Red Bag/Medical Waste

Regulated Medical Waste, also known as “Red Bag” waste, consists of the following wastes types:

  • Sharps and Biohazard Glassware- includes syringe needles and sharps (razor or scalpel blades), pipettes, pipette tips, microscope slides, and other glass or plastic items that have been exposed to potentially infectious biological materials or biological agents. 
  • Preserved Animal Carcasses.
  • Non-Preserved Animal Carcasses.
  • Infectious Biological Material- includes blood and blood products, cultures and culture stocks.

Due to the potential for these wastes to be contaminated with infectious materials and/or biological agents, the NYSDEC strictly regulates the storage and disposal of Regulated Medical Waste.

All Regulated Medical Waste must be stored in specially designated red containers as discussed in the following section.  These containers are supplied by University EH&S.  Each is specially designed to meet NYSDEC requirements and therefore substitutes are not to be used. Download the Sharps and Laboratory Glass Disposal PDF.

All containers must be stored in an area that meets all of the following requirements:

  • The area is designated for storage and is labeled with the word “Biohazard” or the universal biohazard symbol;
  • The area is ventilated; and,
  • The area is in a location that minimizes exposure to the public and is accessible only to authorized faculty and staff.

Prior to final disposal, autoclavable bags and sharps containers are overpacked into pre-marked cardboard boxes that are provided by the University’s Medical Waste Disposal Company.

Caution must be used in the collection of Regulated Medical Waste.  If regular trash is mixed with untreated medical waste (i.e., not treated in an autoclave), the combined waste must be managed as Regulated Medical Waste.  If hazardous waste or radioactive waste is mixed with untreated Regulated Medical Waste, the combined waste must be managed as a hazardous waste or radioactive waste, respectively.

Finally, all staff or faculty with responsibility for managing Regulated Medical Waste must be trained in the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administrations (OSHA) Bloodborne Pathogen regulations.