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WHAT IS MEDICAL WASTE?

COMMERCIAL MEDICAL WASTE

Due to concern over the transmission of HIV (AIDS) and Hepatitis B, the 1990 Oregon Legislature enacted a law for the prudent and safe handling of potentially infectious medical waste.

As the area’s leading solid waste hauler, we responded to this need for proper collection and disposal of commercial medical waste with a special Commercial Medical Waste program.

Proper handling is necessary for any facility that generates medical waste—including hospitals, medical clinics, doctor’s offices, nursing homes and veterinary clinics, as well as any site where tattoos or acupuncture are provided.

WHAT IS MEDICAL WASTE?

There are four main categories of medical waste.

SHARPS

Needles, IV tubing with needles attached, scalpel blades, lancets, glass tubes that could be broken during handling and syringes that have been removed from their original sterile containers.

BIOLOGICAL WASTE

Blood and blood products, excretions, exudates, secretions, suctionings and other bodily fluids that cannot be directly discarded into a municipal sewer system. Also includes waste materials saturated with blood or bodily fluids. Saturated waste contains enough blood or bodily fluid to cause dripping with or without compaction. This does not include diapers soiled with urine or feces.

CULTURES AND STOCKS

Specimen cultures and dishes and devices used to transfer, inoculate and mix cultures. Also includes wastes from production of biological, as well as serums and discarded live and attenuated vaccines. Does not include throat and urine cultures.

PATHOLOGICAL WASTE

All biopsy materials, human tissues and anatomical parts that come from surgery, obstetrical procedures, autopsy procedures and lab procedures. Also includes animal carcasses exposed to pathogens in research (and their bedding) and other preservative agents.

PROPER HANDLING

If your facility generates any of the above types of medical waste, you are, by law, required to follow certain procedures to properly package and dispose of that waste.

  • Segregate medical waste from other waste at the point of generation
  • Clearly identify containers as infectious waste
  • Store the medical waste

 

A. Per the Oregon State Health Division, medical waste must be treated or disposed of within three to seven days of generation. Refrigerated or frozen waste can be stored for 30 days and enclosed sharps can be stored longer. Unless there is a change in the current administrative rule, please assume that all medical waste (excluding sharps) will be collected at least once a week.

B. If your medical waste is kept in an enclosure, the enclosure must be secured to prevent access and marked with prominent warnings. While current law does not mandate the use of an enclosure, it is advisable to use a well-marked enclosure in order to prevent any accidental public access to the waste.

PREPARING FOR AND SCHEDULING PICKUP:

Sharps Container – Once your container is full, prepare it for pickup by securely closing and taping the top opening. Do not place the filled container in your regular trash can or beside the can. Do not overfill the container. Everything must fit safely inside, with nothing protruding. Medical waste is handled only by our trained environmental services personnel.

Sharps container may also be placed in a box or tub, as long as the total weight does not exceed 40 pounds. Remember, the final package cannot bulge.

  • For Steri-Tubs: Tie off red liners before putting the lid on.
  • For Steri-Boxes: Line the box with two red liners. All formaldehyde/formalin must be poured off specimens before packing. Tie off red liners before sealing boxes.