Medical Waste Management

To protect the public and the environment from potentially infectious disease causing agents, California's Medical Waste Management Program (MWMP) regulates the generation, handling, storage, treatment, and disposal of medical waste by providing oversight for the implementation of the Medical Waste Management Act (California HSC, Sections 117600-118360). The MWMP permits and inspects all medical waste offsite treatment facilities and medical waste transfer stations.  In addition to the treatment methods specifically allowed in the MWMA, there are alternative medical waste treatment technologies approved for use in California.

Medical Waste means any:

  • biohazardous waste
  • pharmaceutical waste
  • sharps and trace chemotherapy wastes generated in a health care seeting in the diagnosis, treatment, immunization, or care of humans or animals;
  • waste generated in research pertaining to the production or testing of microbiologicals
  • waste generated in research using human or animal pathogens;
  • waste generated from the consolidation of home-generated sharps
  • waste generated in the cleanup of trauma scene

SFSU is registered with San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH) as a Large Quantity Generator of medical waste (i.e., >200 lbs/month). SFSU developed and submitted a "Medical Waste Management Plan" to SFDPH.  The current permit is posted in the Student Health Center.

Medical waste must either be "treated" (rendered non-hazardous) according to the provisions of the Medical Waste Management Act, or placed in a proper container (labeled with the Biohazard symbol), and transported by a registered hauler to a permitted medical waste treament facility. 

SFSU has arranged with a licensed contractor for routine medical waste pick-ups. 

Medical Waste Management Procedure

How do I handle:

Medical Sharps (hypodermic needles, syringes)   

Non-Medical Sharps (broken glass, razor blades; i.e., sharps that are not "biohazardous")

Chemical Sharps (glass pipettes contaminated with chemical residues)


Self-Assessment Manual for Proper Managment of Medical Waste

The California Department of Health Services (the precursor to CDPH), in partnership with the California Hospital Association, developed a Self-Assessment Manual for Proper Management of Medical Waste (PDF) for generators that would like to improve either compliance or efficiency in management of healthcare-generated waste

Pharmaceutical Waste v. Hazardous Waste

Only pharmaceutical waste that falls under the Federal Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) of 1976, as amended (42 USCA Sec. 6901 et seq.) should be disposed of into a hazardous waste container.  This waste includes bulk chemotherapy drugs, P-listed waste (nicotine, Coumadin/warfarin, arsenic trioxide, etc.), U-listed waste (mercury, chloroform, etc.) and characteristic hazardous waste (aerosol propellants, M-Cresol, etc.).  All remaining pharmaceutical waste that doesn’t fall under the definition of RCRA waste (i.e. California, non-RCRA) should be disposed of into a pharmaceutical waste container.  More complete information on RCRA waste can be found at

Bloodborne Pathogen Standard

Enforcement of the Blood Borne Pathogen Standard (PDF) is the responsibility of the California Department of Industrial Relations (Cal/OSHA). It is found in Title 8 of the California Code of Regulations (8 CCR),  Chapter 4 (Division of Industrial Safety), Sub-Chapter 7 (General Industry Safety Orders), Group 16 (Control of Hazardous Substances), Article 109 (Hazardous Substances and Processes).



Medical Waste Management Act

Self-Assessment Manual for the Proper Management of Medical Waste

Bloodborne Pathogen Standard

COSE Biological Waste Flow Chart



Contact Marsha Elliott
Environmental Compliance Manager, EHS
Cell:  (925) 922-0391