Quick Reminders about Waste Segregation and Disposal

Recently, EHSO received reports of incorrect waste disposal and recycling practices.  The reports included instances of improper glove disposal, improper disposal of unused lab supplies, improper storage of autoclaved waste, and improper disposal of UV lamps.

Improper disposal of unused biohazard bag into plastic recycling bin


Improper disposal of used glove into plastic recycling bin

Additionally, here are a few quick reminders on how you should segregate and dispose of your lab’s waste.To facilitate sorting of materials into the proper waste stream, review the EHSO Chemical Waste Guidelines and the Emory University Biosafety Manual.  The Emory University Biosafety Manual [http://www.ehso.emory.edu/documents/saf-310-emory-university-biosafety-manual.pdf] provides guidance on how to dispose of biohazardous waste, glass, and sharps.  The Emory University Chemical Waste Guidelines [http://www.ehso.emory.edu/content-guidelines/GuidelinesforChemicalWasteDisposal.pdf] provides guidance on disposal of chemical waste and universal waste.

Plastic Bins:  Use this bin for items such as empty plastic containers, empty pipette tip boxes, plastic bags, Ziploc bags.

  • Medical waste – Always dispose of regulated materials in the same manner, even if it is unused. For example, used/unused biohazard bags, used/unused disposable gloves, used/unused lab supplies (pipette tips, serological pipettes, vials, conical tubes, culture dishes, Eppendorf tubes, etc.) must be placed inside of your Stericycle box.  These items cannot be recycled.
  • Sharps – All sharps (razor blades, needles, syringes, Pasteur Pipettes, scalpels, microtome blades, etc.) must be placed into the sharps container. Once 3/4th full, the sharps container must be taped closed and disposed of according to your Department procedures.
  • Chemicals – If the plastic container once held a chemical or a chemical solution, then it must be tripled rinsed, defaced (labels and hazard symbols “marked” out), and disposed into the nearest plastic recycling bin.

Glass Bins:  Labs should have a glass box to use for the disposal of broken glass, clean glassware, fixed microscope slides, and triple-rinsed chemical bottles.   Once the glass box is 3/4th full, tape it closed, and place in the hallway.  Contact your facility manager to get instructions on how the bin should be disposed of.

P-Listed Chemicals: Some common P-Listed chemicals include sodium azide, osmium tetroxide, carbon disulfide, and epinephrine.  Once the container of a P-listed chemical is empty, you must submit a chemical waste pickup request at ehso.emory.edu.  Treat any residue in the empty container as chemical waste and do not triple rinse the containers.

Universal Waste:  Items such as batteries, aerosol cans, fluorescent bulbs, and UV lamps can be given to EHSO as chemical waste.  Submit a chemical waste pickup request at ehso.emory.edu

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