Connecticut College manages biological and potentially biohazardous waste in accordance with R.C.S.A. § 22a-209-1 of the Connecticut State Regulations.

Follow this link to the Connecticut College Bloodborne Pathogens Plan.


Biohazardous Waste

Includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Cultures and stocks of infectious agents from research laboratories.
  • Wastes from the production of bacteria, viruses or spores used in research.
  • Petrie or culture dishes and devices used to transfer, inoculate, incubate or mix cultures.
  • Contaminated gloves, bench paper, pipette tips, centrifuge tubes, and other disposable supplies.
  • Animal parts, tissues, fluids, or carcasses.
  • Waste containing discarded materials contaminated with excretion, exudate, or secretions from humans or animals required to be isolated for the protection of others from communicable diseases.
  • Recombinant DNA in vitro or in vivo.
  • Any genetically modified organism (GMO) or genetically engineered organism (GEO).
  • Select Agents.
  • Human blood and blood products -
    • All human blood, blood products (such as serum, plasma, and other blood components) in liquid or semi-liquid form. Items contaminated with blood that, if compressed, would release blood in a liquid or semi-liquid form, or items caked with dried blood capable of being released during handling. Other body fluids or tissues containing visible blood
  • Human Body Fluids –
    • Human body fluids in a liquid or semi-liquid state, such as semen, vaginal secretions, or any other human body fluids visibly contaminated with blood.
  • Pathological waste -
    • All human tissues, organs, and body parts, including waste biopsy materials, tissues, and anatomical parts from surgery and procedures. Any unfixed human tissue, except skin.
  • Laboratory or medical sharps associated with any of the above –
    • A biohazardous sharp is any device that is sharp enough to puncture the skin and that is contaminated with a biological material that is an infectious disease transmission risk, or an environmental release risk (i.e., recombinant DNA). Examples include but are not limited to:

      - Needles
      - Disposable syringes
      - Capillary tubes
      - Scalpels or razor blades contaminated with human or animal blood
      - Microscope slides contaminated with unfixed human or animal specimen materials
      - Pasteur pipettes contaminated with cell culture waste media
      - Broken tubes of blood or microbiological cultures

Biohazardous wastes may be generated, stored and/or handled at the following locations:

Warnshuis Student Health Center
  • Regulated Medical Waste, including blood, blood products or other bodily fluids (excluding vomitus, urine or feces).
  • Grossly contaminated medical waste materials (gauze, dressings, pads, etc.) that contain blood or bodily fluids.
  • Pathological waste, including, tissues, products of conception, and fluids removed by trauma or other medical procedure.
New London Hall (Biology and Botany Departments)
  • Wastes generated in recombinant DNA research.
  • Non-infectious, preserved and unpreserved, animal carcasses and body parts.
  • Cell and tissue culture wastes.
  • Contaminated laboratory solid waste, including sharps.

Bill Hall (Neuroscience Department)

  • Non-infectious, preserved and unpreserved, animal carcasses and body parts.
  • Contaminated laboratory solid waste, including sharps.

Custodial Services (Campus-wide)

There is a dedicated Blood-Borne Spill Team” made up of trained custodial employees, who respond to accident locations to clean and disinfect potentially infectious blood spills. Click here for a link to the Connecticut College Blood-borne Pathogens Plan.

Biohazard Waste Storage Facility

The central storage area for all waste discussed in this policy, is the Biohazardous Waste Storage Facility, located in the basement of the Warnshuis Student Health Center (The “Infirmary”). It contains a chest freezer, and shelving with impervious surfaces. The Director of Environmental Health and Safety, the Director of Student Health Services and the Supervisor of Grounds maintain keys to this storage facility.


