New procedures for handling animal waste

As part of the U's Operational Excellence efforts, University Services, in partnership with Environmental Health and Safety, the College of Veterinary Medicine and the Veterinary Diagnostic Lab, has successfully completed a pilot using digestible bags that will allow for increased use of the alkaline hydrolysis digester located on the St. Paul campus.

The decision to use the digester was based on cost savings, fewer environmental impacts and increased security by keeping this type of waste on site. With this change, research labs need to be informed on how to properly prepare animal waste for digestion. Over the past few months, signage and training have been updated.

DEHS has detailed information and training available online >>

Please distribute this information to research staff in your area. Questions regarding this announcement can be directed to Robin Tobias in DEHS


Important things to remember
  • Only carcasses, tissue, and the pink digestible bags are safe for disposal in the Tissue Digester. Any non-tissue waste must be removed and separated from the animal waste (i.e. ear tags, gloves, towels, tubing, clips, paper, plastic, metal, disposable PPE, etc.) Researchers are responsible for removal of all devices or ear tags prior to placing animal carcasses in the pink digestible bags (see below for ordering information). Formalin fixed tissue is safe for digestion, as long the excess liquid portion has been removed for processing through the hazardous waste program.
  • The Yellow chemo/high hazard waste bins for incineration will still be available. Animal waste that is currently being yellow bagged should continue to be disposed in this waste stream. Hazardous chemicals/chemotherapy agents must never go in the digester. In cases where animals have unrecoverable implants or medical devices, yellow bags and bins should be the method for disposal.
  • General waste handling practices will not change. Remember to wear PPE when handling any form of hazardous waste. Bags must be tied off, and bins must be tightly fitted with a lid, weighing no more than 50 pounds.
  • For more in depth Information on preparing, disposing, and processing animal tissues and carcass waste on campus please read the Animal Waste Disposal Fact Sheet >>
  • The digestible bags can be ordered through UMarket. The part numbers are:
    • GC20009 BAG, DIGESTABLE 17"X16" W/BIOHAZ SIGN $86.46, Qty of 600 bags
    • GC20010 BAG, DIGESTIBLE 40"X46" W/BIOHAZ SIGN  $89.46, Qty of 100 bags