Infectious waste may also be referred to as medical or biohazardous waste. This waste is material that was used in healthcare or research. According to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), infectious waste includes:
- Sharps — any waste that may cause a puncture or cut such as needles and syringes, razor blades, scalpels, Pasteur pipettes, pipette tips
- Microbiological specimens — culture dishes, vaccines and other waste that has been exposed to human pathogenic agents
- Blood and blood products — unabsorbed blood or blood products, or absorbed blood when the absorbent is supersaturated (drips when squeezed)
- Pathological waste — parts removed from the human body (unless preserved by a preserving agent) and certain body fluids
- Contaminated animal waste — parts, bodies and bedding of animals exposed to human pathogens
- Other waste — any other waste designated as infectious or any material that has come in contact with infectious waste
USC Waste Policies
According to USC policy, infectious waste more specifically also includes biological agents (viral and bacterial cultures, human cells lines, tissue samples, organs, blood and blood products, vaccines) used in research laboratories and other waste generated during the manipulation of these biological agents (media, serum, agar, consumables, gloves, etc).
Sharps must be disposed immediately or as soon as possible after use in a puncture-resistant, labeled or color-coded, leak-proof biohazard sharps container.
Liquid Infectious Waste
Liquid infectious waste must be decontaminated prior to disposal by either using an appropriate disinfectant (preferred for larger volumes) or autoclaving (only for smaller volumes).
Solid Infectious Waste
Solid infectious waste must be collected in a biohazard autoclave bag and decontaminated by autoclaving prior to disposal in the larger biohazard waste containers stored in the autoclave rooms for pickup. Infectious waste autoclave bags (red or orange bags), biohazard sharps containers, and any other materials labeled with a biohazard symbol must never be discarded in the general trash.
For additional guidance, please review the USC Biological and Infectious Waste Management Plan [pdf].
Infectious Waste Pickups & Contacts
Environmental Health and Safety assists to coordinate the handling, storage and disposal of all infectious waste generated at the University of South Carolina in a safe manner and in compliance with applicable regulations. All biological waste on the Columbia campus is picked up every Tuesday. If you need to request an additional pickup or have issues with improper collection or disposal of infectious waste in the autoclave rooms, please contact David Estey at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 803-576-6808.
Question about waste or disposal?
If you have questions regarding proper disposal of a specific type of biological or
infectious waste, please contact Mark Robbins at email@example.com or 803-777-4042.