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Biological Waste Disposal

Biological waste, as defined in the Virginia Tech Laboratory Hazardous Waste Student Manual, is laboratory generated waste that:

  • contains potentially hazardous biological material or has been in contact with such material
  • could be infectious
  • could be harmful to humans/plants/animals/the environment by introducing of recombinant material into natural organism and change:       
  • infectivity
  • antibiotic resistance
  • tumor forming capacity
  • environmental stability

Bio-waste must be handled separately from other kinds of waste. If you would like to utilize lab support for this service, these items can be taken to the autoclave rooms listed below. We can process solid biological waste, liquid biological waste, incinerator waste and sharps. Write the laboratory name on each waste container. Sharpies are kept in each room. Please follow the protocol below for each type of request.

Solid Bio-waste: Autoclave waste can be placed in trays below the signs that designate ‘Waste to be Autoclaved’. Items must be in an autoclavable bag with lab name. Do not overfill each bag, only filling 2/3 full. When tying/taping the bag closed, leave a 1” opening to assure appropriate steam penetration during the autoclave cycle. NO LIQUIDS OR CHEMICALS are to be placed in these containers. Each laboratory is responsible for the purchase of their own autoclave bags and personal Nalgene pans.

Liquid Bio-waste: Liquid bio-waste can be left in the same trays designated for ‘Waste to be Autoclaved’. Contents should be in either a lidded flask or other lidded rigid container and must include an attached completed liquid waste disposal form. See link below. This will include the date, lab name, total volume being disposed, as well as specific materials included in the waste, such as biological, antibiotic and chemical material. This form is required to accompany any liquid waste. It will not be processed without one. Do not put bleach in liquid bio-waste.

Incinerator Waste: Each of the below listed rooms have a box designated specifically for incinerator only waste. This is waste that will not be autoclaved and goes directly to RMW for incineration. Include lab name on each container and put directly into the ‘incinerate only’ box. Please contact EHS with any additional questions pertaining to incinerator waste.

Sharps Waste: Contaminated sharps can also be left in the autoclave waste trays. A biological sharp is anything that is potentially contaminated with a biohazard and would puncture an autoclave bag. These items must be in approved sharps containers, lid taped closed and must contain lab name. NO LIQUIDS OR CHEMICALS are to be placed in these containers, as they will be autoclaved for decontamination. EHS provides approved sharps containers.

Please reference the following chart pertaining to biological waste types and disposal procedures. A copy of this chart is also available in each of the below listed autoclave rooms. The required liquid waste disposal form is also listed below:


Locations you can leave biological waste:

2 Riverside Circle

1st floor 

Room R1091

2nd floor

Room R2096

3rd floor

Room R3016

4 Riverside Circle 

1st floor

Room R1302

Room R1402

2nd floor 

Room R2302

Room R2402


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  1. Thomas Wertalik

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