Special Cleaning of Laboratories

Custodial staff are instructed not to enter laboratories with the biohazardous symbol posted on the door. Laboratories with the biohazardous symbol on objects inside the lab, but not on the door, will receive service. The objects and/or trash labeled with the symbol will not be cleaned or collected.

Any BL-3 laboratories that wish to arrange for a special custodial cleaning must contact Environmental Health and Safety and the Custodial Manager. Custodians will only collect biohazardous waste that has been properly autoclaved and packaged. Any items improperly disposed of in the regular waste or not packaged properly will be left and tagged with an improper disposal notice for lab occupants to correct.

Biohazardous Waste Disposal

All infectious materials and their containers must be autoclaved before they are discarded with regular waste. The autoclave tape must be black striped before it is considered safe and picked up by custodians.

Below are examples of regular waste items, sharps, and laboratory glassware and descriptions of how they are handled. Click here for additional information about sharps, laboratory glass and plastic waste.

The “Packaging Sharps and Lab Glass Waste” poster is available for download! Print in color and display in your lab for guidance on packaging sharps and lab glass and plastic waste.

Regular Waste Regular waste items can be deposited in regular trash receptacles. Cups, flasks, and Petri dishes should be rinsed and/or free of materials. Any caps should be removed.
Examples: plastic urine-sample cups, flexible plastic Pasteur pipettes, plastic centrifuge tubes, plastic Petri dishes, tissue-culture flasks, and other small plastic tubes

Sharps Waste Sharps are a restricted waste according to state and local regulators and must not be disposed of in the regular waste stream. The term “sharps” is a regulatory waste classification associated with any instruments used to puncture, cut, or scrape body parts and that, as waste, can cause punctures or cuts to solid waste handlers or the public. This is interpreted to mean that any instrument that looks like it is meant to be used in this manner must be disposed of as sharps waste.

All sharps containers must be decontaminated prior to disposal regardless of whether the items are contaminated with biohazardous material. Refer to the Biohazardous Waste Flow Chart for your location for treatment and disposal information. Remember that sharps waste must be kept separate from other waste streams at all times.

Health Sciences Building Sharps waste in Magnuson Health Sciences Building must be kept in red containers labeled “Sharps” and must be autoclaved and showing black striped tape before being placed next to (not in) the regular waste containers. If autoclaved and placed next to regular waste container, custodians will pick them up and dispose of them in the designated Sharps container at the loading dock.

• Main Campus, Off-campus. Sharps waste in main campus and off-campus facilities must be kept in red containers labeled “Sharps,” but are not autoclaved and are not handled by custodians. Refer to the Biohazardous Waste Flow Chart for your location for treatment and disposal information. Or visit Laboratory Services web page on Biohazardous/Regulate waste disposal and vendor collection set up.

Laboratory Glassware. . Laboratory glassware—broken and unbroken—must be boxed, taped securely, and labeled “Laboratory Glassware” before being placed by the regular waste containers. Weight limit is 25 lbs. Examples: serological pipettes, glass tubes, scintillation vials, glass slides and cover slips, and plastic pipette tips.

Additional information and procedures for safe disposal of sharps and lab glass are available on the Environmental Health & Safety Sharps and Laboratory Glass page.

If you have any additional questions, please contact EH&S Research and Occupational Safety at ehsbio@uw.edu or 206.221.7770.