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The 4 Most Common Types of Infectious Wastes

Infectious waste should be discarded with caution and with strictly set protocols to prevent infection or contamination of the environment or personnel. Every day, thousands of healthcare facilities operate to provide essential services to patients and help keep our society in good health.

The consequence of this, of course, is the production of medical waste that can be infectious and hazardous. This type of waste must be disposed of properly to ensure the safety of all involved and a system has been put in place to do so. Covid-19 certainly brought this discussion to the forefront as facilities had to face a surge of infectious waste.

Infectious waste is a specific waste category that includes certain chemicals or contaminants. So, what are the most commonly produced types of infectious wastes?

We dive into the subject below.

If you are a healthcare facility or other healthcare-related business that produces medical and/or infectious waste, call Mediwaste Disposal for trusted waste disposal in El Paso, TX.

What Types of Facilities Produce Infectious Wastes?

Since the 1970s, the United States has taken steps to ensure that medical waste and other infectious waste are properly disposed of and do not contaminate the surrounding environment or pose a threat to health works.

Types of facilities that regularly produce this type of waste include:

  • Hospitals

  • Laboratories

  • Research centers and research labs

  • Animal testing facilities

  • Animal research labs

  • Nursing homes

  • Blood banks or blood donation centers

  • Mortuaries

  • Autopsy centers

What are the Different Types of Waste?

Some people might consider that all types of waste produced by healthcare or research facilities fall under one category. Most medical waste is considered infectious, but people that work in the healthcare business know that there are several categories within this broader umbrella. Set guidelines ensure that facility managers are coordinating their waste disposal properly and in compliance with state and federal regulations.

The different types of infectious waste include the following:

Infectious waste

  • This type of waste is also called biohazardous waste. Contaminated materials (or potentially contaminated) with blood and other bodily fluids would classify as infectious waste. These materials are deemed infectious agents that can be a threat to public health or to the environment. These materials also include contaminated cultures, infectious agents, wastes from live attenuated vaccines, wastes contaminated with excretion, etc.

Sharps waste

  • Sharps waste includes needles, blades, scalpels, or other sharp objects used on patients. There can also be sharp infectious waste produced by such facilities such as hospitals, blood banks, mortuaries, or research labs. These are sharp objects contaminated with infectious agents.

Pathological waste

  • This type of waste can also be considered infectious. It often includes tissues or body parts. For example, body parts removed via surgery would be considered pathological infectious waste.

Pharmaceutical waste

  • Pharmacies and labs often produce what is known as pharmaceutical waste, which is unused or expired medication. The chemicals or properties of said medication might be a risk to humans or to the environment.

Why Is it Important to Properly Identify Infectious Waste

In the waste disposal industry, mixing non-infectious waste with infectious waste is a big no-no. So, as a healthcare facility, it’s important to know the different types of wastes to label and dispose of them properly and in compliance with regulations.

Ensuring You Have the Right Infectious Waste Disposal Process in Place

Many healthcare facilities and labs might not always be in tune with changes or updates to waste disposal protocols.

Although yearly OSHA training helps ensure compliance, hiring a company to take care of your waste disposal is the best and most efficient way to guarantee your waste disposal process is in compliance and keep your staff and workers safe. This way, a company relieves themselves of the responsibility and can focus on treating patients or on their intended work, while the disposal company does the rest.

A specialized waste disposal company will be highly trained in the proper labeling and disposal of these hazardous wastes. Many will provide specialized services that include pickup, transportation, and delivery to the appropriate disposal site.

Regulations and guidelines are in place to ensure that infectious waste is properly labeled, picked up, transferred to a vehicle properly, and transported properly.

Trust Our El Paso Infectious Waste Disposal Team!

Mediwaste works in the El Paso area helping healthcare facilities maintain compliance with Texas laws and regulations. Whether you are a new facility in town or have been in the area, you need a trusted waste disposal company to avoid liabilities or fines.

Want to learn more about how we work with local facilities to dispose of infectious waste? Call Mediwaste Disposal today and talk to our team!

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