Category Archives: Proper Waste Disposal

a sign declaring the national prescription drug take back day

The National Prescription Drug Take Back Day Is This Saturday, Oct. 27th of 2018!

This Saturday, Oct. 27th of 2018, the DEA has organized a National Prescription Drug Take Back Day throughout the entire Country. This is one way of helping to deal with the opioid crisis that has been declared a national crisis recently.

MedWaste Management will provide continued coverage of take back event as well as other efforts being made to help with our opioid crisis.

The DEA and Google both provide locators to find your nearest prescription drug take back locations.

Check out The DEA and Google pages below. They contain tools and more info on the ever growing efforts to help people properly dispose of their unused prescription drugs. This is certainly part of the bigger plan to help end the opioid crisis.

DEA’s Prescription Drug Take Back Location Tool

Google’s Prescription Drug Take Back Location Tool

As President Trump signed legislation providing resources to help end our opioid crisis, representatives of companies pledging to help stood behind.

You can watch footage of the President with others discussing our opioid crisis and about the things that our Country is doing to stop it, including prescription drug take back events, and more responsible doctor prescribing.

Behind him stood representatives of companies pledging to help with the crisis. Representatives from Google, Walgreens and CVS were there, among others, promoting tools to help dispose of prescription drugs safely and securely. (22.00 minutes into the video)

We are MedWaste Management – California’s medical waste disposal experts!

Established in 2008, MedWaste Management brings great benefit to the healthcare industry and the general public alike. We publish this blog to to spread useful and practical information to help people stay safe, smart and healthy!

Call us with any questions or to start service at (866) 254-5105. We are always happy to speak!

Check out our services and other great resources in the links below.

Medical Waste Disposal Services 

MedWaste’s Blog Index

Medical Waste Regulations

MedWaste’s Product Store 

Home Generated Medical Waste Drop-Off Points In California

cannabis leaves overlayed

Cannabis (Marijuana) Waste Disposal

Cannabis waste, or Marijuana waste must be disposed of properly. If a place selling or growing cannabis is licensed, the licensees will need to comply with all applicable waste management laws including, but not limited to, Division 30 of the Public Resources Code.

Click here to view the State Of California’s new rules and regulations regarding cannabis disposal (sections 5054 and on…)

Why Is Cannabis Waste  Regulated?

California has one of the largest markets for marijuana in the United States. State officials have to address security and cannabis abuse concerns. With the influx of dispensaries and licensed marijuana growers, people are easily able to access trimmings and other leftover cannabis materials. People can take advantage of scraps left behind in dumpsters and consume it at their leisure. Children can stumble on product that is not labeled or packaged. It may sound ridiculous, but it happens.

Another reason cannabis waste is being regulated is for the State of California to track cannabis from conception to outcome. Tracking the amount of cannabis waste that is generated will help the State understand what happens to the product and how much of it actually sells. So, if you own a business that deals with the growing or sale of cannabis, you will need to closely review cannabis waste regulations.

You Cannot Use or Sell Cannabis Waste.

You cannot dispose of your cannabis waste in traditional trash containers or in dumpsters where it may be accessible to the undersirable public. Cannabis waste must be disposed of in a regulated manner. It must be kept in a secure pharmaceutical waste receptacle in a secure area on your licensed premises where access is limited to employees and the medical waste agency responsible for hauling it off for disposal- Somewhere that is not open to the general public.

What is Considered Cannabis Waste?

  1. Any expired marijuana product. This includes stale flower, flower that is unusable due to contamination (pesticides) marijuana concentrates, tinctures or oils that have gone rancid, topical cannabis creams that have expired, and cannabis-infused edibles that have spoiled.

         2. If you run a dispensary, testing lab, or any brand that manufactures                 consumable marijuana, any material that has made contact with cannabis will need to be disposed of in a regulated manner.

As a cultivator of cannabis, the medium you’ve been using to grow the cannabis in (such as soil, rockwool, clay pebbles) will need to be placed in a secured receptacle once the plants have reached maturity.

Leftover trimmings of marijuana are considered regulated marijuana waste as well.

To be on the safe side, anything that has cannabis residue of some sort should be considered cannabis waste.

