According to the Missouri Solid Waste Management rules, biomedical waste, or infectious waste, is a waste that is capable of producing an infectious disease because it contains strong enough and numerous enough pathogens that someone who comes in contact with it could contract an infectious disease.
Infectious waste is found in healthcare facilities as well as schools, tattoo shops, medical spas, nursing homes, and manufacturing facilities. If improperly managed, it can pose serious health risks and result in severe penalties.
What are the requirements for disposal?
The regulatory requirements governing infectious waste management and disposal are found in the St. Louis County Waste Management Code. A brief synopsis is listed here for informational purposes only.
The requirements for packaging, tracking, shipping, and treatment or disposal are based on the quantity of waste and who generated it. The three classifications are individuals, small-quantity generators (SQG), and large-quantity generators (LQG).
Individuals are mostly exempt from regulatory requirements for infectious waste generated at home. However, sharps, such as hypodermic needles and syringes must be properly packaged in a leak-proof sharps container with a tight-fitting lid before being placed in household trash. Other infectious waste should be placed inside any color plastic bag and tied off before being placed in household trash.
Small-Quantity Generators are any business or entity that produces less than or equal to 100kg (approx. 220 lbs) of infectious waste in one month. This includes most doctors’ and dentists’ offices, veterinary clinics, tattoo shops, health departments, schools, motels and hotels, home health agencies, and nursing homes. Small-Quantity Generators have four options for infectious waste management:
- Mail sharps to a permitted treatment facility via USPS
- Treat the infectious waste on-site, then transport it to a permitted disposal facility
- Transport the waste directly to a permitted treatment center
- Hire a licensed infectious waste transporter, such as Preferred Waste Concepts, to pick up and transport the waste to a permitted treatment or disposal facility.
For more information on infectious waste management by Small-Quantity Generators, click here.
Any entity that generates more than 100kg of infectious waste in one month is considered a Large-Quantity Generator. These are typically large-scale medical facilities such as hospitals, medical schools, large clinics, laboratories, or medical research facilities. There are two waste management options for Large-Quantity Generators:
- Treat the infectious waste on-site. They must meet all the requirements of the waste treatment certification process, found in the Code of State Regulations 10 CSR 80-7.010(1)(B). Most LQGs do not choose this option.
- Hire a licensed infectious waste transporter. The LQG must ensure that untreated waste is properly packaged before transporting. Preferred Waste Solutions can provide proper waste containers and documentation, and consult with waste generators to ensure all regulatory requirements are met.
Some large-scale medical facilities such as hospitals can opt to transport their own waste to a certified treatment and disposal facility. In order to do so, they must obtain a Hazardous Waste Transporter License from MoDOT and meet the regulatory requirements in the Code of State Regulations 10 CSR 80-7.010(4).
Regardless of the size of the generator, all entities that generate infectious waste must properly package untreated infectious waste before it is transported to a permitted treatment or disposal facility. Waste must be placed in a rigid or semi-rigid, leak-resistant container, sealed, and clearly marked “infectious waste” or “biohazard waste”. The outside of the container must remain free from contamination. Infectious waste that is properly treated prior to transportation is exempt from these requirements, except for the packaging requirements for sharps. All sharps must be packaged in a rigid, leak-resistant, and puncture-resistant container and sealed.
Why choose Preferred Waste Concepts?
Your medical waste needs are as unique as your business, and we tailor our services to accommodate your needs. Preferred Waste Concepts provides a safe and cost efficient way to dispose of regulated biomedical waste in St. Louis, in accordance with local and state regulations.