Autoclaved waste disposal in a Teaching Lab

Eddie Bollenbach edward.bollenbach at
Sun Aug 17 11:36:09 EST 1997

Karl Roberts wrote:

> Dear Eddie,
>         We consider all microbiological waste as hazardous, including
> everything you mentioned, as well as stains and  used gloves.  In my
> classes, I strive to make students understand that (1) all microbes
> should
> be considered potentially pathogenic, regardless of the current benign
> status, and (2) any effluent of solid waste does more harm to the
> environment than good.  The best treatment is prevention and
> following proper protocol.  It may seem to be an irritation, but
> environmental and personal  heal and hygiene should be your and your
> students number one concern.
> Karl J. Roberts, Ph.D.
> Prince George's Community College

Karl...Thank you for your comments. They are appreciated. I wish you to
know that the safety of my students and the community have always been
my number one concern. And, in 27 years of teaching Microbiology and
General Chemistry I have never had anyone ever become sick or infected.
I require my students to disinfect pre and post lab. I require them to
wash their hands regularly, especially after lab. There is no food etc.
allowed in the lab. And I emphasize safety at every step. What I was
questioning was the need to incinerate, via a hazardous waste company,
autoclaved plastics and cultures. The broth and other media residue goes
down the drain and the other autoclaved products become unrecognizable,
that's all. I believe the Health Department, in requiring what they do
simply want to standardize all lab disposal in the state. It is most
likely a good thing, although, as you point out, I do:
microbio at

find it an irritation at times.

Cheers.....Eddie B.

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