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Where does Biohazard Waste Go?

October 4, 2021

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Where does Biohazard Waste Go?

Biohazard waste is dangerous to people, animals, and the planet and must be dealt with so that it is rendered harmless. Both the states and the federal government have created strict guidelines when it comes to biohazard waste. Biohazard waste is any item that contains infectious or potentially infectious agents and is generate in both medical and non-medical facilities where human or animal blood, fluids, byproducts, or tissues exist. While organizations that generate biohazard waste are responsible for compliance for handling, storing, and ultimate destruction. The question remains from many as to where biohazard waste goes and what is its journey?

Types of biohazard waste can include but are not limited to:

Local, State, and Federal Guidelines:

Regulated medical waste and biohazard waste came under scrutiny with the enactment of the Medical Waste Tracking Act of 1988. The purpose of the Act was to research, assess, analyze, and define medical waste disposal and define strict guidelines for the proper handling, storage, and disposal of medical waste. After the 2-year process, each state created their own laws regarding medical waste and coordinate working with federal agencies to enforce compliance.

The goal was to create guidelines for any facility that generates medical waste to restrict the chance of transmission of potentially dangerous diseases and reduce the amount of any medical waste so that it was harmless if placed in a landfill. One of the results of the 1988 MWTA showed that sharps made up the biggest amount of medical waste with blood and body fluids making up the second largest amount.

How is Biohazard Waste Disposed of?

Regulated medical waste, which includes biohazard waste, must be stored in pre-approved containers, and then disposed of by licensed and certified medical waste disposal companies. State and federal agencies strictly monitor the journey from the moment of generation to the required proof of destruction.  There are three most common ways to dispose of medical waste:

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