Washington State University
Environmental Health & Safety Biohazardous Waste

Biohazardous Waste

Biohazardous wastes, also called a regulated waste, must be disposed of properly.

A regulated waste is any of the following:

  • Liquid or semi-liquid blood or other potentially infectious materials (OPIM);
  • Contaminated items that would release blood or OPIM in a liquid or semi-liquid state, if compressed;
  • Items that are caked with dried blood or OPIM and are capable of releasing these materials during handling;
  • Contaminated sharps;
  • Pathological and microbiological wastes containing blood or OPIM.

All regulated waste must be disposed of in properly labeled containers and/or red biohazard bags. Sharps must be placed in a puncture-resistant sharps container. These bags/containers must be taken to the designated collection facility for your location.  Refer to your site specific Bloodborne Pathogens Exposure Control Plan and SPPM 4.24 for disposal procedures.  Contact Facilities Operations Waste Managment at 5-9075 for assistance with disposal procedures.

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Non-regulated waste may be disposed in regular plastic trash bags in a dumpster if it has been decontaminated or autoclaved prior to disposal.  Use unmarked autocalve bags if they are to be disposed of in the regular trash after autoclaving.  Biohazard bags are not to be disposed of in the regular trash, once waste is placed in a biohazard marked bag, it must be disposed of as biohazardous waste.

All bags containing non-regulated waste materials must be labeled, signed, and dated, verifying that the materials inside have been decontaminated according to acceptable procedures and pose no health threat.   These bags must not be red, orange or include a biohazard symbol.

Custodians and housekeepers will not remove bags containing any form of blood (human or animal), vials containing blood, bloody towels, rags, biohazardous waste, etc. from laboratories unless the bag is designated as non-hazardous.  They have been instructed not to handle any non-regulated waste unless it has been properly marked and labeled.

Custodians will not handle regulated waste.