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Medical Waste Management: Ways to Optimize Your Healthcare Facility

December 28, 2021

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Medical Waste Management: Ways to Optimize Your Healthcare Facility

Medical Waste Management: Ways to Optimize Your Healthcare Facility. Managing healthcare waste is an important responsibility. Healthcare facilities generate different types of waste, ranging from infectious to hazardous. The type of healthcare facility will determine the amount of medical waste it generates, but for any facility, there are steps you can take to reduce or minimize the risk. Here are some ways to optimize your healthcare facility.

Understanding the Different Types of Healthcare Waste

While healthcare waste is generated by all types of healthcare facilities, the type of facility will impact the type of medical waste generated. Hospitals, for example, generate more infectious and hazardous waste, than a doctor’s office.

Any healthcare facility generates some amount of infectious medical waste, which is defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as “potentially spreading disease.” Examples include bodily fluids from living or deceased patients, certain laboratory specimens, and contaminated items like bed linens or bandages. For this reason, any healthcare facility should be aware of how to dispose of infectious medical waste in accordance with local regulations.

Regardless of the facility type, there are ways that you can optimize your processes to dispose of medical waste safely and in compliance with guidelines.

Establish a Medical Waste Management Plan

The first thing you should do is establish a medical waste management plan to determine how you will deal with medical waste.

Some states require this Michigan for example, Required of all medical waste producing facilities. Must list and describe the type(s) of medical waste produced and method(s) of packaging, storage, treatment, and disposal used for each medical waste type. The facility must have on file on the premises and make available to the DEQ during inspections.

To minimize the risks, it’s important that you dispose of your medical waste properly with a licensed company.

Before establishing a management plan, find out what type of medical waste your facility generates and how often it is generated. This will help you better understand what your needs are and how best to manage your medical waste disposal.

Reduce or Minimize Waste

One of the most important things you can do to reduce and manage your healthcare waste is to educate your staff on your facilities policies, your states regulations, and best practices.

Simple things like throwing packaging in the biohazard waste container, when really it is just regular trash, it doesn’t need to be treated can reduce your footprint and save on medical waste disposal cost.

Proper segregation by waste type can save on cost and expensive fines for improper treatment and disposal processes because something was placed in the wrong container. An example of this would be Pharmaceuticals in the red biohazard bag.

It’s also important that you provide them with the necessary supplies, like gloves and masks, to reduce their risk while they are working.

At least once a year, your staff should review the policies, regulations, and safety steps for handling medical waste, including how to handle sharps, hazards, other contaminated materials your facility generates.

Educating your staff will ensure that they are well prepared.

Monitor and Update your Plan as Needed

It’s important to have a plan for your healthcare facility that addresses medical waste. That plan should be monitored and updated as needed, to make sure it reflects the current needs of your facility.

Reviewing your plan periodically will help you make any adjustments necessary to keep the facility safe. For example, if you change which type of needles are used in the facility or what types of sharps are permitted within the facility, those updates should be reflected in your plan.

This will also help you identify any gaps in your plan, such as not having a plan for handling sharps generated by patients with diabetes. Make sure to share these plans with staff members and update them as necessary.


Managing medical waste is a task that can be daunting and time-consuming for facilities and staff, but it doesn’t have to be this way. There are many ways to optimize your facility and reduce the amount of time and resources devoted to this task. With the right plan in place, you can effectively reduce or minimize your medical waste and save both time and money.

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