Biohazardous Waste Management

Biomedical waste consists of all biological, pathological and infectious wastes. At Georgetown waste is segregated into red bag and orange bag waste.

This includes:

  1. Anatomical Material: Human or animal body parts including tissues and organs or whole animal carcasses (except those containing radioactive materials).
  2. Blood: Human or animal, whole or blood components.
  3. Blood-soiled Articles: Any article that contains blood in any form as a result of contact with blood.
  4. Sharps: Syringes, needles, surgical instruments such as scalpels, razor blades or other articles which have cut or punctured human skin or have come in contact with an infectious agent. Any sharps contaminated with radioactive material should go through the radioactive waste stream.
  5. Unused cultures and stocks of infectious agents.
  6. Biologically Contaminated Laboratory Materials: Any article that is contaminated with or has come in contact with a pathogenic or infectious organism such as petri dishes, glassware, etc. This category includes microbiological cultures, clinical specimens, and contaminated animal bedding.

Red Bag Waste

Red Bag waste is: Pathological/anatomical/chemotherapeutic waste that must be disposed of in red biohazard waste bags.

Red bag waste is received by EH&S in room WG-01 TRB, on the second and fourth Wednesday of every month from 2:00-2:30 p.m. 


  1. Liquids are not permitted in red bags. Liquids must be decontaminated with a 10% bleach solution for 20 minutes and can be poured down the drain.
  2. Red bag waste must be stored in a leak proof container with a closable lid and have the biohazard label affixed until collection day.
  3. When transporting waste, ensure that waste bags are contained within container or cart with a lip to prevent spills.

Orange Bag waste – Autoclave waste

Autoclaved wastes are wastes that are treated with high heat steam sterilization. These lab materials are wastes that have come into contact with potentially infectious and biohazardous materials.


  1. Use only Orange autoclave bags
  2. Fill the autoclave bag no more than 3/4 full
  3. Do not close bag tightly. Allow enough room at the opening for steam to enter and escape the bag
  4. Always use autoclave indicator tape
  5. Always place bags in an autoclave approved tray with 4” sides
  6. Never place sharps in the autoclave (Sharps must be taken to WG-01 The Research Building, the fourth Wednesday of every month from 2:00-2:30pm for disposal)
  7. Do not autoclave animal carcasses or body parts (these bags must be bagged and returned to the RRF)
  8. Do not autoclave pathological/anatomical waste (These materials must be placed in a red bag- See Red Bag Waste section above)
  9. To sterilize regulated waste materials, run the autoclave cycle for at least 45 minutes at 121C, with a drying cycle time of 15 minutes
  10. Promptly remove the bag following the completion
  11. Inspect for complete sterilization, leakage, or protruding objects (i.e. pipettes). If bag integrity has failed, place into another orange autoclave bag.
  12. Place the Orange autoclave bag inside the gray trash container lined with a clear plastic bag
  13. If the gray trash container is full, call the Facilities Work Management Center (202-687-3432)