Waste Management

The Safety Office’s staff manages and oversees regulated waste management at the Marine Biological Laboratory in accordance with all local, state and federal regulations.  Adhering to these regulations and good management practices, ensures that the MBL is operating to protect the safety and health of all members of the MBL community and to protect research, equipment, facilities and the environment.  We coordinate hazardous waste management, including Chemical, Biological and Radioactive waste; universal waste management; waste minimization; and hazardous materials spill response.

Chemical Waste must be labeled and stored in appropriate containers, containment and locations according to MBL’s Chemical Hygiene Manual.  Chemical Waste is picked up from satellite accumulations areas in each laboratory weekly and brought to the main accumulation storage area until it is removed for disposal.  Refer to the Chemical Hygiene Plan for detailed procedures.

Radioactive Waste requires strict adherence to MBL’s Radiation Safety Manual. Radioactive waste is tracked and stored in the Radiation Storage area for decay or disposal.  Refer to the Radiation Safety Manual for detailed procedures.

Biological Waste and contaminated plastics or glassware is autoclaved and disposed by the departments. Liquid biological waste can be either treated (bleach) or autoclaved. Biological specimens are bagged, frozen and disposed as biological waste.  Refer to the Biosafety Manual for detailed procedures.

Contact Eric H. Jensen, Environmental Health and Safety Manager, 508-289-7424, or email ejensen@mbl.edu.

Waste Disposal

Chemical Waste

  • Consolidate hazardous chemical waste into Satellite Accumulation Area (SAA) in properly labeled containers or plastic bags (see detailed instructions by SAA).
  • Any expired/unwanted chemical or empty hazardous chemical container should be capped, labeled and placed into the SAA for removal by EH&S staff.

Biohazardous Waste

  • All live cultures, solid biological waste, plastics or glassware (such as pipette tips and culture dishes used in handling biological material) must be collected into a clear plastic autoclave bag within red lift-top biohazard can.
  • Liquid biological waste must be disinfected with a 10% bleach solution for 30 minutes or stored in appropriate container for autoclaving.
  • Biological waste must be thermally decontaminated using an autoclave located in Lillie 16B, Loeb G11 or 208, Rowe 107 or Starr 124. Training available by EH&S.
  • After autoclaving, the autoclave bags are discarded directly into an outside dumpster. Bleached or autoclaved liquid waste may be emptied into sink drain.


  • Uncontaminated/non-hazardous Pasteur pipettes, serological pipettes, glassware, broken glass, microscope slides and cover slips are discarded into designated cardboard boxes lined with plastic bags. When filled, notify EH&S for removal.


  • Needles, syringes, scalpels, razor blades, and contaminated Pasteur pipettes, microscope slides or cover slips are placed into the red plastic containers, often referred to as “sharps” containers. When filled, notify EH&S for removal.


  • Uncontaminated locally collected marine animals are placed into marked animal buckets. Buckets are removed daily by MBL staff.
  • Terrestrial animals, non-native marine animals or treated specimens are placed into appropriate sized plastic bag, sealed and labeled, and then stored in bio-hazard freezer in Loeb G11 or Rowe 107. EH&S provides removal from freezer.

Radiological Waste

  • Radioactive material is used in designated areas only and requires special handling and disposal. Contact the EH&S Office for proper training.


  • All other non-biological or chemical waste can be placed in trash cans. Such as gloves, pipette tips, or empty plastic non-hazardous chemical containers.


  • Place paper, magazines, cardboard, all plastics, aluminum, metal cans, glass food and beverage containers into marked recycling bins. Removed weekly by MBL staff.

Please contact the EH&S with questions or supply needs at safety@mbl.edu or at x7424. EH&S will supply autoclave bags, sharp containers, glass disposal boxes and waste collection containers.

This document is for reference purposes. Please refer to the MBL Chemical Hygiene Plan, Biosafety Manual, or Radiation Safety Manual for specific details. Proper training is provided by the EH&S office.