Reaching Others University at Buffalo - The State University of New York
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Biological Waste Disposal

This page provides basic information for generators and shippers of regulated medical waste (RMW). 

Note: This area is regulated by rules promulgated by NYS Department of Health (DOH) and enforced by the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). The information below is not intended to be complete nor address all of the regulatory requirements and safety issues associated with the handling of biohazardous material. For more detailed guidance, call EH&S or the Biological Safety Officer at 829-3301.

Generators of RMW should assure compliance with the following requirements:

  • All materials that have been in contact with agents potentially infectious to humans must be treated as Regulated Medical Waste. This includes materials that have been in contact with human blood, or blood products, infectious microorganisms, human tissues or cells, including primary cell cultures and cell lines unless known to be free of any adventitious agents.
  • All sharps (e.g. needles, razor blades, Pasteur pipettes, cover slips) that originate from a biomedical laboratory must be treated as RMW and disposed of in a leak proof, puncture resistant container.
  • All individual containers, receptacles, red bags and other RMW must have affixed to it a visible label or tag that identifies it as a biohazard and lists the name and address of the generator. NOTE: This applies to all separate red bags and sharps containers even if placed in a larger box or other container.
  • All RMW being transported to a central collection point must be placed in a leak proof container and transported in such a manner as to guard against accidental spillage.

RMW Coordinators should assure compliance with the following requirements:

  • The RMW must be stored in a locked room, with a sign on the exterior door showing the universal Biohazard Symbol and /or the words Biohazard and listing an emergency contact and phone number.
  • Prior to transport RMW must be placed in leak proof containers that are labeled with the word biohazard or the universal biohazard symbol. The container must be marked with:
    • The generator or intermediate handler’s name and address,
    • The transporter’s name and permit number.
    • The date of shipment and identification as medical waste.
  • Coordinators must assure that Medical Waste Tracking Forms (MWTFs) are generated for all shipments, and correctly completed.
  • Shipper shall retain the initial generator copy for 3 years.
  • The shipper shall assure that the copy from the destination facility is received in 35 days and retained for three years.