Regulated Medical Waste | St. Lawrence University Environmental Health and Safety

Regulated Medical Waste

St. Lawrence University - Regulated Medical Waste (RMW)

Handling And Disposal Procedures

Regulated Medical Waste Regulatory and Guidance Documents: (Outside Web Page Disclaimer)

NYSDOH - Managing RMW

NYSDEC - RMW Regulations and Guidance Documents

EPA - Information about Federal Regulation of Medical Waste

Summary of Managing Regulated Medical Waste (HERC)

St. Lawrence University generates and offers for transportation off-site less than 50 lb/month of Regulated Medical Waste. Based on its generator quantity the University is is regulated by the NYSDEC under 6 NYCRR 364 Section 364.9(d) and Section 364.9(e) paragraphs (1), (2), (3), (5) and (7).

What is a Regulated Medical Waste?

Biological waste, biohazardous waste, and medical waste are all jointly defined as "Regulated Medical Waste" (RMW) under the applicable law.  The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (6 NYCRR Part 364) defines RMW as any solid medical waste that is generated in the diagnosis, treatment, or immunization of human beings or animals, in research pertaining thereto, or in the production or testing of biological materials.  (NOTE: The term "solid waste" includes solid, semisolid, or liquid materials, but does not include domestic sewage materials).  RMW includes these materials:

1) Cultures and stocks of infectious agents and associated biological materials, including:              

  • Cultures from medical and pathological and laboratories
  • Cultures and stocks of infectious agents from research and industrial laboratories
  • Wastes from the production of biological materials
  • Discarded live or attenuated vaccines
  • Culture dishes and devices used to transfer, inoculate, and mix cultures

2) Human pathological wastes, including:

  • Tissues, organs, body parts and body fluids that are removed during surgery or autopsy, or other medical procedures
  • Specimens of body fluids and their containers

3) Human blood and associated containers which were used or intended for use in either patient care, testing and laboratory analysis or the development of pharmaceuticals, including:

  • Liquid waste human blood
  • Products of human blood
  • Items saturated and/or dripping with human blood
  • Items caked and dried human blood
  • Serum, plasma, and other blood components
  • Intravenous bags

4) Sharps that have been used in animal or human patient care or treatment or in medical, research, or industrial laboratories, including:

  • Hypodermic needles
  • Syringes (with or without the attached needle)
  • Pasteur pipettes
  • Scalpel blades
  • Blood vials
  • Needles with attached tubing
  • Culture dishes (regardless of presence of infectious agents)
  • Broken or unbroken glassware that were in contact with infectious agents, such as used slides and cover slips.

5) Contaminated animal carcasses, body parts, and bedding of animals that were known to have been exposed to infectious agents during research (including research in veterinary hospitals), production of biological materials, or testing pharmaceuticals.

6) Wastes from surgery or autopsy that were in contact with infectious agents, including:

  • Solid dressings
  • Sponges
  • Drapes
  • Lavage tubes
  • Drainage sets
  • Underpads
  • Surgical gloves

7) Laboratory wastes from medical, pathological, pharmaceutical, or other research, commercial, or industrial laboratories that were in contact with infectious agents, including:

  • Slides and cover slips
  • Disposable gloves
  • Laboratory coats and aprons

8) Dialysis wastes that were in contact with the blood of patients undergoing hemodialysis or renal dialysis, including:

  • Contaminated disposable equipment
  • Supplies such as tubing, filters, disposable sheets, towels, gloves, aprons, and laboratory coats.

9) Biological waste and discarded materials contaminated with blood, excreta, or secretions from humans who are isolated to protect others from certain highly communicable diseases, or isolated animals known to be infected with highly communicable diseases.

10) The following unneeded and unused items:

  • Discarded sharps
  • Hypodermic needles
  • Suture needles
  • Syringes
  • Scalpel blades

Preserved animals used for educational purposes are not RMW.  They can be disposed of as solid waste if they are not considered hazardous waste due to the type of fixative used.

Infectious agents means any organisms that cause disease or an adverse health impact to humans.

Segregation and Storage of Regulated Medical Waste

RMW must be segregated into the following three categories: sharps, fluids (greater than 20 cc), and other RMW.

Special containers must be used for the storage and disposal of RMW.  They are of two types: (1) red bags; and (2) red fiberboard or rigid plastic containers, as explained below.  All containers must be leakproof, and must be labeled "BIOHAZARD" or with the universal warning sign.  All containers are available free of charge in the biology and chemistry stockrooms. 

Sharps will be collected for disposal in leakproof, rigid, labeled biohazard, red puncture resistant containers that are secured to preclude loss of contents. The items listed in groups 4 and 10 above must be placed in these containers.  These include all needles, pasteur pipettes, syringes, scalpels, razor blades, glass slides, and other sharp objects -- irrespective of whether they are contaminated with infectious agents.  Do not attempt to remove the needle from the barrel of the syringe.  The total needle and syringe assembly shall be placed in a Sharps Container.  All containers must be labeled as described above.

Other RMW (non-sharps) will be collected in bags which are impervious to moisture and have strength sufficient to resist ripping, tearing, or bursting under normal conditions of usage and handling. The bags shall be secured to preclude loss of contents and will be red in color.

RMW will be collected in each laboratory that generates it. Laboratories will not store more than one full sharps container and/or red bag at any one time. When a container if full call the Security Director (x5609) to have the sharps containers and/or RMW bags brought to the Student Health Center for storage prior to pick up by a licensed company for incineration. The sharps containers can be replaced with new empty containers from the biology or chemistry stockrooms.

Non-infectious biological organisms and associated lab debris should be autoclaved prior to disposal in the regular trash. Use clear autoclavable bags. Red or orange biohazard bags cannot be placed in the regular solid waste.

All RMW must be segregated from all other waste streams. If RMW is mixed with general trash, the entire mixture must be considered RMW. This should be avoided.

Labeling and Storage Requirements
All acceptable RMW placed into Red Bags or the Sharps Containers shall be labeled with the word "BIOHAZARD" or the universal warning sign written on water-resistant tags or printed with water proof ink. 

Each primary container shall be labeled with the name of the generator or laboratory. 
  Laboratory/Group Name:
      St. Lawrence University
      23 Romoda Drive
      Canton, NY 13617


In addition, the following information shall be clearly displayed on the outer storage boxes for transportation:
      St. Lawrence University
      23 Romoda Drive
      Canton, NY 13617
      Transporter's Name
      Transporter's State permit or ID number (or if not applicable then transporter's address)
      Date of shipment
      Identification of contents as medical waste

RMW storage at Health Center

The RMW stored at the Health Center must be maintained in a nonputrescent state (refrigerate when necessary), stored in a restricted access area and stored in a way that protects the environment.


(1) St. Lawrence University must track the quantity of RMW generated each month and RMW that is transported off site for treatment, destruction or disposal. The Security Director will use a Log book located in the Student Health Center to maintain this information.

(2) The New York State Medical Waste Tracking Form must be used for each RMW shipment. There must be at least 4 copies (1 for generator, 1 for transporter, 2 for destination facility). St. Lawrence University must sign the tracking form and obtain a handwritten signature of the initial transporter and date of acceptance on the tracking form. The University must keep copies of these tracking forms for at least 3 years and retain a copy of all exception reports. In order to assure the RMW was properly destroyed, St. Lawrence University must receive a copy of the completed tracking form within 35 days of the date it was accepted by the initial transporter. If this does not occur, the University must contact the owner of the destination facility to determine the status of the RMW. The University must submit an Exception Report to the state if they do not receive the completed tracking form within 45 days. This report must be post marked on or before the 46th day.

Last Updated 6/2/2020