Cannabis waste may include:

  •         Soil, rock wool, clay pebbles or sponge used for cultivation.
  •         Unused cannabis trimmings.
  •         Unused cannabis
  •         Unused oils, extracts, other cannabis liquids.
  •         Expired, unused, leftover edibles and drinks.
  •         Unused cannabis grinders.
  •         Unused cannabis vape pens.
  •         Unused cannabis capsules, containers, wrappings, packaging, etc.
  •         Empty nutrition boxes/packaging.

How to Properly Dispose of Cannabis Waste:

You must keep cannabis waste in a proper waste receptacle placed in a secure area.

A pharmaceutical waste container is the appropriate licensed waste receptacle to use for marijuana waste disposal on your premises. Our waste disposal company provides the appropriate receptacles as part of our service package and at no additional cost to you. We also carry pharmaceutical waste containers to be purchased separately for a one-time fee if desired.

Cannabis waste must be rendered unrecognizable or unusable before disposal.

Usually, as a medical waste disposal company, we will be responsible for making sure all regulations are followed, including this one.

However, in some states, (Colorado is one) the marijuana waste has to be rendered unrecognizable or unusable before leaving the premises. In that case, you can pour some kind of detergent or grease over the marijuana waste. You can also grind it with another approved non-consumable solid waste until the marijuana is incorporated and the resulting mixture is at least 50 percent non-cannabis waste.

Marijuana waste disposal- liquids and solids.

Disposal must be documented.

There are three options for marijuana waste disposal.

  1. Self-hauling cannabis waste to a waste disposal facility
  2. Hiring a local agency, a local agency franchiser, or permitted private medical waste hauler to dispose of cannabis waste.
  3. Composting cannabis waste on the licensed premises.

Self-Hauling Cannabis Waste:

Cannabis waste can be disposed of at a manned, fully permitted solid waste facility, a fully permitted composting facility or composting operation, a fully permitted in-vessel digestion facility, a fully permitted transfer/processing facility, or a fully permitted chip and grind operation.

Most cannabis waste disposal companies consider marijuana and its waste products to be incineration waste and will use a manned, fully permitted solid waste facility to dispose of cannabis waste.

Only the business licensee or employees can transport cannabis waste to a solid waste facility. Once the cannabis/marijuana waste has been dropped off, you will need a copy of a certified weight ticket or receipt documenting the delivery from the solid waste facility for each delivery.

Hiring a  Cannabis or Medical Waste Disposal Company:

MedWaste Management will provide you with the paperwork you need for your records. Documents include:

*The name of the entity hauling the waste; (that’s us)

*Documentation that shows the date and time of each collection of marijuana waste from your premises.

*A copy of the certified waste ticket, or other document that confirms the receipt of the cannabis waste at a fully permitted cannabis waste facility.

As a veteran medical waste disposal company, we take care of all aspects of regulated cannabis waste disposal, especially the paperwork, which can be a real hassle.

Composting Cannabis:

If you choose to compost the cannabis waste on your own premises, you will need to be in compliance with  Title 14 of the California Code of Regulations at Chapter 3.1 (commencing with Section 17850).

There are cannabis waste composting facilities that operate like any other solid waste disposal facilities. We, the medical waste disposal company, pick up the waste and deliver it to the composting facility. They provide  all the necessary legal paperwork, and they dispose of the cannabis waste in a way that reduces carbon footprint.

In Canada, Micron Waste Technologies, an organic waste technology company, is developing its on-site cannabis waste treatment system.  The Gaiaca company in Monterey, CA is also working on a better environmental solution for cannabis waste disposal. Cannabis waste disposal is a growing need now that marijuana is a legalized and regulated substance, so hopefully there will be more companies offering cannabis composting solutions soon.

__________

We are MedWaste Management – California’s medical waste disposal experts!

Established in 2008, MedWaste Management brings great benefit to the healthcare industry and the general public alike. We publish this blog to to spread useful and practical information to help people stay safe, smart and healthy!

Call us with any questions or to start service at (866) 254-5105. We are always happy to speak!

Check out our services and other great resources in the links below.

