Old Dominion University
A to Z Index  |  Directories

Office of Environmental Health and Safety



News & Events

Regulated Medical Waste 

Regulated Medical Waste (RMW) is material that may be contaminated with blood, bodily fluids, or other infectious materials.  RMW may also be referred to as "biohazardous" or "infectious waste".  RMW must be properly handled and disposed of in order to minimize the risk of transmitting infection or endangering human health.

  • Anatomical Material: Human or animal body parts including tissues and organs or whole animal carcasses..
  • Blood: Human or animal, whole or blood components.
  • Blood-soiled Articles: Any article that contains blood in any form as a result of contact with blood.
  • Sharps: Syringe, needle, surgical instrument or other article which has cut or punctured human skin or has come in contact with an infectious agent.
  • Unused cultures and stocks of infectious agents.
  • 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.

All Regulated Medical Waste must be either treated and disposed of as solid waste through Autoclave Key personnel or consigned to Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) for incineration by a local vendor.

Any questions/comments about Regulated Medical Waste, please contact EH&S at 683-4495 or B.S.S.F. at 683-4199


  • Regulated Medical Waste will be collected from clinics and laboratories by EH&S.
  • Waste that is not appropriately packaged will not be picked up. EH&S will call the attention of the supervisor in the lab or clinic to the packaging deficiency/hazard or request his supervisor to do the same. This may result in:
    • Education of the Lab/Clinic Personnel, or
    • Demonstration of appropriate packaging in leak-proof impervious containers, or
    • Recommendation for purchase of alternative receptacles by clinic or lab to adequately contain their waste per OSHA/DEQ requirements


Segregation of regulated medical waste at the point of generation is essential to ensure proper
handling and worker safety. Waste generators are responsible for ensuring regulated medical waste is discarded directly into clearly identifiable containers and labeled as described below.

Improperly packaged regulated medical waste will be brought to the attention of the generator. EH&S does not supply containers or bags.

Regulated medical waste must be packaged and labeled before it is stored, treated, transported or disposed of.

Bagged Waste

    • Refer to the guidelines set up by B.S.S.F and EH&S for disposal of these items as "bagged" waste, here.
    • All bags containing regulated medical waste shall be red in color and leak-proof, including bags used in steam sterilization. Any waste contained in red bags shall be considered regulated medical waste and handled as such.
    • All bags shall be filled no more than 3/4 full.
    • All bags and containers shall be labeled as follows:
      • Displays a Biological Hazard symbol and the words "Potentenially Infectious Material" and Autoclave Bag".
      • Containers holding Red bags shall be leak proof containers suitable for the labs/clinic waste stream. and have a lid or cover.
    • Pipettes (12-14 inches) shall be placed in red bags separate from all other waste and double bagged.

Secondary Containers

  • Have Red Medical Waste bag as a liner.
  • Must be leak-proof, puncture resistant.
  • Have a tight fitting lid.
  • Display Biohazard symbol on container and lid.
  • Kept closed/sealed when not in use.

Waste will be picked up on your scheduled date as indicated below:

        • Dental Hygiene (every 3rd week)
        • Student Health (every 3rd week)
        • Rec. Sports (every 3rd week)

Where pick-ups are infrequent or limited, contact EH&S to arrange for pick-up.


Sharps Disposal

  • Sharps (needles, syringes, scalpel blades, etc.):
    • Sharps shall be placed directly in approved, rigid puncture resistant containers at the point of generation.
      • Approved sharps containers are rigid, leak-proof, puncture resistant boxes of various sizes made of hard red plastic, with a lid that can be securely sealed to keep contents from falling out, and clearly marked with the biohazard symbol.
    • Do not recap, bend, remove or clip needles.
    • Fill 3/4 full, snap lid closed and secure with tape. (Overfilling or forced filling may result in puncture wounds). Sharps should be treated/disinfected prior to being disposed of.
    • Place sealed Sharps container in an approved red Medical Waste bag.
    • Request Medical Waste pick-up by EH&S or deliver containers to B.S.S.F for sterilization.

Pick-up Request Form


  • All Regulated Medical Waste contained in bags must be submitted to the B.S.S.F for sterilization in approved red Regulated Medical Waste bags, double bagged.
    • Approved Regulated Medical Waste bags must be:
      • Red in color
      • Bear the Biohazard label, at least 2".
      • Bear the words "Potentially Infectious Material" or "Biohazardous"
      • Bear the words "Autoclave Bag"
      • Made of Polypropylene
      • Mil thickness of at least 1.5 mil
  • No glass or plastic pipettes may be placed in red Regulated Medical Waste bags.
    • Broken Glass:
      • Contaminated, glass should be placed in a sharps container.
      • Non-contaminated, glass can be placed in a bagged lined, cardboard box marked "Broken Glass".
    • Plastic Pipettes (12-14 inches):
      • These types of pipettes shall be placed in Bins/Trays with lids and disinfectant. 
      • In no circumstances can these pipettes be placed in the red Medical Waste bags, as puncture is probable and presents a hazard to the operator treating the waste.
      • Bins/Trays must be labeld with tape indicating the following:
        • Generators Name
        • Bldg/Room #
        • Nature of the waste.
      • No Bin/Tray may be over 3/4 full.
  • No sharps may be placed in red Regulated Medical Waste bags.
  • Unless specifically used to cleanup a biohazard spill, no paper towels should be placed in red Regulated Medical Waste bags. Towels used to routinely clean a work surface before and after use, should be placed in "uncontaminated" waste receptacle.
  • All bags shall be filled no more than 3/4 full.
  • All bags must be closed with closures or rubber bands, prior to submission to B.S.S.F, to allow steam penetration during sterilization, i.e., do not tape bags closed tightly.
  • Regulated Medical Waste bags will be accepted for sterilization as follows:
    • B.S.S.F (MGB 207): Wednesday Only. No later than 10am
    • Health Science: Discreation of the Autoclave operator
  • All regulated medical waste generated by your laboratory must be disposed of (i.e., brought to the departments sterilization area) within 7 days of generation.
    • If your department does not have a sterization area, contact EH&S.
  • All Regulated Medical Waste bags must include:
    • Generator's name
    • Bldg & Room number
    • Clearly labeled on the bag prior to submission for sterialization.
  • The generator of the Regulated Medical Waste assumes all responsibility for assuring the autoclave operator, B.S.S.F and personnel that absolutely no hazardous waste, i.e., chemicals, or radioactive waste is contained in the red Regulated Medical Waste bags submitted for treatment.

NOTE: If you are working with a known, biological pathogen, please inform the B.S.S.F. personnel of the pathogen.  The B.S.S.F. will treat ALL waste with Universal Precautions, but may be able to process or quarantine specific pathogens more readily if known.


  1. All sharps must be submitted in a closed, approved sharps container, seal with tape.
  2. All sharps containers must have the following information clearly labeled on the container, prior to submission to B.S.S.F:
    1. Generaters name
    2. Room number and building.
  3. Once sterilized, ODU must send sharps off campus to a contracted vendor for incineration.

Approved sharps containers are rigid, leak-proof, puncture resistant boxes
of various sizes made of hard red plastic, with a lid that can be securely sealed to keep contents from falling out, and clearly marked with the biohazard symbol.