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Health and Safety Guide


 

SECTION D2: BIOLOGICAL WASTE HANDLING


Introduction

Some wastes associated with biological materials must be disposed of in special ways because they may have been contaminated with infectious organisms or agents. These potentially infectious or biohazardous materials are defined by NJ regulations as Regulated Medical Waste. These wastes include the following:

  • all sharps, e.g. glass implements, needles, syringes, blades, etc. coming from facilities using infectious materials
  • biologically-cultured stocks and plates, human blood or tissues
  • certain wastes from patient care

In addition, wastes generated from animal care facilities are also handled separately from the general waste stream.

Procedures that meet regulatory requirements and prevent any unintended exposure have been established for handling and disposal of these types of waste.

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Scope and Application

The procedures described in this section address all biologically-contaminated wastes generated on campus that are handled separately from the general waste steam.

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Procedure

Biological Waste from Laboratories

For disposal of these wastes, the lab personnel:

1. Sterilize or disinfect waste materials associated with viral, bacterial, or other agents infectious to humans (by autoclave or chemical treatment equivalent to 1:10 bleach solution).
2. Place all biohazardous wastes, except for sharps, directly into the red bag-lined medical waste boxes provided by Building Services.
3. Place sharps into labeled sharps containers which when filled are placed into the medical waste box.
4. When the Medical Waste box is filled, seal the bag liner and box and notify janitor for pick-up.

IMPORTANT LABELING REQUIREMENT:

  • Lab personnel must apply an adhesive-backed label completed with generator information to the exterior of each medical waste box. Building Services provides such a label that has space to record Date, Building, Lab#, and contact person.
  • Inner red bags and sharps containers must also be labeled as follows: “Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey.”  Building Services provides pre-printed labels for inner bags and sharps containers.

5. When pick-ups are infrequent or limited, contact Building Services to arrange for pick-up.

Other wastes generated in these facilities that are not contaminated with biological agents or materials are not treated as biohazardous and may be discarded in the regular trash container, with recyclables, or into other specially designated waste containers. These include such items as recyclable and non-recyclable waste glass, gloves, unused plates or tubes, fly media or embryo plates, etc.

In order to clarify how these various wastes are to be handled in laboratories using biological materials, the waste stream charts included below have been developed and put into use.

The 1st chart, Biological Laboratory Waste Streams, developed for the Departments of Molecular Biology and EEB, is intended to be used by biological laboratory facilities. The second chart was developed for the Chemistry Department and other departments where biological cultures may be used in some laboratories. Choose the model that most clearly fits the waste being generated or call the Biosafety Officer at 8-5294 for clarification.

 

BIOLOGICAL LABORATORY WASTE STREAMS*

CATEGORY
DESCRIPTION
CONTAINER
LOCATION
HANDLING
ROUTING
Non-recyclable Waste Glass
Plate glass, pyrex, light bulbs, broken glass chemical containers, Non-contaminated ** plastic serological pipettes
Tall cardboard container with heavy plastic liner
Corridor and/or Lab
Removed by custodial staff when full
Solid Waste (not recyclable)
Empty Chemical Containers
Intact, clean triple-rinsed glass and plastic (#1 and #2) containers; recyclable without caps
Special plastic bucket with half lid
Corridor
Removed by custodial staff when full
Recyclable
Lab Trash
Non-contaminated** gloves, bench paper, packaging materials, foil, plastic bags, paper towels, weighing boats, bottle caps, fly media, fly embryo plates, culture plates (with or without media); culture and centrifuge tubes (with or without media), filter flasks
Standard waste can with 4 mil liner
Lab
Removed by custodial staff when full
Solid Waste
Regulated Medical Waste
All sharps
All Pasteur and other glass pipettes, needles, syringes, scalpel blades, razor blades, slides, coverslips
Labeled sharps container
Lab
Placed in medical waste boxes by lab occupants
Medical Waste
Other Medical Waste

Experimentally cultured stocks,plates or other materials meeting New Jersey definition (See *** below)

Ethidium bromide gels

Standard medical waste box with red plastic liner
Lab
Sealed and placed in corridor by lab occupants
Medical Waste

* Does not include radioactive or hazardous chemical waste

** Non-contaminated applies to any material not having been in contact with an infectious agent. The New Jersey Regulated Medical Waste regulations define infectious agent as “any organism (such as a virus or a bacteria) capable of being communicated by invasion and multiplication in body tissues and capable of causing disease or adverse health impacts in humans”.