Medical Waste Disposal Services 

MedWaste’s Blog Index

Medical Waste Regulations

Medical Waste Products 

California Bureau Of Cannabis Control

needles and medicines at the home

How do I dispose of home generated medical waste?

Click here for a list of FREE approved locations to drop off home medical waste at, in California.

How do I dispose of home-generated medical waste?

Package It: Make sure to package your home sharps waste and needles in approved travel sized or medium sized or large sharps containers. This will allow the waste to be safely handled and transported for disposal . If you don’t yet have a sharps container, try packaging your sharps waste in a heavy duty plastic container, such as a laundry detergent bottle, for the meanwhile. Medicine waste can be packaged in a rigid container. Any printed information about the medicine or prescribed patient, should be erased or covered. 

Dispose Of It: Bring your home generated medical waste to your local California State approved collection site for free and proper disposal.  Remember, all sharps waste must be properly packaged.   For medicine waste, check which of the collection sites on the list indicate that they also accept medicines for disposal.

The not free free option: If you need a professional company to come collect and dispose of your medical waste, contact MedWaste Management at (866) 254-5105. We collect and dispose of all types of medical waste, from all types of facilities in California, such as healthcare facilities, schools, homes and businesses. Since this disposal option is not free, it is recommended for the disposal of large quantities of home generated medical waste, or anyone who wants to pay for this convenience.

What is home-generated medical waste? 

In Septemebr 2008, it became illegal in California to place your home-generated sharps waste in the regular trash container, or to flush it down the toilet.

  • Sharps Waste – Home-generated sharps waste means hypodermic needles, pen needles, intravenous needles, lancets, and other devices that are used to penetrate the skin for the delivery of medications derived from a household, including a multifamily residence or household. See California’s Medical Waste Management Act section 117671.
  • Medicine Waste – Home-generated medicine waste means expired or unused medicines, whether prescription or over the counter.

Browse For Local California County Info:

Alameda County:

Alameda County – Find information about how to properly dispose of home generated sharps and medicine waste in Alameda County, CA.

Alameda County Medication Drop Off Sites – Find the 41 locations, where Alameda County residents can drop off unwanted prescription and Over-the-Counter drugs and medications, including controlled substances.

Alameda County Public Health Dept. –  Find information about how to properly dispose of home generated sharps waste in Alameda County, CA.

CityofLivermore.net  Find information about how to properly dispose of home generated sharps waste in the city of Livermore, CA.

StopWaste.org – Find out where to dispose of of sharps waste and medicine waste in the cities of Fremont, Hayward, Livermore and Oakland, in Alameda County, CA.

Alpine County:

Amador County:

Butte County:

Butte County –  Find information about how to properly dispose of home generated sharps waste in Butte County, CA.

CityofOroville.org – Learn how to dispose of home generated sharps waste and pharmaceutical waste in the city of Oroville, CA.

Calaveras County:

Colusa County:

Countyof Colusa.org – Learn and see a video about how to dispose of home generated sharps waste and pharmaceutical waste in Orange County, CA.

Contra Costa County:

ContraCostacountyhealth.org – Learn more about how to dispose of home generated sharps waste and pharmaceutical waste in Orange County, CA.

DeltaDiablo.org – Learn how to dispose of home generated sharps waste in Delta Diablo District, in East Contra Costa County, CA.

PleasantHill.ca.us – Learn how to dispose of home generated sharps waste in the city of Pleasant Hill, CA.

Del Norte County:

El Dorado County:

ElDoradoCountygov.us – Learn more about how to dispose of home generated sharps waste and pharmaceutical waste in El Dorado County, CA.

Fresno County:

Glenn County:

Humboldt County:

Imperial County:

Inyo County:

Kern County:

KernCountywaste.com – Learn about how to dispose of home generated sharps waste in Kern County, CA.

Kings County:

Lake County:

Lassen County:

Los Angeles County:

Azusa.ca.us – Learn how to dispose of home generated sharps waste and pharmaceutical waste in the city of Azusa, CA.

AgouraHills.ca.us – Learn how to dispose of home generated sharps waste and pharmaceutical waste in the city of Agoura Hills, CA.