Autoclaves use high temperatures and pressure to inactivate biologically active material to ensure it is non-viable prior to waste disposal. See below for directions on how to safely operate the autoclave. If you still have questions or need help, contact the Director of EH&S at x-2252. For maintenance issues, contact Physical Plant at x-2253, or by e-mail at

Before use:

  • Ensure no items have been left by previous users, especially sharps or other items that could pose a hazard.
  • Clean the strainer before loading the autoclave.
  • Ensure the material to be autoclaved does not contain any hazardous or radioactive material.
  • Loosen bottle caps before loading to prevent them from shattering; fill liquid containers only 3/4 full to prevent overflow; ensure containers are free of cracks.
  • Ensure any plastic materials are compatible with the autoclave, so that they maintain their integrity with autoclave temperatures and pressure.
  • Place solids into a labeled "autoclave bag"; ensure that solids have at least 100 ml of liquid present with the load to effectively sterilize them.
  • Place a metal drip pan underneath items to catch spills.
  • Place autoclave indicator tape on every item autoclaved and check the tape to see if a color change has occurred after the run is complete. The indicator tape confirms that the run achieved the proper temperature and pressure to inactivate biological material.
  • Close the autoclave door before using.

During use:

  • Autoclave when there are fewer people around to minimize odor complaints.
  • Set the proper time and temperature. Liquids and solids should be autoclaved for 60 minutes at 121 degrees C. Never autoclave waste at temperatures over 130 degrees C.

After use:

  • Use thermal protective gloves, apron, and face shield to protect against heat.
  • Handle carefully: liquids can "bump" or suddenly erupt and spill when the container is moved.
  • Use the drip pan when removing the bags to avoid spills.
  • Clean up all spilled liquid inside or outside the autoclave. If over a liter, obtain a spill kit from one
  • of the labs. Spill kits contain absorbent material that will assist in the cleanup.
  • Clean the filters/traps using tap water. Traps are located on the floor of the autoclave.

Only personnel who have received training regarding the operation of the autoclave should use this equipment.


Regulated Medical Waste

Staff in the Student Health Center collect and store medical waste in a storage closet on the first floor of the Warnshuis Student Health Center. At the end of each semester (or when necessary), staff will transport the waste (sharps containers and red bags) to the Biohazard Waste Storage Facility in the basement. Sharps containers are placed on the shelves, and red bags are placed in the chest freezer.

Laboratory Biohazardous Waste


Liquid biohazardous wastes may be treated and disposed of by either of the following methods:

1. Chemical treatment of liquids with disinfectant; disposal via lab sink – Disinfectants may be used for “treatment” of liquid biological waste to prohibit growth of microorganisms. Add household bleach to the collection vessel so that the bleach makes 10% to 15% of the final volume. Allow a contact time of at least 30 minutes. Carefully discharge the mixture to the sanitary sewer by way of the lab sink, then thoroughly rinse the sink with water, or

2. Autoclave treatment of liquids; disposal via lab sink – Place the closed collection vessel in a secondary container and transport by cart to the autoclave facilities. Treat by autoclave using the liquids cycle. (Remember to loosen or remove the closure on the vessel before placing in autoclave.) Discharge cooled, treated liquids to the sanitary sewer by way of the lab sink.

Safety Notes:

(1) NEVER autoclave liquids containing bleach or chemical disinfectants.
(2) ALWAYS Wear splash goggles and gloves when using chemical disinfectants.

Solid Waste:

Petrie or culture dishes that have contained or have been in contact with biohazardous materials, contaminated gloves, bench paper, pipette tips, centrifuge tubes, and other disposable supplies, should be collected and stored in the lab in a leak-proof red or orange “BIOHAZARD” bag, within a secondary receptacle until it is inactivated or sterilized.

Once autoclaved, the orange bag should be placed in the covered container in the autoclave room, pending transport to the Biohazard Waste Storage Facility. Notify the Director of EH&S by calling x-2252 or by e-mail that a biohazard waste pick-up is needed. If the Director of EH&S is unavailable, the alternate is the Supervisor of Grounds, who can be requested by calling Physical Plant at x-2253, or e-mail at: DO NOT place autoclaved biohazard bags in the 180-Day “Hazardous Waste” storage facility.

