Waste Management

There are many unique hazards associated with any waste that originates from a laboratory. Proper disposal of laboratory wastes is important for the health and safety of everyone in the University community and beyond.  A few basic guidelines are below. For a more in-depth look at laboratory waste management with much more detailed information, visit the Environmental Management website.

Solid waste

Solid waste is waste which is not regulated for special disposal and therefore can be placed in a standard dumpster for disposal. Solid waste is removed from the laboratory by Facilities Management & Planning staff at BU and Environmental Services at BMC.  Examples of solid waste include:

  1. Office waste – papers, plastics, and other non-contaminated trash. Office waste can be placed in a general trash receptacle.
  2. Glass waste – non-contaminated broken or whole glass, glass or plastic pipettes, pipette tips. Glass waste should be placed in a sturdy, cardboard box with top, lined with a plastic bag. The box should be clearly marked “Broken Glass – Trash”.
  3. Uncontaminated animal bedding. Uncontaminated animal bedding should be placed in a sturdy bag and sealed.
  4. Autoclaved biological material. After the material has been confirmed to be sterile, biohazardous labels should be removed and the material should be placed in a sturdy bag.

Universal waste

  1. Batteries.  Batteries may be collected in the laboratory’s hazardous waste area. Collect in a properly labeled plastic bag. Pickup can be arranged by completing the appropriate form.
  2. Fluorescent lamps.  Fluorescent lamps may be collected in the laboratory’s hazardous waste area. Do not place fluorescent lamps in the broken glass box. Collect in a properly labeled plastic bag or sturdy box.  Pickup can be arranged by completing the appropriate form.

Chemical waste

  1. Most chemical waste is regulated as hazardous waste. For assistance in making a waste determination, contact Environmental Health & Safety.
  2. Collect chemical waste in an appropriately labeled container within the laboratory’s hazardous waste satellite accumulation area (SAA). Pickup can be arranged by completing the appropriate form.

Biological and sharps waste

  1. Red bag waste – solid, non-sharp biohazardous waste which is not decontaminated before leaving the laboratory. On the Boston University Medical Campus (BUMC), red bag waste is removed daily by the custodians. On the Charles River Campus, red bag waste is removed weekly, by request. Fill out a Charles River Campus biowaste removal request online.
  2. Orange bag autoclave waste – solid, non-sharp biohazardous waste which is autoclaved by laboratory personnel prior to disposal as red bag waste or solid waste.
  3. Sharps waste – needles, syringes, razor blades, and other metal sharps, regardless of whether they are contaminated with biohazardous materials. Sharps waste must be placed in approved sharps containers.  On the Boston University Medical Campus (BUMC), the Laboratory Supervisor/Principal Investigator is responsible for providing sharps containers to the laboratory. On the Medical Campus, Facilities Management staff removes full sharps containers from laboratories. On the Charles River Campus, sharps containers are provided and removed on request. To fill out a Charles River Campus sharps request, complete Hazardous Waste Pickup Request form.

Mercury-Containing Chemicals and Equipment

Boston University discourages the use of mercury in chemicals or equipment anywhere on campus. Replacement non-mercury thermometers, barometers, manometers, and other basic equipment is available free of charge from Environmental Health & Safety. Contact EHS for more information.