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Biological Waste Management
Proper Biological Waste Procedures at OSU
At OSU, segregation of biohazardous wastes from other types of waste is essential due to limited capacity for sterilization by autoclaving and incineration.
To comply with state regulations, the following procedures must be used in OSU laboratories and other facilities:
1) Laboratory wastes must be segregated at the point of generation. It is the responsibility of the principal investigator / lab director to ensure that lab personnel are trained in appropriate waste segregation and disposal. For information on proper disposal, or to set up a training session for lab workers, please call the EH&S Biosafety Officer at 737-4557.
2) Carcasses: For most research applications, carcasses and animal parts are disposed of by incineration. Research animal carcasses, tissues, associated bedding and wastes may be disposed of by incineration through a contract arrangement with a waste disposal vendor (e.g., Oregon Biomedical) or by prior arrangement to use the incinerator associated with the College of Veterinary Medicine. Under limited circumstances, food animals used for research may be sold for food. Food animals into which pathogens, carcinogens and other hazardous chemicals, or recombinant DNA have been introduced may not be sold for food unless the sale is specifically authorized by the appropriate federal agency. Contact EH&S for information about carcass disposal at OSU.
3) Solid laboratory wastes: Solid wastes that are non-hazardous or have been rendered non-hazardous by sterilization may be discarded to the normal waste stream following certain procedures. Solid wastes being discarded into the waste stream should be tagged or labeled using a Sharpie® with the name of the principal investigator / lab director, and should indicate the waste is non-hazardous. This simple step can prevent public relations problems if the bags rip open during transit or at the landfill.
- Labs that work with microorganisms considered BSL-2 or BSL-3 agents, animal pathogens, or human source blood, fluids or cells need to collect all solid wastes into orange or red autoclavable biohazard bags and sterilize the bags by autoclaving before disposal to the waste stream. After treatment by autoclaving, the biohazard bags must be placed inside black plastic trash bags and taken to the dumpsters outside the buildings. Autoclaves used to decontaminate infectious wastes must have posted standard operating procedures (SOPs) for decontamination and be tested monthly by challenge using Geobacillus stereothermophilis spore strips or vials. Contact EH&S Biosafety Officer to obtain test kits. Results of the tests must be documented. As an alternative to autoclaving, biohazardous wastes may be collected into the appropriate containers and disposed of by waste vendors (e.g., Oregon Biomedical). The costs incurred for such disposal will be the responsibility of the researcher or department.
- Labs that work with only with non-hazardous biological materials (such as non-pathogenic environmental microorganisms, non-recombinant indigenous plant material, etc.) should segregate “medical appearing” solid wastes and collect these materials into black plastic bags. Examples of wastes that should be segregated from ordinary trash include used gloves, microfuge tubes, plastic pipettes, and other disposable lab ware. These wastes should be placed into dumpsters.
4) Liquid wastes: Liquid culture wastes must be autoclaved before discard into the sanitary sewer. Non-infectious liquid wastes may be discarded to the sanitary sewer with no prior treatment, provided no hazardous chemicals are present. Hazardous chemical wastes must be collected for disposal by EH&S.
5) Recombinant plant materials / plant pathogens: Labs or greenhouses that generate recombinant plant materials or plant pathogens must sterilize these materials (usually by autoclaving) before disposal into the waste stream to minimize the possible risk to the environment posed by release of live materials. These materials should be collected into clear autoclavable bags without the biohazard symbol, but if red or orange biohazard bags are used, they should be placed inside black plastic bags after treatment and before disposal in the dumpsters. Even though not required by state law, it is recommended that autoclaves used for such treatment be tested regularly using the biological indicator as described above.
6) Sharps: All sharps, including glass test tubes used for the culture of pathogens and syringes removed from their wrappings, must be collected into hard-sided, leak-proof sharps containers. The containers can be obtained from most scientific supply companies. When the containers are about ¾ full, they should be sealed and removed for disposal. For campus facilities other than the College of Veterinary Medicine, collection of sealed sharps containers for disposal can be requested from the EH&S website at http://oregonstate.edu/ehs/ under the link for “Waste Disposal.”