Calrecycle.ca.gov – Find locations throughout California that will accept a variety of special wastes.

Calrecycle.ca.gov – Learn how to dispose of home generated sharps waste and pharmaceutical waste in California.

CityofBell.org – Learn how to dispose of home generated sharps waste and pharmaceutical waste in the city of Bell, CA.

Lakewoodcity.org – Learn how to dispose of home generated sharps waste and pharmaceutical waste in the city of Lakewood, CA.

dpwLAcounty.gov – Learn how to dispose of home generated sharps waste and pharmaceutical waste in Los Angeles County, CA.

MontereyPark.ca.govLearn how to dispose of home generated sharps waste and pharmaceutical waste in the city of Monterey Park, CA.

Madera County:

Marin County:

MarinCounty.org  – Learn more about how to dispose of home generated sharps waste and pharmaceutical waste in Marin County, CA.

Mariposa County:

Mendocino County:

Merced County:

Modoc County:

Mono County:

Monterey County:

Napa County:

CountyofNapa.org – Learn about how to dispose of home generated sharps waste in Napa County, CA.

Nevada County:

KeepTruckeeGreena.org – Learn how to dispose of home generated sharps waste and pharmaceutical waste in the city of Truckee, CA.

Orange County:

FountainValley.org – Learn how to dispose of home generated sharps waste and medicine waste in the city of Fountain Valley, CA.

LaHabracity.org – Learn about how to dispose of home generated sharps waste in the city of La Habra, CA.

Orangecounty.com – Learn how to dispose of home generated sharps waste and pharmaceutical waste in Orange County, CA.

Orangecountyhealth.com – Learn more about how to dispose of home generated sharps waste and pharmaceutical waste in Orange County, CA.

RanchoSantaMargarita.org – Learn about how to dispose of home generated sharps waste in the city of Rancho Santa Margarita, CA.

SanJuanCapistrano.org – Learn about how to dispose of home generated sharps waste in the city of San Juan Capistrano, CA.

Placer County:

RecyclinginLincoln.com – Learn how to dispose of home generated sharps waste and pharmaceutical waste in the city of Lincoln, CA.

Plumas County:

CountyofPlumas –  Learn how to dispose of home generated sharps waste waste in Plumas County, CA.

Riverside County:

Coronaca.gov – Learn how to dispose of home generated sharps waste in the city of Corona, CA.

Riversidecounty.org –  Find information about how to properly dispose of home generated sharps waste in Riverside County, CA.

CityofCommerce.ca.us – Learn how to dispose of home generated sharps waste and pharmaceutical waste in the city of Commerce, CA.

Temeculaca.gov – Learn how to dispose of home generated sharps waste and pharmaceutical waste in the city of Temecula, CA.

Sacramento County:

CityofSacramento.org – Learn how to dispose of home generated hazardous waste and pharmaceutical waste in the city of Sacramento, CA.

San Benito County:

San Bernardino County:

Adelentoca.gov – Learn how to dispose of home generated sharps waste in the city of Adelento, CA.

AppleValley.org – Learn how to dispose of home generated sharps waste and pharmaceutical waste in the town of Apple Valley, CA.

CityofChino.org – Learn how to dispose of home generated sharps waste in the city of Chino, CA.

CityofCommerce.ca.us – Learn how to dispose of home generated sharps waste and pharmaceutical waste in the city of Commerce, CA.

Fontana.org –  Learn how to dispose of home generated sharps waste in the city of Fontana, CA.

SanBernardinoCounty.gov – Learn how to dispose of home generated sharps waste and medication waste in Los Angeles County, CA.

Victorville.gov – Learn how to dispose of home generated sharps waste and pharmaceutical waste in the city of Los Angeles County, CA.

San Diego County:

Oceanside.ca.us – Learn how to dispose of home generated sharps waste in the city of Oceanside, CA.

Poway.org – Learn how to dispose of home generated sharps waste and medication waste in the city of Poway, CA.

CityofSanteeca.gov – Learn how to dispose of home generated sharps waste in the city of Santee, CA.

San Joaquin County:

Stocktongov.com – Learn how to dispose of home generated sharps waste and medicine waste in the city of Stockton, CA.

