Dealing with Lab Wast

All laboratories generate waste - lots of it. Here are a few guidelines to follow.

Needles & Sharps

Used needles and sharps (razor blades, etc.) should be placed in red plastic sharps containers. If the sharps biohazard contaminated, the sharps container should be marked appropriately and autoclaved when full. If the sharps have been in contact with human biological fluids, the sharps container must be labeled accordingly.

Broken Glass

Broken glass is an inevitability in any lab. Please clean up all broken glass pieces and put in a labeled broken glass box. Do not use these boxes for normal trash or for sharps. If broken glass is biohazard contaminated, then place in a biohazard red sharps container, and autoclave when full.

Chemical Waste

Chemical waste is highly regulated and must be disposed of properly. In general, many water soluble, non-toxic, substances without heavy metals may be disposed of down the sanitary sewer. For organic substances, generally they are segregated as halogenated waste (solvents with halogens, such as chloroform, dichloromethane, etc.) and non-halogenated waste (solvents such as acetone, ethyl acetate, toluene, etc.). Your supervisor or instructor will specify instructions how to dispose of waste properly. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Chemical Hygiene Officer.

Regular Trash

You may dispose of solid non-hazardous waste in the regular trash. Examples include used gloves, paper towels, non-contaminated plasticware, etc. Items contaminated with biohazard should be decontaminated before disposal in regular trash. This may mean placement in a biohazard bag and autoclaving the contents before dumpster disposal.

Items contaminated with highly toxic or dangerous materials (such as mercury) should be segregated in a labeled container and disposed of with hazardous solid waste.

**Remember**: The Chemical Hygiene Officer is your resource for information on the proper disposal procedures for your situation.


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