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Donating Plasma and the Medical Waste Generated

Medical Waste Generated from Plasma Donation

The medical waste that is created in the process of plasma donation and screening can include but is not limited to: chemicals, reagents and kits, blood bags, blood, and sharps/needles. To avoid contamination, each item and material must be carefully stored so that it can be treated and ultimately transitioned to a harmless condition for disposal. Strict guidelines have been established that must be followed by all staff and volunteers within a plasma donation center as well as the medical waste disposal companies that pick up, treat and dispose of the remnants. The guidelines have been created to avoid transmission to people, the community, and the environment.

Sharps are any item that has been potentially contaminated and could pierce the skin. Sharps can include but are not limited to: hypodermic needles, scalpels, broken or whole glass and plastic, pipettes, and knives. These are particularly dangerous and to avoid accidents they must be carefully placed inside a leak-proof, puncture-proof bag that can be sealed and then placed into a sturdy, sealable container. All bags and containers must have the biohazard label on them. Containers are only filled ¾ full to avoid piercing accidents. Sharps are typically autoclaved, which is a process of high-pressure steam heat and grinding that renders them harmless.

All other materials involved in plasma donation are placed inside sturdy, leak-proof containers that can be sealed. The biohazard labels are also placed on these containers so that they can be easily identified for appropriate disposal. Treatment of these materials is dependent upon individual state laws and can include incineration, autoclaving, and/or chemical treatment to render them harmless. A licensed, professional medical waste disposal company will be knowledgeable on all state, local, and federal laws so that a donation facility can be compliant.

Life-saving plasma is critical for those that are fighting horrible diseases. Blood plasma is referred to as “the gift of life” and can be used for everything from rare disorders to helping premature babies. The process of getting plasma from donated blood requires professionals that can test for the efficacy of the blood and then separating the plasma from the blood. Due to the potential of contamination from bloodborne pathogens, each step involves items and materials that must be stored, treated, and disposed of using strict guidelines established. Like any facility that deals with potential contaminants, plasma donation facilities are responsible for all materials in a “cradle-to-grave” concept. This means that the facility is accountable from the moment that the materials were generated to the final safe treatment and disposal. Blood plasma donation centers rely on licensed, professional medical waste disposal companies to pick up, treat, and dispose of all materials involved in the process of getting the plasma.

What is Plasma?

When you remove the white blood cells, red blood cells, other cellular components, and platelets from blood, it leaves a clear, light tan colored liquid that is plasma. 55% of our blood is made of plasma and it is the portion of the blood that carries medium for cells and other requirements for our bodies. Plasma is made up of 90% water and helps in body functions such as fighting diseases and blood clotting.

Method of Getting Plasma

When someone is donating plasma they must first have their blood tested to ensure that it is safe and doesn’t carry any transmittable diseases. The process of testing creates medical waste.

Source plasma is the method of collection that is referred to as plasmapheresis. Healthy volunteers donate their blood and the plasma is separated and is used for fractionation, which is a manufacturing process, as well as final therapies. In most cases the donors are compensated for their time and donation.

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Parent page – Medical Waste Disposal


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