Waste Disposal

The disposal of medical waste falls under the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) “Adopted Standards for the Regulation of Medical Waste”.


Medical waste is defined as all waste generated in direct patient care or in diagnostic or research areas that is non-infectious but aesthetically repugnant if found in the environment.

Infectious medical waste is defined as any solid or liquid which may contain pathogens with sufficient virulence such that exposure can result in an infectious disease.

The MSDH includes the following under its infectious medical waste designation:

  • Wastes resulting from the care of patients or animals that have diseases transmissable by blood and body fluids.
  • Cultures and stocks of infectious agents including live and attenuated vaccines
  • Blood and blood products such as serum, plasma, and other blood components
  • Tissues, organs, body parts and body fluids removed during surgery, autopsy and necropsy
  • Contaminated carcasses, body parts, and bedding of animals exposed to pathogens in medical research
  • All discarded sharps which have come in contact with infectious agents
  • Other wastes determined to be infectious by the generator or MSDH

Infectious waste at Mississippi State University can be handled in several ways:

  1. Call the Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) office or submit an on-line hazardous waste request for pick-up. EHS supplies the disposal boxes. There is a charge for this service.
  2. If an autoclave is available, steam sterilize in red-orange biohazards bags for the appropriate length of time. Go to the “Autoclave Verification” Quick Link for more information.
  3. Chemical disinfection of certain liquids may be appropriate based on a risk assessment. See the “Decontamination” Quick Link for more information.

NOTE: See the section “Sharps Disposal” for the correct way to dispose of sharps. DO NOT put sharps into biohazards bags. All sharps, contaminated or not, must go into puncture-resistant/leak-proof containers.