Environmental Health and Safety (EHS)

Regulated Medical Waste (Biohazard Box) Acceptance Guidance

Regulated Medical Waste         Accepted Waste        Wastes NOT Accepted


Regulated Medical Waste

The UT Health Science Center at San Antonio must comply with all applicable regulations regarding the collection, transportation and treatment of regulated medical waste (RMW). Federal Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations require a generator (UT Health Science Center at San Antonio) of regulated medical waste to certify that the packaging and documentation of transported regulated medical waste complies with DOT regulations regarding waste classification, packaging, labeling and shipping. It is imperative that all UT Health Science Center at San Antonio departments understand the rules regarding proper identification, classification, segregation and packaging of regulated medical waste.


The term "medical waste" includes biohazardous, biomedical, infectious or regulated medical wastes as defined under federal, state or local laws, rules, regulations and guidelines. This EXCLUDES pharmaceuticals, chemotherapeutic wastes, radioactive wastes, wastes containing mercury or other heavy metals, chemicals such as solvents, reagents, corrosives or ignitable materials classified as hazardous under Federal EPA regulations.


These regulated medical waste instructions are provided to assist your compliance with the packaging requirements of 49 CFR 173.197, which require that the waste be packaged in a container that is:


  1. rigid;
  2. leak resistant;
  3. impervious to moisture;
  4. of sufficient strength to prevent tearing or busting under normal conditions of use and handling;
  5. sealed to prevent leakage during transport;
  6. puncture resistant for sharps and sharps with residual fluids; and
  7. break-resistant and tightly lidded or stoppered for fluid in quantities greater than 20 cubic centimeters.

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Accepted Waste

Needles and syringes, scalpel blades, glass pipettes, slides, dental wires, etc. provided they are placed in "sharps" container before being placed into the Regulated Medical Waste (RMW) red bag liner and the medical waste box.


Laboratory Wastes
Cultures and stocks of Biohazard Level (Risk Group) 1, 2, and 3 infectious agents, test tubes, etc.
All materials originating in BSL-3 facilities must be autoclaved prior to removal from the BSL-3 facility and then be identified and labeled for incineration.


Contaminated Disposal Material, Equipment, and Instruments
Includes but is not limited to: blood administration sets, drainage collection devices, gloves and gowns, dressings.


Blood, Blood Products, Body Fluids


Accepted Waste Which Must be Identified and Labeled for Incineration

Trace-contaminated Chemotherapy Waste
Empty drug vials, syringes and needles, IV tubing, gowns and gloves. See 40 CFR, Part 261:7.


Pathological Waste
Human or animal body parts, organ, tissues and surgical specimens (exclusive of formaldehyde or other preservatives). Human body parts under the control of the Anatomical Board of the State of Texas must be disposed of in accordance with Texas Administrative Code, Title 25, Chapter 479, Rule 479.4. Animal carcasses must be disposed of according to Department of Laboratory Animal Resources (DLAR) procedures.


BSL-3 Waste
Laboratory wastes as mentioned above originating from a BSL-3 facility.

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Wastes NOT Accepted

Pharmaceutical Waste
Please request assistance. E.H. & S. can characterize some items as non-RCRA hazardous materials. RCRA listed or characteristic hazardous pharmaceutical waste cannot be disposed of through sewers, landfills, or through RMW. It must be treated as hazardous chemicals (see below) and shipped to a RCRA facility.


Formaldehyde, acids, alcohols, waste oil, solvents, reagents, fixer, developer, etc. Virtually all chemicals should be treated as chemical waste and not disposed of with RMW. Please request a chemical pick up.


Bulk Chemotherapy Waste
Antineoplastic and cytotoxic materials including the non-conforming U-listed chemotherapy wastes Chlorambucil, cyclophosphamide, Daunomycin, Melphalan, Mitomycin C, Streptozptocin, and Uracil Mustard.


Hazardous Waste
Drums, pails, bottles, cans or other containers with hazardous warning labels or symbols, batteries, heavy metals, etc. Please request a chemical pick up for these materials or suspected materials.


Radioactive Waste
Any container with a radioactivity level that exceeds regulatory or permitted limits; lead-containing materials. Please request a radioactive materials pick up for any radioactive materials or suspected radioactive materials.


Compressed Gas Cylinders, canisters, Inhalers and aerosol cans
All of these items must be treated as RCRA hazardous waste. Please request a chemical pick up from E.H. & S.


Glass thermometers, sphygmomanometers, and other devices or solutions containing mercury or mercury compounds.
Please request assistance from E.H. & S.


Any Overweight Container

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