Last Revised: September 30, 2022
EHRS is responsible for the development and implementation of safe and effective management practices for all waste categorized as "infectious" by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. Our goal is to manage the handling, sorting, storage, and disposal of all infectious waste generated at the University of Pennsylvania in a safe, environmentally sound manner that complies with all relevant regulations.
General Biohazardous Waste Guidelines for the University:
The use of Biohazard Burn-up Boxes is prohibited at Penn!
These boxes are challenging to dispose of. The cardboard is inappropriate to be used in tissue culture rooms. See below of other options to dispose of biohazard waste.
- ALL syringes (with and without the needle attached), razor blades, and scalpels MUST always be discarded in a puncture resistant and leakproof sharps container, regardless of use.
Other sharps waste that has come in contact with infectious, human, or recombinant material MUST be discarded in a puncture resistant and leakproof sharps container. Sharps include anything that could potentially puncture a bag:
- Needles & syringes
- Razor blades
- Pasteur pipettes
- Serological pipettes
- Pipette Tips
- Other pointed devices
Sharps waste that has NOT come in contact with infectious, human, or recombinant material MUST be discarded in a glass/plastic waste cardboard box lined with a heavy weight liner.
Click on diagram below to enlarge guidance on Proper Disposal of Sharp Objects
Other Biohazardous Waste
Biohazardous "soft waste" must be discarded in red/orange biohazard bags. "Soft waste" includes:
- Tissue culture flasks
- Centrifuge tubes
- Other non-sharps material that has come in contact with infectious, human, or recombinant material
Infectious waste autoclave bags, red bags, sharps containers, and anything else with the universal biohazard symbol affixed to it DOES NOT belong in General Trash or Recycling under any circumstances! (See the FRES Waste Management and Recycling page for appropriate Lab Waste recycling guidance)
CLICK on the posters below for a printable pdf.
See Section 8 of the Biosafety Manual for more on infectious waste management and procedures.