Veterinarians Protect Staff, Patients, & Communities with Proper Medical Waste Disposal Practices

In honor of National Spay/Neuter Awareness Month and World Spay Day (February 27), we’re highlighting a specific segment of medical waste generators – veterinary hospitals and clinics. Many veterinary practices are small businesses that play large roles in their communities by keeping pets healthy, supporting animal rescue organizations, and helping stop the spread of rabies and other diseases.

Because pet owners most often visit veterinary offices for preventative care – vaccinations, spay/neuter surgeries, etc. – it’s easy to forget that they are often small hospitals that can generate many of the same types of medical waste as human hospitals and medical offices. Indeed, for most companion animals, a veterinary hospital offers primary care, surgical care, emergency care, dental care, and end-of-life care. So, it’s no surprise that veterinarians must understand how to safely package and dispose of many types of regulated medical waste.
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INFOGRAPHIC: How Improper Disposal of Medical and Pharmaceutical Wastes Can Affect Health and Safety

Whether in the workplace or the home, the consequences of improper handling and disposal of medical and pharmaceutical wastes can be serious. The health and safety of healthcare providers, waste workers, and communities is at risk. Individual states and federal agencies including OSHA, DOT, USPS, DEA, and EPA regulate the handling, collection, transportation, and disposal of both pharmaceutical and medical wastes from businesses. Disposal guidelines and laws have also been put in place to provide safe disposal options for consumers.
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Transporting Regulated Medical Wastes for Disposal: What Is the Right Choice?

Did you know that there are different methods of transporting regulated medical wastes for disposal: mail-back programs and pick-up services? For some customers, mail-back is the more practical and economical option; where for others, pick-up service makes more sense. There are several factors that go into determining which option is the best. The most common include:

  • Regulatory considerations
  • Types and volumes of regulated wastes
  • Pick-up service contracts
  • Cost of transport

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The Need to Incinerate Discarded Pharmaceuticals

There has been an explosion of news coverage recently concerning issues with pharmaceuticals. There is an opioid epidemic, causing concerns for the proper management of opioids — mostly prescribed pills of pain relief opioids like Vicodin and Oxycontin. There is also a high level of environmental concern reflecting the disposal of medications of all types, as there are many studies that have been completed on the impacts of human-use pharmaceuticals on water habitats.

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How State Medical Waste Regulations Differ

Medical waste is regulated by many government agencies. This can make staying in compliance complicated and time-consuming. Since states, counties, and even cities can differ in their requirements, waste generators must be aware of all the different regulations. In this blog, we will discuss a number of differences between state medical waste regulations.

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