Biohazardous waste policies are followed, chemical treatment or autoclaving

A method for decontaminating all laboratory wastes should be available in the facility (e.g., autoclave, chemical disinfection, incineration, or other validated decontamination method).

It is the responsibility of the generating department to decontaminate all solid non-sharps biohazardous waste and all liquid biohazardous waste. The EHS is responsible for the removal and proper treatment of sharps waste.


  • NIH Guidelines for Research Involving Recombinant or Synthetic Nucleic Acid Molecules. April 2019. Section IV-B-7-d-(1), (2) and Appendix G.
  • Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories. HHS Publication No. (CDC) 21- 1112, 5th Edition.
  • MSU Biosafety Manual
  • MSU Bloodborne Exposure Control Plan
  • MSU Waste Disposal Guidance
  • MSU Biohazardous Waste Management Plan

Corrective actions:

Select appropriate method of decontamination.

If using autoclaving:

Solid waste should be autoclaved in approved orange biohazard bags with a heat sensitive "Autoclaved" indicator and placed in a secondary container.

Liquid waste should be autoclaved in container where originally produced if heat resistant or transferred to a heat resistant container for autoclavation (for example laboratory glassware). The containers should be capped with aluminum foil or have the caps loosely attached. All bottles/containers must be placed in secondary containers.

Use caution to transport waste from the laboratory to the autoclave room. The use of a cart for transportation is strongly recommended.

  • Prior to autoclaving, a biohazard bag containing waste must be kept closed to prevent airborne contamination and nuisance odors. However, when autoclaving, the bag must be open to allow the steam to penetrate.
  • Follow the guidelines set by the posted autoclave parameter signs when setting the cycle time.
  • Add one cup of water to each bag of solid waste and keep the bags open. Steam cannot penetrate closed bags.
  • To prevent spills and accidents, be sure that the exhaust setting is appropriate for the type of material you are autoclaving. Fast exhaust should be used for solid items and solid waste and slow exhaust for liquids and liquid waste.
  • After the cycle is complete, let the bag cool before removing it from the autoclave.
  • Securely close the orange autoclave bag.
  • Place treated autoclave bags into opaque black bags and close them securely before disposing.

If using liquid chemical disinfection

The appropriate liquid disinfectant should be chosen after carefully assessing the biohazardous agent and the type of material to be decontaminated. Liquid disinfectants are preferably used for solid surfaces and equipment.

Never autoclave disinfected liquid waste.