*** Other Regulated Medical Waste - Any solid waste generated in the diagnosis, treatment, or immunization of human beings or animals, in research pertaining thereto, or in the production or testing of biologicals , in the following categories: cultures and stocks (of infectious agents and associated pathological wastes, human blood and blood products, sharps (used or unused), animal waste (contaminated animal carcasses and animal bedding exposed to agents infectious in humans).

 

CHEMISTRY DEPARTMENT LABORATORY WASTE STREAMS *

CATEGORY
DESCRIPTION
CONTAINER
LOCATION
HANDLING
ROUTING
Non-recyclable
waste glass, plastic; sharps from non-culture labs
Plate glass, pyrex, light bulbs, broken glass chemical containers; sharps from non-culture labs, e.g. pipettes, needles, syringes, slides, cover slips, blades
Tall cardboard container with heavy plastic liner (A)
Corridor and/or
Lab
Removed by custodial staff when full
Solid waste
(not recyclable)
Recyclable empty chemical containers
Intact, clean triple-rinsed glass and plastic (#1 and #2) containers; recyclable without caps
Special plastic bucket with half lid (B)
Corridor
Removed by custodial staff when full
Recyclable
Lab trash
Non-contaminated** gloves, bench paper, packaging materials, foil, plastic bags, paper towels, weighing boats, bottle caps, uncultured plates and tubes (with or without media), filter flasks, silica gel (not contaminated with chemical solvents)

Standard waste basket with 4mil liner (C) (Silica gel and other powders must be in sealed bag or container before placement in the waste basket)

 

Lab

Removed daily by custodial staff
Solid waste

LABS USING BIOLOGICAL CULTURES
All sharps
All glass pipettes, needles, syringes, scalpel blades, razor blades, slides, coverslips
Labeled sharps container (D)
Lab
Sealed and placed in medical waste box by lab staff
Medical waste
Other medical
waste
Experimentally cultured stocks,plates or other disposables associated with culture work
Medical waste box with red plastic liner
(E) or
Labeled sharps container (D)
Lab
Sharps container-sealed & placed in Med. Waste box by lab staff;
Medical waste box sealed and placed in corridor by lab staff
Medical waste

* Does not include radioactive or hazardous chemical waste
** Non-contaminated applies to any material not having been in contact with biological cultures.

Waste Container Definitions

CONTAINERS FOR LAB WASTE

CONTAINER A : SQUARE - 12” WIDE X 12” DEEP X 27” HIGH

For Non-Recyclable Waste Lab Glass and Plastic, e.g. Plate Glass, Pyrex, Light Bulbs, Broken (empty) Chemical Containers; Sharps from Non-Culture Labs, e.g. Pipettes, Needles, Syringes, Slides, Cover Slips, Blades, Other Sharps- This cardboard box is placed on the floor and can be kept in a corridor or lab and will be removed by the janitor as needed. A new box will be placed by the janitor.

CONTAINER B : ROUND - 18” DIAMETER X 22” HIGH (20 GAL. CAPACITY)

For Recyclable Chemical Bottles and Plastic Containers - This 20 gallon rubber container has a lid with a slot cut out to accept bottles or other containers. Everything in this container will be recycled. All containers must be triple rinsed and completely free of residue with lids and caps removed. Janitor will empty when container is full.

CONTAINERS C : RECTANGULAR - 15” WIDE X 11” DEEP X 20” HIGH
C1: RECTANGULAR - 14” WIDE X 10” DEEP X 15” HIGH

For Regular Trash – Lab chooses the size(s) of container to meet its needs. These containers are made of rubber and provided with a plastic liner. Containers can be kept in the lab at desk or work area for disposal of regular trash. Janitor will remove the waste on a daily basis and replace the trash liner as necessary.

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FOR LABS USING BIOLOGICAL CULTURES

CONTAINER D : (SHARPS BOX WITH PLASTIC LINER) -
RECTANGULAR – 8” x 9”x16 HIGH” or 8’’x8’’x10 HIGH’’

For All Sharps and other Medical Waste – For benchtop or floor use. This cardboard container with plastic liner must be used for all sharps used in association with biological culture work, e.g. glass pipettes, needles, syringes, blades, slides, coverslips. Use this box also for other medical wastes, e.g. cultured stocks, plates and other disposables associated with culture work if it is large enough to accommodate such waste generated in the lab. If a larger container is needed for other medical wastes, then the standard medical waste box, described below is used. When full, Container D is sealed by lab occupants and placed inside the standard medical waste box, Container E.