San Luis Obispo County:

SanLuisObispoCountyiwma.com – Learn how to dispose of home generated sharps waste in San Luis Obispo County, CA.

Santa Clara County:

MountainView.gov – Learn how to dispose of home generated sharps waste and medicine waste in the city of Mountain View, CA.

San Diego County:

SanDiegocounty.gov – Learn how to dispose of home generated hazardous waste and pharmaceutical waste in San Diego County, CA.

San Francisco County:

San Joaquin County:

San Luis Obispo County:

San Mateo:

SanMateoCountyhealth.org – Learn how to dispose of home generated sharps waste in San Mateo County, CA.

Santa Barbara County:

CountyofSantaBarbara.org – Learn how to dispose of home generated sharps waste in Santa Barbara County, CA.

Santa Clara County:

SantaClara.org – Learn how to dispose of home generated sharps waste and medicine waste in Santa Clara County, CA.

SantaClaraFireDept.org – Learn more about how to dispose of home generated sharps waste and medicine waste in Santa Clara County, CA.

Santa Cruz County:

Shasta County:

Sierra County:

Siskiyou County:

Solano County:

Sonoma County:

RecycleNow.org – Learn how to dispose of home generated sharps waste in Sonoma County, CA.

Stanislaus County:

Stanislauscounty.com – Learn how to dispose of home generated sharps waste and pharmaceutical waste in Stanislaus County, CA.

Sutter County:

YubaSutterRecycles.com –  Learn how to dispose of home generated sharps waste and pharmaceutical waste in Sutter County, CA.

Tehama County:

Trinity County:

Tulare County:

Visalia.city – Learn how to dispose of home generated sharps waste in the city of Visalia, CA.

Tuolumne County:

Ventura County:

Simivalley.org – Learn how to dispose of home generated sharps waste and pharmaceutical waste in the city of Simi Valley, CA.

VenturaCountyrma.org – Learn how to dispose of home generated sharps waste in Ventura County, CA.

VenturaCountypublicworks.org – Learn how to dispose of home generated pharmaceutical waste in Ventura County, CA.

Yolo County:

CityofDavis.org – Learn how to dispose of home generated sharps waste and pharmaceutical waste in the city of Davis, CA.

Yolocounty.org –  Learn how to dispose of home generated sharps waste in Sonoma County, CA.

Yuba County:

YubaSutterRecycles.com –  Learn how to dispose of home generated sharps waste and pharmaceutical in Yuba County, CA.

How can I accept home-generated medical waste at my health care facility or business?

If you have a medical facility or business that generated medical waste, and you already properly dispose of your medical waste, you can easily start accepting home-generated medical waste from your patients and community.

Just make sure of the following:

  • The sharps must be contained in an approved sharps container.
  • The generator of the home-generated sharps waste, or a member of his or her family, must bring the sharps waste to your facility.
  • The sharps waste is accepted at a central location at your facility.
  • You must properly dispose of the home-generated medical waste that you accept, just as your properly dispose of your facility’s medical waste.
  •  A reference to, and a description of, the above actions are
    included in your facility’s medical waste management plan.

See California’s Medical Waste Management Act Section 118147.

We are MedWaste Management – California’s medical waste disposal experts!

Established in 2008, MedWaste Management brings great benefit to the healthcare industry and the general public alike. We publish this blog to to spread useful and practical information to help people stay safe, smart and healthy!

Call us with any questions or to start service at (866) 254-5105. We are always happy to speak!

Check out our services and other great resources in the links below.

Medical Waste Disposal Services 

MedWaste’s Blog Index

Medical Waste Regulations

Medical Waste Products 

Home Generated Medical Waste Drop-Off Points In California

 

Biohazard Waste Disposal

Hazardous Waste VS. Bio Hazardous Waste

Know the difference.

Yes. The two terms sound similar. However, hazardous waste is very different from bio-hazardous waste. Therefore, hazardous waste disposal would be different than bio-hazardous waste disposal. Though they  both can be produced in a health care environment, bio hazardous waste is what is typically generated in a health care setting, in the majority of circumstances. Bio-hazardous waste includes used syringes, razors, lancets and other devices that come in contact with bodily fluids. Both human and animal fluids.

