Waste Disposal

Excerpts from Laboratory Safety Management Regulations, and Waste Disposal Guidelines

Excerpt from Chapter 5 – Installation of Safety Signs and Other Safety Management
Article 20 (Disposal of Laboratory Waste)

  1. ① Disposal of waste produced in laboratories shall be conducted by the parties responsible at the original source of the waste production.
  2. ② Waste produced shall be processed into non-hazardous materials by the parties responsible for the waste production.
  3. ③ Waste that cannot be independently disposed by the parties responsible must be collected by type, transported to a designated location, and disposed through third-party commission.
Waste Disposal Guidelines

Types of infectious waste under the Wastes Control Act

  • Biological tissue (carcass waste from laboratory animals, secretion, etc.)
  • Used cotton (cotton swabs, bandages, gauzes, etc. containing secretion from laboratory animals or disinfectant)
  • Synthetic resin (disposable syringes, blood storage bags, waste resulting from blood dialysis, etc.)
  • Pathological waste (Petri dishes, test tubes, slides, cover glasses, blood bottles, gloves and blood used for medical tests and examinations)
  • Damaging waste (syringe needles, surgical scalpels, stitching needles, etc.)
  • Mixed infectious waste (any waste mixed or in contact with infectious waste)
A. Obligations of Infectious Waste Producers

All infectious waste must undergo proper treatment, and infectious waste resulting from a laboratory under the supervision of the waste producer must be kept in appropriate storage.

B. Disposal of Infectious Waste
  • The treatment of infectious waste shall be commissioned to a licensed third party.
  • A brief waste treatment transfer must be prepared and kept for three years regarding the waste delivery and receipt process.
C. Storage Standards for Infectious Waste
  • From the moment of origin, infectious waste must be placed in designated containers as outlined below by type, then sealed airtight and must not be reused.
  • Designated containers are classified into bag-type and box-type containers, and containers to be used must have been inspected by institutions or organizations designated by the Minister of the Environment in accordance with the inspection standards established and outlined by the Minister of the Environment.
D. Standards for Waste Reagent Bottle Disposal
  • A waste reagent bottle, if washable, shall be disposed separately by type after cleaning.
  • A hazardous waste reagent bottle shall be classified as infectious waste and commissioned for treatment.
E. Cleaning Reagent Bottles

Empty bottles must be cleaned at least three times using detergent or cleaning products in principle. Empty bottles must have no detectible smell and contain no foreign substances.

Although it is stipulated that bottles must be cleaned at least three times, the standard of cleaning must be up to a conscionable standard with the possibility of recycling. Wastewater drained in a laboratory sink will be directed to the treatment facility based within the institution. Therefore, please make sure not to discharge undiluted solutions or hazardous materials into the sink (source of waste can be traced through drainage systems of each building).

F. Inspection of Reagent Bottle Cleaning

Regarding reagent bottles to be disposed of, the lab safety officer must check the cleanliness of the bottles, which must be stored in a designated location and disposed separately as either infectious waste or general waste.

(Reference) Violations of the Wastes Control Act

  • Inappropriate treatment of infectious waste without commissioning a waste treatment specialist (indictment)
  • Failure to use designated containers and to display required information (fine not exceeding ten million won)
  • Storage of infectious waste for longer than the acceptable period (15 days) in commissioned treatment facilities (fine not exceeding ten million won)
  • Storage of experiment-purpose tissue in the designated refrigeration equipment along with infectious waste such as human tissue with the risk of being decomposed or spoiled, even though tissue are not generally classified into infectious waste (fine not exceeding ten million won)
  • Mixing and storage of infectious waste with general waste (fine not exceeding ten million won)

Of waste generated from experiments, all equipment and tools used for medical tests and examinations must be classified as pathogenic waste “regardless of risk of harm to human beings.” Disposable items including culture fluids and containers discharged after biological experiments are also categorized as infectious waste.

Contact for other inquiries: Hwang Hyeon-ju , laboratory safety officer, Facilities Maintenance team.