A look at New Jersey medical waste requirements.
New Jersey medical waste management is governed by the state’s Department of Environmental Protection, which, much like other states, outlines medical waste definitions, storage requirements, and acceptable treatment options.
Definitions of medical waste are pretty much status quo; the list includes cultures and stocks, pathological waste, blood products and human blood, sharps waste, animal waste, as well as unused sharps.
It was actually in 2013 that Congressman Frank Pallone re-introduced the Medical Waste Management Act of 2013 in an effort to crack down on ocean polluters with waste disposal regulations. The Medical Waste Management Act called for a tracking system that held medical waste generators accountable, as syringes were washing up on Island Beach State Park. As such, the New Jersey medical waste regulations require all medical waste generators, transporters, handlers and destination facilities to track medical waste, regardless of the volume generated.
Thus, generators must ensure that all regulated medical waste is placed in specific containers depending on the waste contents; sharps must be placed in puncture resistant packaging, sealed to prevent leaking, and rigid. Similarly, all other wastes including red bag waste must be stored in bags that are rigid, leak-resistant, and strong enough that it prevents tearing or bursting under normal conditions of use and handling.
The legislation didn’t quite differ entirely from its original counterpart, however new provisions included specific requirements for waste generators and disposers to register with the EPA and comply with all labeling, packaging and storage requirements. It also provided resources necessary for them to take swift action in their investigations, and present an annual report to Congress on the state of medical waste management.
Tracking is stringent in the state, and the cradle-to-grave process is explicit; every generator shipping medical waste off-site is responsible for initiating the New Jersey RMW Tracking Form. Each person in the chain of custody of medical waste assumes the responsibility for getting the waste to the proper destination facility for treatment, destruction, or disposal.
Reports from generators are required yearly to the DEP.
The political force and attention that was placed on the importance of safe medical waste disposal has ensured a greater oversight and more effective enforcement of medical waste in the state of New Jersey.
Learn how other states handle medical waste requirements.
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