Hazardous waste on the other hand, refers specifically to waste that waste deemed hazardous by the RCRA ACT. A waste would be deemed hazardous based on its level of re-activity. Some are considered hazardous since they are flammable, others because they are are corrosive toxic or poisonous. These substances need to be handled, stored and disposed of in a very specific way. While there are numerous and effective requirements for the disposal of bio-hazardous waste, hazardous waste requirements and regulations are more stringent. This is certainly due to the stronger danger posed by the mistreatment of hazardous wastes.  The disposal for hazardous waste is monitored and regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Toxic Substance Control and other Federal, state and local bodies.

There is a lot of information out there about the proper disposal and treatment of bio-hazardous waste, medical waste, hazardous waste and other wastes. Treating waste correctly is very important for our way of living and also reflective of our general social attitudes.

– Remember, MedWaste Management provides great bio-hazardous and hazardous waste disposal along with other great services and products.

Call us today to start service! We are always happy to speak! (866) 254-5105

Our Services:

Medical Waste Disposal Services.

Bio-Hazardous Waste Disposal Services.

Pharmaceutical Waste Disposal Services.

Resources:

Medical Waste Regulations In California.

Home Generated Sharps Waste Collection Points.

 

 

Preparing Your Veterinary Office For An OSHA Audit

It Starts With Staff Training

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has been increasing the number of audits performed each year, including those done at veterinary clinics and other medical institutions. These unannounced visits can mean big trouble in the form of fines if you are not properly prepared. This includes having a clear and efficient system of medical waste disposal in place, that is practiced without fail.

The medical waste disposal program you have initiated in your veterinary hospital is only as good as the workers you have put in place to take charge of it. Training is the single most important way to ensure that your OSHA inspection will go smoothly. This cannot be a one time event, you must be providing continuous training regularly to all workers who have contact with medical waste inside of your facility.

Working with a medical waste disposal company will help you to make sure that you are providing comprehensive on site training, and that the material offered is up to date with the latest standards set forth by OSHA.

Start by implementing a new employee orientation that covers the expectations and methods for medical waste disposal in your veterinary hospital. Also make sure that you are being given the latest news and updates from OSHA, and relaying that information to your employees immediately. The last step is to document all of the training taking place for when there is an audit of your facility.

Operate Like OSHA Is Always Watching

Not allowing deviations from standards in the day to day operations, ensures that none occur when OSHA is watching. This means having your own self inspections regularly, where you look at your medical waste disposal methods with an objective eye. Correct even the slightest mishap on the spot so that your workers know what is always expected of them.

Put a staff member in charge of organizing the documents required by OSHA. This not only includes staff training reports, but manifests of medical waste disposal records showing the amount and types of medical waste picked up, and its final destination point.

Designate A Point Man

You should have one or two individuals designated to be the “tour guide” for an OSHA inspector. They will greet the inspector and accompany them as they make their way through your medical facility. Instruct them to take notes and even pictures of any violations that the inspector may find so that you can be better prepared in the future. This person should show an active interest in the audit, and a willingness to comply with the regulations. Having the right individual fill this role can make a difference when it comes to receiving warnings versus fines!

If you are prepared ahead of time, then you should be able to breeze through any audit thrown at your clinic by the government.  Just remember to keep your systems for medical waste disposal up to date, and your staff trained in the proper ways to follow those procedures to the end.

Remember, MedWaste Management provides great compliance services for all customers, which includes: medical waste disposal; OSHA employee training for blood borne pathogens; OSHA self audits; an MSDS database, along with other great services and products.

Call us today to start service! We are always happy to speak! (866) 254-5105

Our Services:

Medical Waste Disposal Services.

OSHA Employee Training For Blood Borne Pathogen

Online Medical Waste Disposal Tracking Documents

Bio-Hazardous Waste Disposal Services.

Pharmaceutical Waste Disposal Services.

Resources:

Occupational Safety And Health Administration (OSHA)

The Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH aka Cal/OSHA)

Medical Waste Regulations In California.

Home Generated Sharps Waste Collection Points.

