Infectious/Biohazardous Waste

Waste Pickup

To schedule your lab for infectious waste pickup, you must first email Distribution Services or call 215-573-4677. Principal investigators (P.I.s) or lab managers are responsible for completing the registration form, and the P.I. must be briefed on the infectious waste management process. A particular day or days for waste pickup can be specified to meet the lab's needs.

For more detailed information concerning infectious waste management, please refer to the EHRS website or call EHRS at 215-898-4453.

Types of Waste Containers

Infectious/Biohazardous Waste

These containers are used strictly as satellite accumulation receptacles to dispose of decontaminated, autoclaved infectious waste. SPO provides the 55-gallon, leakproof, plastic-lidded containers marked "Infectious Waste," along with the red bag liners that go in them, at no cost. Infectious waste containers must be placed near an autoclave. This is the only place where SPO staff will collect materials for removal. 


These containers are used to discard of all needles, syringes, and other contaminated sharps. Visit the EHRS website for the definition of infectious waste sharps.

Each lab is responsible for purchasing its own sharps containers and autoclave bags from its medical supplier. Containers must be nonbreakable, leakproof, autoclavable, impervious to moisture, rigid, tightly lidded, puncture resistant, red in color, and marked with the universal biohazard symbol.

For more specific information about sharps containers and disposal, see the EHRS laboratory sharps waste management procedure.  Alternatively, labs may contract with Curtis Bay for recyclable sharps management at their own expense.

NOTE: Infectious waste containers are NOT appropriate for the disposal of infectious or contaminated sharps. Used syringes and needles MUST be disposed of in infectious waste sharps containers. Inappropriately discarded syringes pose a hazard to both Penn personnel and Stericycle employees. 

Laboratory Glassware & Plasticware

Buckets are used to dispose of lab glass and plasticware, such as noninfectious pipettes, empty bottles, broken glassware and noninfectious sharp objects that have the potential to penetrate regular trash bags. SPO provides 5-gallon plastic buckets for this purpose at no cost. These containers help ensure that there are no glass or sharp objects in the regular trash and help prevent potential injuries to housekeepers. 

For complete policy information on lab glass and plasticware disposal, visit the EHRS website.