Hazardous and other regulated wastes

Certain wastes must not be disposed in ordinary trash receptacles because they pose a potential hazard to personnel or the environment.

Biohazardous wastes

Infectious materials and contaminated liquids or solids must be treated before they are disposed. Most biohazardous wastes generated at Middlebury College can be decontaminated by steam autoclaving. Depending on the pathogen class as well as the density and total volume, certain biohazardous wastes may require shipment to a medical incinerator.

Biohazardous wastes must be accumulated in an appropriate autoclavable waste bag. To avoid confusion among waste handlers down the line, users should use only transparent bags for wastes that are to be treated on-site. Red or orange biohazard bags should be reserved only for wastes that are to be shipped to a medical incinerator.

After decontamination, autoclaved waste bags and waste containers need to be placed inside an opaque trash bag in the Processed Waste bin for disposal as ordinary waste. Before placing the containers in the outer opaque bag, any visible biohazard symbols should be removed or defaced. Building custodians have been instructed not to touch or empty any labeled biohazardous waste bags.

Please speak with Tim Allen regarding all accumulation and disposal of biohazardous wastes.

Broken glass and sharps

In order to prevent injury to the custodians, all broken glass and other sharps—including Pasteur pipets, pipettor tips, syringe needles, razor and scalpel blades, and similar objects—are to be disposed in specially marked boxes. Floor-standing and benchtop glass-disposal boxes are available from the custodians, and syringe disposal containers are available from the Laboratory Stores.

Uncontaminated sharps should be placed directly in one of the standard sharps disposal boxes. Sharps potentially contaminated with infectious agents—including any that have been exposed to human blood or blood products—must be segregated into their own clearly-marked sharps disposal boxes, and must be treated as a biohazardous waste, as described above, before final disposal.

Chemical wastes

Chemical wastes include potentially hazardous substances, as well as materials that are not regulated as hazardous wastes. Chemical wastes generated in laboratories, academic photo labs, and art studios are required to be accumulated and disposed in accordance with Middlebury College's Laboratory
Management Plan

Certain wastes, such as dilute solutions of acids or bases, buffers, and the like, may be able to be disposed down the drain. By law, you must first confirm that such waste is suitable for drain disposal. For guidance in this area, speak with Beth Eliason, Chemical Hygiene Officer. 

All other wastes need to be accumulated for eventual disposal. Waste containers in labs and art studios must be marked with the College's chemical waste tag listing the contents and waste generator information, and the containers themselves must remain closed except when wastes are actually being added. Chemical waste tags are available from Beth.

You must arrange with Beth in advance before bringing down any wastes for disposal. Do not simply drop off waste containers at the Lab Stores or the waste storage room!

Radioactive wastes

See the Guide to Disposal under Radioisotope Use.