Medical Waste Environmental Series: Packaging Your Medical Waste for Disposal

Medical waste packaging for pickup and transport is an important part of the disposal process. Here are some fast facts and tips.

On-site management of regulated medical waste is a multi-pronged issue, as there are state and federal regulations, all of which cover packaging, disposal, handling, and removal. Many states require that facilities that deal with medical waste have a plan to meet OSHA requirements, and part of that is properly packing up medical waste based on its contents. From sharps containers to red bag waste, each will require a specific method to package, seal, and dispose. Here’s how to be environmentally safe and legally compliant when packaging waste.

Identity the Type Of Waste

Sharps waste? Liquid? Contaminated linens? Hazardous chemicals? The contents make all the difference when it comes to packaging waste. If it’s sharps waste, such as needles, lancets, scalpels, or other, it must go in an approved-sharps container. If it’s contaminated linens, be sure to put it in red bag waste.

Labels Are Important

Red bags are red for a reason, just as sharps containers are rigid and puncture proof and are affixed with the proper labels.  This alerts staff and waste haulers to the contents, and also potential contagions within the medical waste container. Many states categorize waste into sub-categorizes, such as cultures and stocks, human blood, blood products, sharps, and animal waste.  Keeping types of medical waste separate and using properly marked containers is not only mandated by law, it helps you choose how and when, not to mention whom removes the waste for you.

Be Aware of Contents That Can Leak

Once medical waste is discarded in its proper container, it must be handled and transported in accordance with the law not only for compliance reasons, but also for health and safety reasons. Of course, before transport it must be placed in a semi-rigid, leak proof container which is impervious to moisture, such as a red bag. You can’t just place medical waste in a trash bag and call it a day.

Seal It Up!

Medical waste generators must seal wastes in durable bags and place them into plastic tubs or corrugated boxes. Use tape when necessary or auto-locking boxes. Zip ties are acceptable for a good seal.

It’s because of this we here at Red Bags stress compliance and accountability with our customers. Do you have a medical waste management plan? Are your containers properly labeled and filled? Are you storing your medical waste out of common areas and away from general traffic? Proper packaging, labeling and transportation of regulated medical waste is mandated by federal and state regulations. Even if you follow everything to the letter, don’t rely on just anyone to transport and haul away your medical waste. Remember, you are still responsible for it, even when it leaves your facility!

If an incident occurs at any point during your waste’s lifecycle, you will be held liable and may also be obligated to pay costs associated with cleanup and penalties.

For questions or concerns about medical waste packaging, contact a Red Bags representative today.

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Packaging Medical Waste

Service Areas: Long Island Medical Waste; New York City Medical Waste; Westchester Medical Waste and more!