Medical Waste Disposal: How It Works, Who Needs It and Why. Medical waste disposal is a complex process. When it comes to disposing of wastes from hospitals, clinics and other healthcare facilities, there are many things to take into consideration. There are many types of medical waste, knowing what you are dealing with needs to be considered before deciding on the best way to dispose of any particular medical wastes.
What is Medical Waste?
Medical wastes are waste from health care procedures, such as those found in hospitals or other healthcare facilities. These wastes can come from any number of sources, including discarded needles and equipment used to provide care to patients, medical gowns, and bandages. In general, medical waste is healthcare waste that that may be contaminated by blood, body fluids or other potentially infectious materials and is often referred to as regulated medical waste.
Despite the name, it’s not just about medical waste disposal for doctors. Medical wastes can also be generated by laboratories, dentists’ offices, veterinary clinics, and many other places that provide health and non-health related services. Medical waste doesn’t typically pose a risk to the environment or human health if it is disposed of properly.
Who Needs Medical Waste Disposal?
It’s not just hospitals that need medical waste disposal. Hospitals and clinics are the main generators of medical waste, but they are not the only ones. Other facilities like tattoo shops, med spa’s, body piercing procedures, doctor’s offices, nursing homes, dentists, and veterinary specialists may also generate medical wastes that will need to be disposed of properly.
Types of Medical Waste Disposal
There are many different types of medical waste that require disposal. Disposal methods vary by the type of medical waste that is generated. Proper segregation directly affects proper disposal.
Some of the most common types of medical waste disposal methods include.
Autoclaving, a combination of high temperatures and pressure to destroy the medical waste.
Irradiative, exposure to gamma rays that are fatal to viruses and bacteria.
Chemical treatments, also known as biological or enzyme treatments: chemical disinfectants that render the medical waste harmless.
Microwave 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.
Once the medical waste has been treated using the appropriate method it is decontaminated and is harmless. Any residue can be shredded, recycled, placed safely in landfills, or all the above.
At Healthcare Waste Management, we own the trucks that come to your facility, we employ the drivers that come into your facility, and we own the destruction plants that destroy your waste. By having one company handle your waste from ‘cradle-to-grave’ allows us to bring our customers, the best process, products, and services with significant savings compared to the industry standard pricing. We do this while reducing our client’s impact on the environment which is a true win-win. Best processes, pricing and practices is what we built our company on.
United States Environmental Protection Agency – Medical Waste. Accessed 02-22-22. https://www.epa.gov/rcra/medical-waste
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – Infection Control. Accessed 02-22-22. https://www.cdc.gov/infectioncontrol/guidelines/environmental/background/medical-waste.html
OSHA 1910.1030 – Bloodborne pathogens. Standards, Occupational Safety. Accessed 02-22-22. https://www.osha.gov/laws-regs/regulations/standardnumber/1910/1910.1030
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