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Types of Medical Waste & How to Segregate

November 10, 2021

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Types of Medical Waste & How to Segregate

Types of Medical Waste & How to Segregate. Medical waste should be segregated at the point of generation by the person who generated it. This means your facility should have identified the generation points, the types of waste that could be generated and have the appropriate containers available for proper disposal.

Most fines levied against medical waste generators are not because a facility has a blatant disregard for the medical waste laws, it is because the employees didn’t understand, what waste, goes where, or the appropriate container wasn’t available. Below we have listed the most common containers found in a general healthcare setting, doctor’s office, general practitioner, dentist, veterinarian, etc. Other containers maybe required for chemotherapy treatment centers, radioactive waste, and surgery centers.  

Sharps containers are usually red in color with the biohazard symbol and the words sharps container printed on them. They are made of a puncture-resistant and leak-proof container, with a one-way top used to dispose of sharps, that can be sealed when full. Sharps containers can contain the following items.


Biohazard containers are red in color and are identified with the biohazard symbol on the front. These containers are for infectious and potentially infectious waste that may include but are not limited to bodily fluids and blood. These containers can include red bags, cardboard boxes, and solid plastic bins. The biohazard container can contain some of the following items.


Pharmaceutical containers are blue in color and are for pharmaceutical waste that can include expired, contaminated, or unused non-hazardous medications. Below are some of the items that


RCRA hazardous containers are black in color and are for pharmaceutical wastes defined as hazardous under RCRA, which can include but are not limited to D, U, and P listed pharmaceuticals, Antineoplastic, Mercury, and Chemical Sterilizing Agents.


Dual Waste Containers are purple in color and are for Hazardous and Infectious waste such as Syringes, bulk pharmaceuticals, ampoules with meds, live vaccines, syringe, or vial with RCRA or P listed pharmaceuticals.


Trace chemotherapy containers are yellow in color and hold RCRA empty syringes, vials, IV bags where less than 3% remains in a chemical and other forms of RCRA medical waste.


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