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Easy Tips for Reducing Medical Waste

Have you thought about the how much medical waste your facility products? Managing a doctors office, dental practice, or even tattoo shop produces medical waste. Whether you're producing pounds of regulated waste or tones of it, check out these easy tips for how you can reduce the amount of regulated waste you produce.

Is it All Medical Waste?

While most of your staff know the difference between color-coded waste containers such as red sharps or green recycling, your visitors or patients may not. Unknowingly, visitors or patients could discard of their trash in the wrong designated receptacle. How can you fix this?

  • Consider moving you medical waste containers to areas within your facility that patients or visitors don't have access

  • Make sure you have a regular waste bin next to your biohazardous bin to help avoid misuse

  • Keep your regular waste bins emptied regular to avoid overflowing and leaving your biohazard container as the only option

  • Use clear signage on receptacles and in multiple languages if necessary

  • Choose the right size containers for each room so staff and employees are more selective when throwing items away

Is it All Regulated Medical Waste?

A lot of the medical waste produced in healthcare facilities is regulated. But did you know there is some medical waste that isn't regulated? Waste becomes regulated when it contains blood or other bodily fluids. This type of infectious waste can be dangerous and potentially spread bloodborne pathogens. Here are some examples of regulated medical waste (RMW):

  • Blood-soaked gauze

  • Organs, tissues, body parts, and blood products

  • Contaminated sharps (needles, scalpels, etc.)

  • Waste from quarantined patients

  • Cultures and specimens

  • Animal carcasses, waste or body parts exposed to infectious agents

Always check local and state regulations regarding regulated medical waste classifications and disposal requirements. Generally some patient items like bed liners, test strips, or device packaging aren't considered regulated medical waste. By keeping your staff updated on current guidelines and regulations, and understanding the difference between these types of waste, can greatly reduce your waste volume.

Reuse Whenever Possible

Some container types used for medical waste can be disinfected and reused. It's important to always check local and state regulations to determine which containers can be reused. Being able to reuse containers whenever possible can also help reduce your medical waste volume.

Whether you're a small volume generator or large volume generator, our team at Larson-Miller can help you identify ways of reducing your medical waste. We always adhere to all local, state, and federal regulations for disposing of and treating medical waste. Contact us at (208) 323-7272 or (801) 738-6545 for your medical waste management needs throughout Idaho, Oregon, and Utah.


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