Biological Materials Requiring Incineration

The State of Illinois considers animal carcasses, tissues, organs, and bedding from infected animals to be pathological waste. University policy requires that the following items be incinerated:

  • Any animal inoculated with infectious agents;
  • Transgenic animals, potentially transgenic animals, “no-takes” in the production of transgenic animals, and offspring of transgenic animals;
  • All sheep and goats;
  • Small research animals (e.g., cats, dogs, rabbits, rats, mice, birds);
  • Central nervous systems of adult cattle over 30 month old;
  • Human tissues and organs. 

There are no exceptions to this policy without prior notification and approval by the Division of Research Safety (DRS). Other animals, tissues, or organs not listed may still qualify for incineration; contact the DRS via e-mail with specific questions. 

Packaging Instructions for Incineration

Materials for incineration must be packaged and labeled by the generating laboratory and must NOT contain glass or liquids.

  • Place no more than thirty pounds of pathological waste in a thick (3-4 mil) opaque bag.
  • Complete a DRS INCINERATION TAG for each bag.
  • Twist the top of each bag closed and securely tape handle and corresponding incineration tag with duct tape.
  • Double bag as necessary to prevent leakage and/or protrusion of sharp edges.
  • Refrigerate or freeze waste between disposal and pickup.

Materials not packaged or labeled properly may be refused.

Incineration tags may be requested using the DRS Biowaste Disposal Form or via e-mail.

Transport of Materials to the Incineration Cooler

Properly packaged materials may be delivered during normal business hours (Monday-Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.) to the incineration cooler located on the loading dock at the rear of the Veterinary Medicine Basic Sciences Building (VMBSB).

  • Go to 1137 VMBSB, fill out the incineration log, and ask for the key to the incineration cooler.
  • Place the properly packaged waste in one of the large red carts located on the right (North) side of the cooler.
  • Relock the cooler and return the key to 1137 VMBSB.

Fixed Tissues

Fixatives must be separated from the tissue and placed in an approved container for collection and disposal through the DRS Chemical Waste program. Drained tissues are packaged according to incineration instructions.


Bedding from animals inoculated with infectious agents should be treated and disposed of by incineration. Bedding is packaged according to incineration instructions.

Pickup Requests

To schedule pickup of pathological waste for incineration, use the online Biowaste Disposal Form, or contact the DRS waste group via e-mail. For either method of transport, if more than 400 pounds of waste will be generated in a one-week time period, the principal investigator must provide three weeks’ notice.

Rendering Option

Rendering of pigs, horses, and cattle may be a disposal option as long as these animals:

  • Do not require incineration as specified above;
  • Have not been contaminated with radioactive materials;
  • Are not suspected of having rabies or have been cleared by a negative rabies test;
  • Do not contain insecticides, herbicides or rodenticides;
  • Do not contain polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) or polybrominated biphenyls (PBBs);
  • Do not contain heavy metals (e.g., lead, arsenic, chromium, cadmium, mercury, selenium);
  • Are not the central nervous systems of adult cattle over 30 months old.

Contact the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory at 217-244-7630 or via e-mail for more information.

Last Update: 5/19/2017