Medical Waste Segregation Series: The Importance of Color Coding

Working together with medical waste generators, waste disposal companies (like Red Bags) can ensure public and environmental threats are eliminated and that compliance requirements are met.

Proper medical waste disposal is a very serious topic that affects hospitals, medical facilities, and various other industries. To protect the spread of disease, remain compliant with government standards and to keep the public and environment safe, it’s important that medical waste is disposed of responsibly.

In addition to working with a professional waste disposal company to handle the removal of the waste, there are steps in place to keep wastes separated and distinguishable for processing and proper destruction. This is known as medical waste segregation and uses color-coded collection containers. 

In this month’s blog series, we’ll be looking closely at the color coding system used for medical waste handling and what each container should include. 

Containers clearly marked for chemo, pharmaceutical, radioactive and hazardous waste all make it easier to identify and more importantly, to safely dispose of the waste.

The color coding system also makes it easier for those coming in contact with the waste bins to be cautious. The colors should remain consistent for any rooms in the facilities in terms of color no matter what size the collection bin, to keep consistent with identifying the type of waste that’s inside.

Here is a brief rundown:

  • Red Biohazard: Unlike the red container for sharps, this darker red color is for biohazard waste including blood, IV tubing and other infectious waste.
  • Yellow: Without the radioactive symbol affixed to the container, these yellow containers are for trace chemo from vials to gowns and gloves.
  • Black: These bins have special RCRA labeling and are used for solid hazardous chemical wastes including bulk chemo, and hazardous meds.
  • Blue: This medical waste container is used for Non Hazardous/Non DEA pharmaceuticals such as pills and other types of medication.

Working together with medical facilities, waste disposal companies can ensure public and environmental threats are eliminated and that compliance requirements are met.

Check back in the upcoming weeks as we look closely at how disposal processes change based on the type of waste in each bin and how to properly mark each type of waste. 

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Medical Waste Segregation

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