Waste - Biohazardous Materials

Biohazardous materials must be decontaminated and disposed of properly to keep personnel and the environment safe from unintended releases of material.


  • Autoclaving is one way biological material can be decontaminated. For more information about autoclaving, consult the Autoclave page or complete the EH&S Autoclave Safety Training in Workday Learning or Canvas (students). If you need assistance, please contact ehstrain@iastate.edu.

  • Items that cannot be autoclaved can generally be decontaminated using a chemical disinfectant.

  • Choosing the appropriate chemical disinfectant depends on the surface or item needing decontamination, as well as the organism requiring inactivation.

  • Section E of the Biosafety Manual provides detailed information about chemical disinfection.


Most supplies for decontaminating biohazardous waste, such as autoclave biohazard bags and sharps containers, may be purchased through Central Stores. An EH&S Biosafety Specialist can provide assistance with finding supplies for special disposal needs.


For guidance on proper waste decontamination and disposal, consult the Sharps and Biohazardous Waste Procedure (PDF) and Flowchart (PDF). For instructions on proper sharps and glass decontamination and disposal, see the Sharps and Glass Disposal (PDF) guide.