Exterior of the Veterinary Diagnostics Laboratory at Iowa State University

Using the incinerator

Trained EH&S operators run the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory Incinerator (VDLI) every Tuesday. The incinerator provides for the sanitary disposal of animal carcasses, tissue, and bedding that may or may not be contaminated with disease-causing organisms. EH&S also incinerates many non-regulated organics, radiological combustibles, animals, and certain contraband seized by law enforcement agencies. 

Review what not to burn (PDF)

Procedures by material

Animal carcasses and tissue must be properly managed to curb the spread of disease, prevent the introduction of non-approved material to the food chain, and reduce offensive odors and unsightly discharges.

For guidance on proper disposal options for animal carcasses, tissues, and bedding, consult the Sharps and Biohazardous Waste Procedure (PDF) and Flowchart (PDF).

Animals and animal waste are managed by Lab Animal Resources (LAR), EH&S or the Research and Demonstration Farm of origin. A completed "waste for incineration" tag must be attached to any material brought to the incinerator. Contact EH&S at (515) 294-5359 or LAR at (515) 294-8507 for disposal guidelines.

The incinerator is approved for the destruction of controlled substances on campus. The collection and destruction of discarded controlled substances at Iowa State University (ISU) are captured in the Disposal of Controlled Substances SOP.

ISU will incinerate controlled substances for the Central Iowa Drug Task Force and ISU Police Department. All other controlled substance requests may need coordination with an outside waste vendor. Please call (515) 294-2009 with questions.

Plant materials and soil should not be placed in the trash. Non-genetically modified plant material may be composted via Facilities Planning and Management.

Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) or restricted plant tissue must be devitalized or destroyed. To incinerate USDA-regulated foreign or domestic soils and contaminated materials regulated by the USDA under the Soils Permit or Compliance Agreement, contact EH&S at (515) 294-5359. Follow the biohazard disposal guidelines in the Biosafety Manual (PDF).