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What types of waste do medical disposal companies handle?
December 13, 2022 at 12:00 AM
Image of a laboratory with many different types of medical waste.

Medical waste disposal companies handle a variety of materials from doctor and dentist offices, laboratories, pharmacies, and hospitals. Waste that requires special disposal can include anything from used needles and syringes to open wound dressings and soiled sheets.

By regulating medical waste disposal, cities, states, and federal organizations can protect the public from infection or disease. Regulations can define the storage and disposal process, location, and frequency with which a specialist company must pick them up.

Depending on the medical waste disposal company, they may handle all or some of these different types of medical waste.

Laboratory Waste

Medical waste from laboratories typically includes “sharp” items such as needles but can also comprise body fluids and culture plates.

There are special regulations regarding the disposal of laboratory waste to protect lab workers and the general public from infection and disease. In most cases, medical waste from laboratories will need to be disposed of using the following:

  • Autoclaving
  • Chemical disinfection
  • Incineration

Incineration is the most common disposal method, as it effectively destroys all types of infectious waste. Autoclaving uses high-pressure steam to sterilize medical waste, while chemical disinfection uses chemicals such as bleach or hydrogen peroxide to kill harmful bacteria and viruses.

Purple Pipette

Chemical Waste

Chemical waste is any type of medical waste that contains hazardous chemicals. This category often includes materials such as:

  • Chemotherapy drugs
  • Mercury
  • Laboratory chemicals, including acids
  • Bromated flame retardants in hospital furniture
  • Other toxic substances

These chemicals must be disposed of in a way that protects the environment and public health. Improper disposal can lead to soil and water supplies contamination, and exposure to hazardous chemicals can cause serious health problems.

Pharmaceutical Waste

This is any waste that contains pharmaceuticals or other medical products, such as:

  • Unused medications
  • Empty IV bags
  • Syringes

Pharmaceutical medical waste is considered hazardous because it can contain dangerous chemicals and bacteria. Improper disposal poses a threat to the environment and public health.

Like other types of medical waste, it’s recommended to dispose of pharmaceutical waste with incineration, autoclaving, or chemical treatment.

Sending these materials to the landfill can be quite harmful to the environment. The city or county dump isn’t designed to deal with hazardous materials, so the waste can leach into the ground and contaminate water supplies.

Chemotherapy Waste

Any waste contaminated with chemo drugs is considered medical waste, including:

  • Used needles
  • Vials
  • Any item that comes into contact with the drugs

Chemo drugs are dangerous because they can cause cancer. Working with a skilled medical waste disposal company is crucial to protect your team and the community from potential exposure or contamination.

Dental Waste

Dental waste is any solid or liquid waste material generated from treating patients, such as:

  • Used needles and syringes
  • Used gauze
  • Dental amalgam

These items can pose a risk to public health. They must be properly segregated, stored, and disposed of to protect staff, patients, and the environment.

Partner with Preferred Waste Concepts for skilled, reliable disposal of all types of medical waste.

We understand the nuances and unique disposal requirements for a wide variety of materials, including medical waste. This understanding is why we tailor our services to every client, to accommodate the unique aspects of your production, storage, and hours of operation. Instead of struggling to make do with a sub-part waste company, partner with our dedicated, reliable team for the safe, regulated disposal of all types of medical waste.

Preferred Waste Concepts offers both medical waste disposal and compliance training across Missouri and Illinois near the St. Louis Metro area. Request a quote to learn more about how our services can simplify your waste disposal processes.