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Disposing of clear transport bags for medical specimens

Q: If I use a clear bag with a biohazardous waste symbol on it to transport lab specimens, does it need to be treated as regulated medical waste or regular trash? The bag is used as a secondary container for transportation, and are not visibly soiled, but the biohazard symbol is embedded on it.

A: Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on the answer you were looking for) this is a pretty cut and dry answer. Anything with a biohazard label on it must be disposed of as regulated medical waste, regardless of whether or not it is visibly soiled.

Waste haulers are not allowed to pick up regular waste that is contaminated with biohazard waste, which is always indicated by the symbol, and put it into a regular waste stream, even if there is no visible contamination.

The Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute [1] plans to release an update to GP05 in early 2010. Additional information will also be available in the updated third edition of the Complete Guide to Lab Safety, which should publish sometime in June.