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Biohazard Waste Disposal: The Best Practices

October 20, 2021

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Biohazard Waste Disposal: The Best Practices

Biohazard Waste Disposal: The Best Practices. Biohazardous waste disposal is the act of treating, containing, and disposing of biohazardous wastes. Biohazardous waste includes infectious material such as blood, bodily fluids, and some medical and lab materials that may carry some form of disease or infection. There are several ways to dispose of biohazardous waste including incineration, chemical disinfection, autoclaving, microwave irradiation, foam steam sterilization, dry heat sterilization or bleach treatment.

What Is Biohazardous Waste?

Biohazardous waste is any material that can transfer or harbor infectious diseases or pathogens. It includes blood, body fluids, tissue, diseased tissue, and medical and laboratory waste. Biohazardous waste can come from a variety of sources, such as hospitals, labs, blood banks, surgical centers, etc. These sources may be contaminated with bacteria, viruses, and parasites such as HIV and hepatitis.

Where Does Biohazardous Waste Come From?

A wide variety of waste comes from different sources such as hospitals, clinics, home health care agencies, dialysis facilities, laboratories, nursing homes, blood donation centers, pharmacies, and funeral homes. The biggest sources of biohazardous waste are hospitals, diagnostic clinics, pharmacies, home health care facilities, and nursing homes. When it comes to blood, bodily fluids, and medical and lab waste, the biggest sources of these kinds of waste include hospitals, clinics, home health care agencies, and transfusion facilities.

What is a Safe Disposal Method?

There are a different disposal methods, and in some cases, certain waste must be treated in a certain manner per current regulations and laws. The disposal and method are documented with a Manifest and the Manifest needs to be retained for three years, your specific regulations may vary check with local and state authorities on manifest document retention policies.


Biohazardous waste incineration is the process of burning the wastes in an enclosed incinerator, resulting in the incineration of the toxic wastes. An incinerator may also burn a combination of different types of waste such as waste from medical and laboratory settings.

Chemical Disinfection

Chemical disinfection involves the use of disinfectants that work through contact with the source of the contamination. The disinfectant generally comprises several chemical compounds. Generally, the disinfectants used in chemical disinfection methods are a mixture of bleach, bromine, ammonia, or ethyl acetate. More chemicals can be added to lower the risk of cross-contamination.


Autoclaving is a method of heating that uses high pressure steam for a set time and temperature usually around 300 degrees to kill pathogens, such as bacteria or viruses. This process disinfects the waste prior to final disposal. Some states then require that waste to be shredded.



Microwave irradiation disinfects waste by exposing it to gamma rays that are fatal to bacteria. A radioactive isotope of cobalt is employed. This is basically the same radiation source used for radiation treatment of cancer. In cancer treatment, radiation is intended to kill the malignant cells. In irradiation for sterilization of equipment or treatment of waste, the radiation is intended to kill pathogens.

Chemical Treatment

Microwave disinfection works only when there is water in the waste. because the radiation directly works on the water, not the solid components of the waste. For this reason, treatment units are often supplied with a humidifier. Processing time is determined by the manufacturer and experience of the operators, but somewhere about 20 minutes per batch.

If your facility generates medical waste the best practice is to hire an experienced medical waste management company who must stay current on all the laws and regulations for treating your medical waste, they will know what waste requires what treatment and explain how the waste should be segregated.

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