Biohazardous waste, also called infectious waste is waste contaminated with potentially infectious agents or other materials that are considered a threat to human health or the environment.
Examples of this waste include but are not limited to contaminated cultures, petri dishes, and other culture flasks, infectious agents, wastes from bacteria, viruses, spores; sharps like hypodermic needles, blades, and slides; human or animal blood, elements of blood, bodily fluids or semi-liquid materials.
Now of course this kind of waste needs to be disposed of with a great deal of care. You can’t just throw these things into the dustbin like you do with the other household waste.
They should be disposed in proper bio-hazard waste containers.
Under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires that drugs that meet the criteria for being a hazardous waste must be properly disposed. These RCRA-hazardous wastes require separately labeled containers.
The most commonly used containers here are black containers but there is no specific regulatory requirement for the color. It’s good if you pick and stick to a specific color scheme, so that it’s easier for the workers to identify the proper pharmaceutical waste containers.
Usually healthcare facilities generate RCRA-hazardous wastes with these three designations: P-listed, D-listed, and U-listed hazardous waste. Be sure that the bio-hazard waste container s you are using has the appropriate DOT package rating for the type of hazardous waste you’ll be shipping. (DOT stands for Department of Transportation.)
It is a best practice, and a legal requirement in California, to dispose of non-RCRA-hazardous biological waste at a non-RCRA-hazardous facility permitted for incineration (burning). This step is necessary so that drinking water doesn’t get contaminated.
Nowadays, most of the medical waste is not incinerated, therefore clear labels that read “Incineration Only” are necessary.
It is very important that your staff understands details of medical waste disposal and what should be disposed in which container.
You must train your staff about using the correct quantity, size and type of waste containers and it is a skill that your staff must master. Be sure to check the regulations for minimum requirements. (DOT requires employees to be trained within 90 days of taking on a task and every 3 years, thereafter.)
If all this sounds too technical or intimidating then I’d suggest hiring or consulting a good medical waste disposal company. Such companies specialize in healthcare waste management and thus can provide you with a consultation based on your requirements.