage/pick up area must protect the boxes from the weather and not leave the boxes unattended.
All employees who handle biological waste shall be trained regarding the proper segregation, handling, packaging, labeling, storage, and treatment of biological waste. Refresher training is required annually.
Training may be accomplished through the UF Bloodborne Pathogen Training Program, informally in the lab setting, or through formal training programs set up by individual departments or divisions. For assistance, please call the Biological Safety Office at (392-1591).
According to Florida Statute (Ch. 64E-16 F.A.C.), records of the training session shall be maintained for each employee, along with an outline of the training program. Training records shall be retained for a period of three (3) years. If EH&S provides the training, EH&S will maintain the training record(s); if the PI or department provides the training, those entities are required to maintain the training record(s).