EH&S is responsible for overseeing general University compliance with the Biowaste Program; helping Campus Departments understand their responsibilities and assisting them in attaining program compliance; posting signs, stickers and notices; and keeping records.Your cooperation is required and appreciated in implementing this policy and program. 

Waste generator is responsible for identifying infectious and non-infectious biological waste that they use or make,  for collecting/managing the waste in accordance with these procedures. If biological waste or sharps are contaminated with radioactive material, Stop. Do not autoclave. Contact EH&S Radiation Safety at 303-492-6523 for proper procedures.


(for purposes of CU Boulder EH&S Policy & Procedures)

Biological Waste (Infectious & Non-Infectious)

Cultures, plates, media and other liquid or solid materials generated by Campus research and teaching laboratories, that contain or come in contact with living cells, body fluids, viruses, clinical materials, and other microorganisms.

Infectious Waste

Biological waste that involves the presence of organisms containing recombinant DNA or any other organisms hazardous to human or animal health, including pathogens of sufficient virulence and quantity that exposure to the waste by a susceptible host could result in an infectious disease.


Plates, slides, culture vessels, and other biological or biomedical appearing materials generated by Campus laboratories, that do not meet the criteria of “infectious” (as defined above) or have been rendered non-infectious by chemical disinfection or autoclaving.

Waste Generator & Autoclave Operator Responsibilities

Non-Biohazardous Waste Tags are available from EH&S. To request tags call 303-492-6025 or email Non-Biohazardous Waste Tags are to be completed as described below and attached to each autoclave bag. Bags that do not have a completed, signed Non-Biohazardous Waste Certification tag attached will be considered “infectious” and will not be picked up for disposal. They will be left in a red “Biohazardous Waste'' tub (next to the Certified Non-Biohazardous Materials receptacle) for the Generating department to properly autoclave and tag.


  1. Determine if the waste is infectious. Render all infectious waste non-infectious using effective chemical disinfection methods or by autoclaving. Non-infectious liquid waste may be drain-disposed if it contains no other regulated chemicals or radioactive materials. If in doubt, be conservative and autoclave or chemically treat all non-radioactive biological waste or consult with EH&S Hazardous Materials and Waste Management Unit at 303-492-7845.

  2. Place infectious waste that has not been chemically disinfected into non-leaking, heat resistant autoclave bags which have built-in sterilization indicators. Complete applicable portions (Department, PI, Room Number, Waste Volume, Contents) of a Non-Biohazardous Waste Tags, check the “Autoclave” box and attach all three tag copies to the bag. Bring the bag of biohazardous waste to your designated autoclave area.

  3. Sharps are not to be disposed of through this program. Sharps are handled through the hazardous (chemical) material/waste program. Biomedically appearing sharps (needles, syringes, blades, scalpels) whether they are chemically contaminated or not, must be placed in puncture-proof, sealed containers (no plastic or autoclave bags) and tagged for hazardous material/waste pick-up.

  4. Infectious sharps must be rendered non-infectious prior to submission of the hazardous material/waste tag. Chemical disinfection is not effective for needles and small syringes. These types of infectious sharps must be autoclaved using a puncture- proof container that contains a built-in sterilization indicator or place autoclave tape on the container. The tape is preferred because on containers with built-in sterilization indicators the change is often not visible. Make sure that the container is not completely sealed during autoclaving so that sharps won’t puncture it due to the heat and pressure. Once the container has been autoclaved, make sure the autoclave indicator has changed to show that the sharps have been rendered non-infectious. Re-seal the container.

  5. Seal biologically appearing non-infectious waste (no sharps) inside a non-leaking autoclave bag, and complete and sign a non-biohazardous waste tag as described below, checking the box that indicates the material inside the bag is non-biohazardous. Attach the 3-part biowaste tag to the bag, remove the top (white) copy and put it in the designated pocket posted in the area near the autoclave. Leave the other two copies of the tag attached to the bag (canary and bottom manila card) and place the bag into a designated “Certified Non-biohazardous Materials” receptacle. There is no need to autoclave or chemically disinfect this waste.

  6. Seal chemically disinfected solid biowaste (no sharps) inside a non-leaking autoclave bag and complete and sign a non-biohazardous waste tag as described below, indicating that the material inside the bag has been rendered non-infectious by chemical treatment. Attach the tag to the bag and put the top (white) copy into the designated pocket. Place the bag into a designated “Certified Non-biohazardous Materials” receptacle.