Biomedical Waste

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Disposal procedures for biological or medical waste depend on the classification and type of waste generated. Biohazardous wastes include solids, liquid, sharps, outdated pharmaceuticals, pathological, and contaminated glass waste.

What is Biomedical Waste?

Biological waste is waste contaminated with potentially infectious agents or other materials deemed a danger to public health or the environment.  They can include:

  • petri dishes
  • culture tubes
  • syringes
  • needles
  • blood vials
  • absorbent material
  • personal protective equipment (PPE)

At USC, biomedical waste is generated by clinical staff or researchers working with human beings or animals and generally consists of biohazardous waste and sharps.

View the links below for a detailed definition of medical waste:

Segregation and Storage

Keep the below types of waste properly segregated until pickup by USC’s hazmat team to ensure they do not contaminate the area around you.

  1. Dry Biohazardous Waste

Dispose the following materials in a red biohazard bag placed in a bin or container with biohazard labels on it:

  • Contaminated cultures, petri dishes, and culture flasks
  • Wastes from infectious agents, such as bacteria, viruses, or live or attenuated vaccine
  • Waste contaminated with excretion or secretion from infectious humans or animals
  • Paper Towels, kim wipes, bench papers contaminated biohazardous materials
  1. Sharps

Dispose the following materials in a sharps container:

  • Hypodermic needles
  • Pasteur pipettes, sharp plastic pipette tips
  • Blades, microscopic slides, dental wires
  • Any contaminated material which can puncture or penetrate the skin or a red bag
  1. Liquid Waste

Dispose the following materials through the conventional sanitary sewage system if the materials are deactivated with 10% bleach solution and plenty of water.  Contact EH&S if you cannot deactivate it:

  • Human or animal blood
  • Body fluid or semi-liquid materials
  1. Pathological Waste

The following materials should be disposed of immediately after they are generated. Call EH&S for a white pathological waste container and to make pickup arrangements.

  • Organs, tissues, body parts, and fluids which have been removed by trauma, surgery, other medical procedures.
  • Human or animal tissues injected with a human pathogen or are potentially infectious.
  • Animal carcasses injected with viral vectors or highly toxins can be placed in a labeled biohazard sealable bag and placed in a freezer for pick-up.
  1. Outdated Pharmaceuticals

Place all outdated pharmaceuticals in a small fiberboard box. The box should be labeled “Outdated Pharmaceuticals: For Incineration Only

  1. Contaminated Glass Waste

If broken glassware is visibly contaminated with biological materials, decontaminate it before disposal. If it cannot be decontaminated, dispose it in a sharps container. Use tongs or a brush and dustpan to handle the broken glassware.