Reducing Medical Waste and Making It More Sustainable

Did you know that you can make significant improvements in your medical waste generation rate by simply implementing an education and training program focused on proper segregation?

What percentage of your waste is considered medical waste? If your numbers are on the higher side, you may be classifying your waste incorrectly.  

This surplus of waste not only costs more money, but can lead to problems with compliance and safety, not to mention it poses a threat to our environment. Furthermore, employing sustainability practices, such as reducing energy use and waste, and properly managing pharmaceuticals are directly correlated with improved risk management and environmental protection. How can medical waste generators be more mindful of medical waste and moving towards a more sustainable platform?

Segregate waste properly

The process of segregating wastes into the right categories can greatly reduce the volume of what’s considered regulated medical waste. You wouldn’t put paper trash into red bag waste, nor would you put sharps in a trash receptacle. In these situations, you’re either paying for unnecessary services or violating OSHA regulations, thereby running the risk of hefty fines and penalties. Know what’s considered common refuse, non-infectious waste, hazardous waste, and universal waste and discard appropriately.

Reduce packaging as needed

A significant portion of medical waste removal is the packaging used to contain medical waste. Employ the use of reusable sharps containers and only empty containers when they are full. Don’t use large-sized red bags for smaller red bag waste volume. Rely on reusable regulated medical waste containers.

Reuse single use devices (SUD)

According to the CDC, the reuse of single-use medical devices began in the late 1970s and is considered a cost-saving measure. While still a controversial topic, almost all surgical hospitals reprocess its supply of reusable surgical instruments through cleaning, inspection, and sterilization. Whether a reusable instrument is reused or discarded depends on the hospital’s inspection process prior to re-sterilization. Check with state and federal laws to see if this is an option.

Have a plan

Having (and following!) a medical waste management plan ensures that your waste is managed, safe, compliant, and reduced. Have a chain of command, and have clear and concise steps for disposing of medical waste.

Rely on a disposal company that understands compliant waste removal

Choosing a medical waste disposal company means looking for a company that strictly adheres to compliance policies and provides reliable services at affordable rates. Companies like Red Bags can help your facility customize a waste removal plan that is not only sustainable, but better for the environment and your bottom line. We maintain a highly trained staff that is properly equipped for medical waste removal so you can focus on keeping your staff and community healthy.

Stay up to date on medical waste laws by subscribing to the Red Bags blog.

You Might Also Like:

Reducing Medical Waste

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