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This policy applies to the disposal of all laboratory glassware and plasticware at the University of Pennsylvania that has not come in contact with any infectious material. This policy does not apply to the disposal of laboratory sharps. (For information on the proper disposal of all sharps see the Laboratory Sharps Waste Management Procedure).


Laboratory Glassware/Plasticware:
any item that is not a sharp and/or has not been in contact with infectious agents, or has not been used in animal or human patient care or treatment at a medical, research or industrial laboratories, but could potentially puncture a regular waste bag and pose a hazard to waste handlers. This includes non-infectious slides, cover slips, vials, pasteur pipettes, empty chemical reagent bottles and broken or fragile glass or plastic.

Sharp: any device/item having corners, edges, or projections capable of cutting or piercing the skin.

Infectious Waste Sharps:
sharps, including hypodermic needles, syringes (with or without the attached needle), pasteur pipettes, scalpel blades, blood vials, needles with attached tubing, culture dishes, suture needles, slides, cover slips and other broken or unbroken glass or plasticware that have been in contact with infectious agents or that have been used in animal or human patient care or treatment, at medical, research or industrial laboratories.


  1. Dispose of non-infectious laboratory glassware/plasticware in the following containers:
    A.   Laboratory Glassware Bucket
    [click images to enlarge]
    • Where: School of Medicine, Laboratory for Research on the Structure of Matter (LRSM), Hayden Hall, Towne Building
    • Available from Building Administrator
    • Glassware buckets should NOT be lined with plastic bags.
    • Label bucket with "Non-Infectious Laboratory Glassware and Plasticware Disposal in Buckets" label available from EHRS or your building administrator.
    B.   Glass Disposal Box
    [click images to enlarge]
    • Where: School of Medicine, School of Dental Medicine, School of Veterinary Medicine, Biology, DRL, Skirkanich.
    • Purchase from Fisher Scientific or other laboratory supplies vendor.
    • Boxes must be lined with clear plastic bags. (Infectious waste bags must NOT be used for lining.)
    • Label box with "Non-Infectious Laboratory Glassware and Plasticware Disposal in Boxes" label available from EHRS or your building administrator.
  2. DO NOT use laboratory glassware buckets or boxes for the disposal of infectious waste used or unused sharps.
  3. DO NOT dispose of any of the following items (whether contaminated with infectious material or not) in glassware/plasticware containers:
    • needles (including suture needles)
    • syringes (with or without needles)
    • needles from vacutainers
    • needles with attached tubing
    • ALL blades (razors, scalpels, X-acto, etc.)

    Dispose of these items in a sharps container and discard as infectious waste.
  4. Keep glassware/plasticware for disposal separate from all other waste in the laboratory. Laboratory glassware/plasticware cannot be recycled.
  5. All containers must be clearly labeled with a phrase similar to one of the following: Laboratory Glassware, Lab Glassware Only, or Glass.>
  6. DO NOT discard glassware in these containers if it contains hazardous chemicals, infectious or radioactive contaminants. If glassware is chemically contaminated, decontaminate this glassware prior to disposal.
  7. Triple rinse and deface labels of empty chemical reagent bottles before discarding in laboratory glassware containers.
  8. When glassware/plasticware cardboard boxes are ? full, seal the top of the box with packaging tape to indicate to housekeeping the box is ready for disposal.
  9. Glassware buckets ready for disposal should be set aside for housekeeping to pick up. Housekeeping removes glass regularly.
  10. Do not overload glassware/plasticware disposal containers. Overloaded and/or heavy containers can be awkward for housekeeping to carry.
  11. In the Chemistry Complex ONLY: Housekeeping does not pick up glassware. Laboratory staff carry glassware to a blue drum on each floor. Facilities removes the glassware from the drum.
    All laboratory glassware containers in the Chemistry Complex must have the following label affixed to the outside of the container:
    Housekeeping Label

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