Laboratory and Medical Sharps:

Discarded and/or contaminated needles and syringes must be placed in an approved biohazardous sharps container. Biohazardous sharps containers are those containers which are specifically designed for the collection and disposal of biohazardous or medical sharps. (Recycled food or reagent containers are NOT acceptable for collection and disposal of biohazardous sharps!)
A biohazardous sharps container is:

  • constructed of puncture-resistant material,leak-proof on the sides and bottom,
  • marked with the biohazard symbol, and
  • has a restricted opening to prevent items from coming back out of the container, and to prevent someone from sticking their hand inside.

All sharps containers must be permanently closed and disposed of when 3/4 full, or whenever items do not freely fall into the container. Disposal of biohazardous sharps containers will be accomplished through a medical waste disposal contractor coordinated through EH&S. As with sterilized waste bags, contact the Director of EH&S at x-2252 or e-mail for a sharps container pick-up.

Safety Notes:

(1) Do not recap needles.
(2) Do not bend or break sharp devices.
(3) Do not overfill sharps containers or use force to get an item into a sharps container.

Broken Laboratory Glass:

If broken glass is biologically contaminated, it must be managed as a biohazardous sharp for disposal. In some instances however, the broken glass will not fit in a sharps container. If this happens, call the Director of EH&S at x-2252 for assistance.

Broken glass that is not contaminated with a biohazardous material should be placed in a suitable puncture-resistant container for disposal. (Do not discard broken glass into the regular trash!) Disposable broken glass boxes can be requested through Custodial Services by calling x-2253 or e-mail at

Mixed Wastes:

Some lab analyses may involve treatment or exposure of biological materials to chemical compounds or radioactive materials. Examples may include radioisotope labeling of genetic material in culture or cells, or exposure of cells or research animals to carcinogens or diagnostic processes involving radiation hazards. In these situations, mixed wastes are likely to be produced that will require special consideration for collection, handling and disposal. Biohazardous waste treatment and disposal techniques alone are not likely to be suitable for these “mixed” wastes. Use the formulas below to determine the appropriate waste stream.

Biological + Radiation = Radiation Waste
Biological + Hazardous Chemical = Chemical (Hazardous) Waste

To ensure that waste is properly managed, contact the Director of EH&S in advance when planning studies that will generate “mixed wastes”.


Releases of small quantities of biohazardous material in the laboratory should be cleaned and disinfected by lab personnel, so long as the hazards are known, and appropriate precautions are used. If a biohazardous or blood borne spill occurs outside of the laboratory, a member of the trained Blood-Borne Pathogens Spill Team will respond.

Spill response procedures include:

  • Ensure proper personal protective equipment is use;
  • Eliminate or stop the source of the spill;
  • Prevent the spilled material from spreading;
  • Disinfect and absorb the spilled material;
  • Dispose of contaminated debris and PPE in designated waste containers;
  • Transport the biohazard bag containing the spill clean-up materials to the Biohazard Waste Storage Facility in the basement of the Infirmary; and
  • Report the spill to the Occupational Health & Wellness Manager at x-2793.
All biohazardous and/or pathological wastes will be periodically disposed through a licensed medical waste contractor. When preparing waste for shipment, the Director of EH&S will package waste as follows:
  • Unfold and tape cardboard boxes provided by the vendor. These boxes are labeled “BIOHAZARD – REGULATED MEDICAL WASTE”.
  • Line the box with a red, biohazard waste bag provided by the vendor.
  • Taking care not to exceed 25 lbs. per box, fill them with medical and laboratory waste bags and pails from the freezer and shelves in the Biohazard Waste Storage Facility.
  • Tie off the red bag.
  • Date and affix the “Biohazardous Shipping Label” that includes "Generator", “Transporter”, and “Disposal Facility” information to the bag.
  • Tape the box closed.
  • Affix a second Biohazardous Shipping Label to the outside of the box.
  • When the vendor arrives, a third shipping shipping label will be affixed to the box.
  • Ensure that the vendor properly records the number and weight of boxes on the medical waste shipping document.


Once a year, the Director of EH&S will send a letter to the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, reporting the quantity of biohazardous (medical, pathological and laboratory) waste shipped for disposal during the preceding year. This report also includes information regarding the disposal contractor, transporter(s), and the destination facility.