CONTAINER E: ( STANDARD MEDICAL WASTE BOX WITH RED BAG LINER) - RECTANGULAR – 17” WIDE x 19” DEEP x 20” HIGH”

For Sharps Boxes and other Medical Waste - This cardboard box is generally placed on the floor. Filled sharps boxes, containers D, are placed in this box and it can also be used for other medical waste, e.g. cultured stocks, plates and other disposables associated with culture work. It is the responsibility of each lab to monitor the medical waste box and to seal the container when full. A janitor will remove the box upon request, or it can be placed in the corridor by lab occupants for pick up.

 

Animal Bedding Waste

This waste is picked up in a special vehicle by Princeton University Building Services personnel and is not to be mixed with other waste. All animal bedding is bagged by animal care personnel and placed in specially provided gray carts for movement to the pick-up location. Bags should be filled only to a depth and weight that will allow for effective tying of the bag by animal facility staff and for ease of handling by one person. For example, several partially-filled bags should be tied and placed in the gray carts rather than one or two full bags (bag weight should not exceed 40 pounds). This will help to prevent repetitive motion injury to staff and help to prevent bags from being ripped open while being handled.

The carts are maintained clean and in sanitary condition by the animal facility staff. Any spills of bedding when loading the truck are cleaned up by the Building Services trash crew.

Animal Carcasses

Freezers are provided in each animal facility for storage of carcasses that have been bagged and sealed. The frozen carcasses are picked up on a regular schedule for appropriate disposal by a contracted firm. Freezers are cleaned and defrosted as necessary by animal laboratory personnel to keep them in a sanitary condition.

Animal Waste from BSL2 Animal Room LTL 41

Rodents housed in this animal space are considered to be potentially infectious because, as part of the research protocol, they are infected with Biosafety Level 2 (BSL2) animal and/or human viruses. Animal bedding, carcasses, and tissue are placed in biohazard bags by the research staff. All animal bedding is autoclaved before being placed in medical waste boxes by animal care staff and disposed of in the medical waste stream. Bagged animal carcasses and tissue are placed in the provided storage freezer in room 41 and removed by animal care staff to medical waste boxes for pick-up by Building Services as part of the medical waste stream.

Patient Care Waste Disposal

All disposable wastes generated at McCosh Health Center from patient rooms and as part of direct patient care are considered potentially infectious and are disposed of in the medical waste stream. Syringes, needles, and other sharps are placed in the provided sharps containers which, when filled and sealed are placed in the provided medical waste box (with red bag liner). All other patient care wastes are placed in the medical waste box. When boxes are filled and sealed, they are removed by the custodial staff outside to the locked storage sheds for later pick-up by Building Services.

Patient care waste generated at other sites on campus by medical response personnel (i.e. Public Safety) are placed in biohazard bags and brought to McCosh Health Center for medical waste disposal or handled by responding EMS personnel.

A program is in place to ensure that needles and syringes generated as part of personal diabetes care will not be an exposure hazard to others. Collection containers are available from McCosh Health Center which, when filled are returned to the Health Center for proper disposal in the medical waste stream.

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Roles and Responsibilities

Department

  • Provide puncture proof needle/syringe disposal containers as needed.

Laboratory Manager/Supervisor

  • Ensure that all individuals generating waste are aware of and follow the prescribed waste disposal procedures.
  • Ensure that filled Medical Waste boxes and inserted containers are properly sealed and labeled.

Building Services

  • Provide medical waste boxes upon request.
  • Pick up properly sealed and labeled boxes of medical waste and transport boxes to central storage for pick-up by medical waste vendor.
  • Complete the manifest procedure with the contractor and maintain records mandated by NJ Regulated Medical Waste Rules.
  • Collect properly bagged animal bedding waste for landfill disposal.

EHS

  • Provide consultation and advise on medical waste handling and issues of regulatory compliance.

Individual

  • Handle waste categories as described above.

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For More Information

  • Contact the EHS Sanitarian at 258-5294 or Al King at 258-3490.
  • Refer to the EHS web page Chemical Waste Disposal Page
  • The following references are available through EHS:

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