3 Stages of Medical Waste Disposal

Whether you are just starting out in the healthcare industry or have been doing this for a while, it's important to understand the medical waste removal process. Depending on the size of your organization, it can be rather complex, which leaves plenty of room for error. As a Maryland medical waste removal company, we work with numerous clients helping them comply with all the different regulations related to medical waste removal. And we are here today to help you visualize the entire process from start to finish.

Stage 1: Collection and Segregation

The best practice for medical waste collection is at the point of generation. This approach reduces the risk of the waste spilling on its way from the generation site to the collection container. For example, carrying a bloody gauze from the patient's bed to a waste container at the end of the room may lead to drips along the way, and is therefore impractical. For segregation purposes, biomedical waste is traditionally classified into these 8 categories:

  • General waste: paperwork, food waste, packaging materials, etc.
  • Radioactive waste: contaminated glassware and other waste from radiotherapy or lab research
  • Pharmaceutical waste: unused, expired or contaminated medications
  • Sharps: scalpels, needles, scissors, etc.
  • Pathological waste: organs, tissues and body parts
  • Infectious waste: items capable of transmitting an infection
  • Chemical waste: cleaning agents, lab reagents and similar chemicals
  • Pressurized containers: cylinders containing pressurized gas

Using the Right Containers

Use of the right collection containers based on the type of waste is crucial. Placing the wrong item in the wrong container may not only hinder safe disposal, but also pose risk of contaminating the environment or infecting your staff or patients. Here are the common medical waste containers and what they are used for:

  • Sharps containers are typically red, shatter-proof and close securely to prevent sharps from falling out or puncturing through.
  • Biohazard containers are red with a biohazard symbol in the front and are used for infectious and potentially infectious waste such as blood and bodily fluids.
  • Trace chemotherapy containers are yellow and are used for a variety of chemical and other types of waste that came in contact with chemo medications.
  • RCRA hazardous containers are black and are used for wastes that are classified as hazardous under RCRA, which includes a variety of chemical, pathological, infectious and other wastes.
  • Pharmaceutical containers are blue and are used for pharmaceutical waste.
  • Radioactive waste containers are yellow and have a radioactive symbol.

Stage 2: Storage and Transportation

Upon segregation, it is determined which waste is being picked up and disposed of through a medical waste removal vendor and which waste is reusable or can be disposed of on site. Whether you are working with a vendor or have an on-site autoclave or incinerator, you will probably need to store your medical waste somewhere until it can be processed in bulk. Storage areas should be chosen carefully and should be inaccessible to the general public. The way containers are transported to and from the storage site is also important, because you don't want to damage them in the process and cause a spill. If you are working with a medical waste removal company, be sure to choose a good one. You are responsible for your medical waste until it's been safely processed, and some unprofessional companies have been caught dumping such waste in places where it doesn't belong.

Stage 3: Treatment and Disposal

There are different ways medical waste can be treated and decontaminated. Incineration is a common approach that can be used on site or off site to both treat and dispose of waste at the same time. However, you can also decontaminate waste with thermal processing (autoclaving), irradiative, chemical or biological (enzyme) treatments. Chemical treatment is often used to decontaminate liquid waste, so that it can be disposed of locally. The rest of the methods can be used to decontaminate waste before it can be land-filled. Have other questions about medical waste removal best practices or regulations? Don't hesitate to get in touch with our team!

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Our Dedication to Providing the Highest Quality Regulated Waste Services
is Shown in What Our Clients Say About Our Work

We provide an outstanding value and service to our regulated waste customers and pride ourselves on our 100% customer satisfaction with 99% customer retention ratio.

“Our office has been utilizing the services of Biomedical Waste Services, Inc. (BWS) for well over a decade. Their caring, dedicated, and professional team have made it an absolute pleasure to do business with. They are always prompt and courteous in providing whatever service we ask of them. We highly recommend them for your practice!!”

Paul R Miller, D.D.S. and Team

“Our experience with BWS has been uniformly positive. Their services are prompt, professional, and reliable. Their prices are fair and upfront, with no hidden or recurring charges. We highly recommend them as a vendor.”

ZytoGen Patient Services

“My review from 2019: Still using BWS and still think they're great! My review from 2016: We've been doing business with BWS for a few years now, and their service and pricing are great. We previously used a company who provides the same service in our area but overcharged us for years. I would definitely recommend BWS to anyone in the market for waste disposal at a great price with excellent service.”

“I have fantastic very dependable experience using BWS. I have used them weekly for the last 17 years in my dental practice. There always on the day that they're supposed to be, there's never been an issue with any of the invoices.”

Akbar Masood, D.D.S.

“BWS has been handling our biohazardous waste disposal for three years. They have always been helpful and dependable. I recommend them to all who need biohazardous waste disposal services.”

Chris Donaldson

“Been working with BWS for 10+ years. Fantastic service, always on time and polite.”

Dharani Jasthi

“Prompt, professional, and awesome business. We have worked with them for years and couldn't be happier.”

Tomicka Jackson-George, D.M.D.

“I've used BWS for several years now. Their service is great and their fees are very reasonable, making BWS a great value in hazardous waste removal.”

Louis Sachs, D.D.S.

“Professional and always on time! Great service!”

Kate Blair English

“Great option for healthcare waste management. BWS is an independent owned professional organization that is built on integrity and trust. There is no other company in the region that I'd recommend more. Most others say the right things the folks at BWS do the right thing. I'll continue to recommend them.”

Dave Ryan

We are a medical practice in a new location and needed hazardous waste removal services. We have been so pleased with the level of service and professionalism on both the admin and field work end of BWS services, and their pricing is fair and flexible. We would highly recommend them to any medical practice in need of these services.

Kerry Owens, Avalon Plastic Surgery

Every staff member that I have interacted with has been very friendly. They are quick to respond to emails and do a great job.

Jamie Fleming, National Spine & Pain Centers

Excellent company. Received notification that I was on schedule, showed up as promised, and very professional service from office to driver. Excellent service!!!

Keith Roberts, Biomatrix Specialty Pharmacy

Great service! They are always responsive and ready to help. 100% recommended.

Mireia Pedragosa Marin, Synergy Research

They were responsive and quickly start services. They were also great at answering all my questions and updating on when services would start.

Rebecca Crouse, Randolph Macon Academy

We used BWS for sharps disposal at a doctor's office. I saw their bright truck in the parking lot at work which lead me to call for a quote. They responded to my inquiry quickly and thoroughly, answering all my questions. They gave me pricing that was very reasonable, and lower than many companies I checked. They were a pleasure to communicate with via phone and email, no phone tag! The truck arrived the day and time we planned. The driver was very personable and easy to communicate with. The people I interacted with seem to understand the value of customer service. I would highly recommend them. They will take care of you.

Melissa C, Patriot Chiropractic

Excellent, professional service and very reasonable price on medical waste removal. Danielle was fantastic to work with - thanks Danielle!

Dr. Rosario Ignacio

Reliable and affordable

Dr. Thomas Lutz, Odenton Family Dentistry

I've used BWS for several years now. Their service is great and their fees are very reasonable, making BWS a great value in hazardous waste removal. Over the 20+ years that I have used them the scope of their services has increased as well as making documentation of their service easier to use!

Dr. Louis Sachs, DDS

I ran a dental charity for many years, organizing huge clinics to treat those in need. BWS donated their waste disposal services for every clinic for many years, and they continue to do so to this day. This is always a huge job, and they are always reliable, dedicated, and fun to work with. They know what it means to give back.

Eric B.

Great service & professional reps

Brenda Shah

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