What Is Medical Waste? And Other Common Questions About Sharps & Medical Waste Disposal

Medical waste is generated by healthcare facilities (human and animal), research institutions, and even at home. Each time you have blood drawn, surgery, get a filling at the dentist, or visit a pharmacy for a flu shot, you create medical waste. Improper waste disposal has serious health and environmental consequences. Health professionals and consumers need to understand how to protect themselves and their communities.
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Types of Regulated Medical Waste

Every medical waste generator must have a solid understanding of the different types of regulated medical waste. Approximately 15% of the waste generated in healthcare is deemed regulated medical waste, and proper handling is critical. Improper disposal can spread disease and leave your facility open to fines and lawsuits. Make sure your staff understands what constitutes regulated medical waste and is appropriately trained on its handling, containment, packaging, labeling, storage, transport, and disposal.
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Part One: What’s Going into that Red Biohazard Bag?

This is an update of the article originally published on September 5, 2013.

Reducing Your Medical Waste Through RightClassificationSM – A Three Part Series

Decades after the Medical Waste Tracking Act prompted the passing of state medical waste regulations, red biohazard bags are still being filled with trash. Granted, we seldom see pizza boxes or drink cans in red bags anymore, but we still see trash, such as dressings, gauze, gloves, test strips, urine cups, empty medication vials, table and tray covers, device packaging, tubing, pads, and adults diapers. Proper waste segregation (RightClassification℠) is crucial to assure proper containment and disposal of trash, regulated medical waste (RMW), and hazardous waste. Many reasons are given as to why these items end up in red biohazard bags, including:

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Retail Pharmacies Implementing Safe Sharps Disposal Programs As Vaccination Rates Rise

In the United States, approximately 50,000 adults die each year from vaccine-preventable diseases. The immunization shortfall has multiple causes, but health experts agree that leveraging “non-traditional sites of vaccination delivery” can help overcome barriers to care. Retail pharmacies play an important role in this effort. Between 2007 and 2013, the number of vaccinations dispensed by community pharmacies rose from 3.2 million to 20.9 million.
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Brookdale Senior Living & Sharps Compliance: 9 Questions for a Long-Standing Sharps Customer

Each day, Brookdale Senior Living serves over 100,000 seniors in more than 1,000 communities in 46 states. Brookdale is the only provider operating at this scale across all segments of the senior living continuum. Levels of care offered include independent living, assisted living, Alzheimer’s and dementia care, rehabilitation and skilled nursing, continuing care retirement communities, and a variety of ancillary services including home health and hospice care.
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