medical waste generated

Last updated on February 28, 2022

The answer may surprise you. The wide world of medical waste encompasses such varied facilities as hospitals, dental clinics, veterinarians, public buildings, pharmacies, and medspas.

Whether you’re managing a nursing home, funeral home, or just your own home, Sharps Compliance can help you comply with local, state, and federal regulations regarding the storage, labeling, shipment, and treatment of regulated medical, pharmaceutical, and hazardous wastes.

Regulated Medical Waste in Hospitals, Surgery Centers, and Clinics

  • Hospitals provide many different services to patients, including tests, primary care, surgeries, and other treatments. They generate a variety of regulated medical wastes, including sharps, chemotherapy, pharmaceutical, and hazardous wastes.
  • Surgery centers generate many of the same types of medical wastes as hospitals. It’s crucial to ensure that staffers are trained to identify, segregate, package, and store medical waste – particularly what goes into red bags and what does not. Disposal costs for regulated medical waste are much higher than for regular trash.
  • Urgent care clinics are on the front lines of primary healthcare and provide various patient services, including COVID-19 tests, vaccines, and drug screenings. Patients may present with symptoms as diverse as minor aches and pains, psychiatric disorders, or serious illnesses that require emergency transport in a single day.

Blood Banks and Clinical Labs Generate RMW

  • Blood banks play a critical role in our healthcare system by collecting, storing, and distributing blood for patients needing transfusions. Compliance with OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens, DOT, and other federal and state-mandated staff training is critical to ensure that all RMW is properly handled, transported, and treated.
  • Over 200,000 clinical laboratories generate medical waste in the United States. These specialized medical labs provide screening and diagnostic tests on clinical specimens (both human and animal). Federal agencies, including OSHA, DOT, EPA, and various state and local agencies, regulate the handling and disposal of the medical wastes generated.

RMW Generated by Veterinarians, Doctors, & Dentists

  • Veterinarians: Medical waste generated by veterinary hospitals is similar to waste generated from the care of humans — both entail a range of sharps, diagnostic wastes, and treatment wastes. In addition, veterinarians may also have to dispose of waste generated from animals infected with zoonotic diseases that could be passed along to humans.

Veterinarians play a role in helping combat the opioid crisis and protect patients, staff, and communities through proper medical waste disposal practices. Our medical waste disposal solutions for veterinary hospitals provide both mailback and pickup services for the comprehensive management of sharps and other surgical and diagnostic wastes.

  • Physician Offices: Medical waste management in doctors’ offices is serious. They may see hundreds of patients each week, so staffers must be vigilant in using proper PPE and practicing safe handling and disposal procedures for regulated medical wastes, including sharps waste, medical wastes, and unused sample medications.
  • Dental offices generate a wide variety of medical and hazardous wastes, including sharps waste and specialized items like dental anesthetic carpules that require special handling. For example, dental offices are subject to regulations that help protect people and the environment from mercury contamination. Our dental amalgam recycling systems contain everything required to recycle dental amalgam and certain other dental wastes safely.

Medical and Pharmaceutical Wastes Generated by Pharmacies

Retail pharmacies are administering increasing numbers of vaccines to the public. As of December 2021, they had administered a third of all COVID-19 vaccines in the United States. The increased demand for immunizations, tests, and other services at community pharmacies can place additional stress on the staff and increase the need for safe medical waste collection and disposal. Sharps Compliance offers mailback sharps disposal systems in multiple sizes and packaging configurations.

Community pharmacies also play a role in educating the public about the dangers of prescription drug diversion and the need for convenient pharmaceutical waste disposal solutions in community settings. Pharmacies must also safely manage the storage of several types of drugs classified as hazardous waste when discarded, including commonly-prescribed medications like Warfarin (Jantoven, etc.).

Beyond just our sharps mailbacks, Sharps Compliance’s pharmacy solutions also include hazardous drug spill control kits and ultimate-user medication mailback envelopes.

Medical and Pharmaceutical Wastes in Long-Term Care, Hospice, & Home Healthcare Settings

We partner with some of the country’s largest long-term care (LTC) organizations, including assisted living facilities, skilled nursing facilities, memory care, and independent living communities. Our medical waste disposal solutions for LTC facilities include the following:

Home health and hospice settings have unique waste needs to ensure a safe and hygienic home environment. Some of our solutions that prove particularly useful for these customers include our medication envelopes, asset return systems, and IV poles.

RMW in Other Public Facilities & Consumer-Oriented Settings

Many people are surprised by the many non-healthcare-related businesses and public institutions that have to dispose of wastes generated by individuals. We can create custom medical waste disposal solutions to help these facilities compliantly manage their wastes:

  • Tattoo studios: Improper disposal of the sharps used in body modification, including tattooing and piercing, can spread bloodborne diseases. We offer sharps containers in several sizes to meet the needs of individual studios.
  • MedSpas: As consumer use of medspas increases, these facilities have come under increased regulatory scrutiny. MedSpas must comply with state and federal medical waste disposal regulations as well as worker safety regulations developed by OSHA, particularly with regards to sharps disposal of injectable products
  • Funeral homes: Many funeral home employees are regularly exposed to strong chemicals and biomedical wastes involved in the embalming process. Other regulated wastes created by funeral providers include sharps waste, PPE, and swabs/dressings contaminated with bodily fluids.
  • Consumer settings: Retailers, restaurants, airports, and other public facilities often find used needles and syringes mixed in with regular garbage in restrooms. More than 8 million Americans self-inject medications, making needle disposal in public places an important public health issue. Our Sharps Secure system features lockable wall enclosures designed for use with Sharps Recovery System sharps containers and prepaid mailing boxes. In addition, many employers are struggling to manage on-site employee testing and the resulting PPE and testing wastes.

The Sharps Compliance Advantage

We offer responsible, regulatory-compliant solutions for managing medical, pharmaceutical, hazardous, and universal wastes. Our team of regulatory experts monitors every rule change and updates our services to comply with state and federal regulatory guidelines.

Request a free rate quote online or call us at 800.772.5657 to learn how we can create an affordable, custom medical waste management solution for your organization

Kathryn earned her Masters in Public Health with a concentration in Epidemiology from Texas A&M University and her Bachelor of Science from the University of Texas. She is certified in high-complexity testing by the ASCP and has been published in the journal Cancer Cytopathology. Her experience ranges from the clinical laboratory to compliance expertise in biohazardous waste management.

published in Medical Waste