Medical Waste Disposal
Medical waste is one of the most sensitive types of waste, and its disposal needs to be handled with utmost precision and care. Despite this, not a lot of people know how to deal with it and are likely to mishandle it.
Well, worry not, because we will cover all the important aspects of medical waste! Let’s dive right in.
What is Medical Waste?
The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) defines biohazardous medical waste as "medical waste that is composed of one or more of the following: Cultures and stocks, Human blood and blood products, Human pathologic wastes, Research animal wastes, and Medical sharps." The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) also considers COVID waste as a level 3 biohazard and needs to be disposed of as medical waste. Essentially, any item that comes into contact with body fluids is medical waste. Primarily, the term covers solid waste that is the outcome of diagnosis, immunization, and any medical treatment of humans.
Types of Medical Waste
As you would expect, there are many types of medical waste. Medical waste can be in the form of:
● Personal protective equipment (PPE)
● Wipes or paper towels
● Gloves used in a medical procedure
● Used syringes with and without needles
Although this list is helpful in terms of understanding medical waste, it is not exhaustive. What you need to remember is that any kind of waste that comes from medical care is medical waste, and hence should be handled accordingly.
Different Ways to Deal with Medical Waste
Back in the day, you could only handle medical waste by collecting it in special, plastic boxes and bags. These boxes and bags were then thrown in normal trash. However, it was quickly realized that disposing medical waste without treating it first resulted in the spread of diseases and viruses.
Depending on the kind of medical waste you are dealing with, the following disposal processes can be used:
This process involves steam sterilization and focuses on completely destroying the microorganisms.
Incineration is a quick, easy, and simple disposal process that is aimed at safely removing microorganisms by burning them.
Chemical disinfection is another waste disposal method. This one is aimed at getting rid of liquid waste.
This process revolves around shredding the waste, mixing it with water, internally heating it to kill all the harmful elements, including microorganisms.
However, in Arizona, when dealing with biohazardous medical waste, it is important to hire an ADEQ licensed medical waste transporter to ensure your waste has been properly treated or disposed of at an approved facility. There are state laws regarding the proper storage, transfer, treatment, and disposal of biohazardous medical waste. A $25,000 fine may be issued by ADEQ to anyone who uses an unlicensed company to remove the waste. Visit https://azdeq.gov/BioMedWaste for more information and updated lists of transporters or give us a call with any questions.
Dispose of Medical Waste with Bio-One
Bio-One technicians follow strict state guidelines for safely removing and disposing medical waste in Tucson Area, thus minimizing the risks associated with these bio-hazardous materials. Our medical waste management services include 24-hour emergency response and weekly/monthly/quarterly transportation and disposal of bio-medical waste from medical examiners offices, hospitals, dental offices and nursing homes, and other facilities that generate bio-hazardous waste.
Using clearly marked containers, Bio-One experts are careful to properly dispose of medical waste that potentially carry blood borne pathogens. We also counsel paramedics and first responders—professionals at risk of handling bio-hazardous material—on how to best handle medical waste and limit the risks associated with their work.