For some people, out of sight is out of mind. But, what exactly happens to all your organization’s medical waste once the containers are hauled away?
Ever wonder what happens to medical waste once it’s picked up? Where does this waste go once it is collected? More importantly, what are the risks associated with improper disposal?
Medical waste, also known as biohazardous waste, is waste that contains potentially infectious materials, but it isn’t exclusive to hospitals and doctors’ offices. Hazardous waste can be found anywhere that blood, fluids, tissues, or byproducts are present, such as tattoo parlors, veterinary practices, assisted living facilities, labs, and even funeral parlors.
If you’ve visited a doctor’s office, hospital, or other facility that deals with hazardous waste, you’re probably familiar with the containers that collect medical waste, such as red bags, sharps containers, and biohazardous receptacles. This waste isn’t taken out with the regular trash at the end of the day. Biohazardous waste is dealt with according to specific laws and regulations to prevent the spread of infection and to protect the environment from contamination.
The two primary methods to deal with biohazardous waste once it’s been disposed of in properly-labeled medical waste packaging are incineration and autoclaving. After a licensed hauler retrieves the materials, the next step depends on the waste itself.
Incineration is essentially the burning of medical waste in a controlled manner and in a dedicated incinerator. Incineration reduces what goes into landfills, the waste is completely sterilized, the volume is reduced, and is kept out of the physical environment.
Autoclaving is a much different process, as it uses moist heat to sterilize various medical waste, from medical instruments, applicators, and other items that contain microorganisms. During the sterilizing process, steam is continuously entering the autoclave to thoroughly kill all dangerous microorganisms. Autoclaving still has limitations. It does not take care of hazardous materials like chemical waste and pharmaceutical waste.
Other methods of medical waste disposal include mechanical or chemical disinfection, microwave treatments, and irradiation.
Medical waste must be collected by a licensed medical waste hauler, as this waste disposal is closely monitored and regulated in most states. The waste must be treated and rendered harmless before it can be recycled or thrown away. Let RedBags take care of your disposal to mitigate risk, maintain compliance, and keep communities safe. Contact us today!