199 Cases Where Toxic Agents Almost Slipped Through the Cracks

The Federal Select Agent Program conducted their first ever annual report, discovering 199 instances where lab technicians were inadvertently exposed to toxic or infectious substances last year. Luckily, all of these were near misses. Yet they do unearth a need for continued education and high standards when it comes to the handling and removal of samples from laboratories across the nation.

The Federal Select Agent Program is responsible for overseeing dangerous substances that are studied inside of federal, state, private and academic labs. These substances include things like the bird flu, Ebola virus and even anthrax. New regulations were issued to the agency in 2014, resulting in an overall inspection of the handling of certain dangerous elements. It was during this inspection that agents found 199 cases where a lab worker was a breath away from becoming infected with a potentially deadly agent.

The safe handling of certain dangerous agents has been a focus ever since it was reported by the CDC that several labs had mishandled dangerous pathogens in the past, putting the entire surrounding population at serious risk of mass infection. As a result, the CDC, Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Agriculture are now working jointly on a task force that works solely to monitor these labs and their medical waste disposal procedures among other things.

In total, there were 12 potential losses uncovered, and a total of 233 potential releases of toxic agents. When investigated further, it was found that all of the potential losses could be traced to either a clerical error or of samples being destroyed in an autoclave by mistake. Medical waste disposal for laboratories has to include education on which types of agents are acceptable for that type of destruction. With some toxins, the autoclave will actually release harmful gases, putting the lab worker at risk of infection when the mechanism is opened.

As for the 233 potential releases of a toxic agent, there were 199 instances in which a lab technician may have been exposed by error. This included an instance where viable Anthrax had mistakenly left a military base and was sent to a number of outside laboratories both in the US and abroad. Luckily, none of these potential releases resulted in illness, death or the spread of infection to any surrounding area.

Medical waste disposal for laboratories is often of a much larger scope than in other types of facilities. Not for the amount of medical waste being generated, but for the types of agents and toxins it may have been exposed to. Laboratories that are operating as research agencies need to be acutely aware of the types of substances they are disposing of, and ensure that it is being segregated away from any typical medical waste and common garbage.

Do You Know Where Your Surgery Center’s Medical Waste Will Eventually End Up?

The journey of medical waste begins the moment it is removed from the human body. In a surgery center, it could be a small tumor that has been removed or tissue samples after a procedure. Here it is placed inside of a biological waste bag before being transported to a designated pick up area.

At the Pick Up Area for Medical Waste

The pick up area inside of your surgery center should be removed from patient rooms and surgical suites. There should be outside door access to reduce the risk of contamination from the materials being brought back inside the facility. It should also be locked, without access only permitted to authorized personnel. This would include drivers for the biological waste disposal company you work with.

Pick Up of Medical Waste

Licensed drivers in state approved vehicles will arrive at your facility for pick up. They will note the amount and types of medical waste reserved for destruction, and ask for signatures from authorized members of your staff. You will also be provided with documentation proving that they retrieved the medical waste from your surgery center.

If you are using reusable containers for medical waste, these may be switched out during this time. The drivers will take your full containers and provide you with sterilized new ones to use.

The medical waste retrieved from your surgery center will then be hauled to a special treatment facility. This facility should have special licensing from the state that allows them to dispose of medical waste from surgery centers.

Inside the Medical Waste Treatment Facility

Once the medical waste reaches a treatment facility, it is segregated by type, depending on the color of the bag or other container. The bags are left unopened, and either put into an autoclave until sanitary or incinerated. If autoclaved, the waste is then further broken down to reduce the amount of waste left over. This is typically done by shredding the materials. In most instances, materials that have been subjected to an autoclave can then be added to regular trash in an ordinary landfill.

Some plastics might even be recycled after having been sterilized inside of an autoclave. The material left over is then reused in a way that will decrease the impact your surgical center has on the environment.

Regulated Medical Waste Disposal Companies

While the licensing and regulation of medical waste disposal transporters and companies may vary slightly from state to state, all have to adhere to stringent guidelines set forth by OSHA, the EPA and various other governmental bodies. This is to ensure the safety of workers inside of your surgery center, as well as the general population and the environment.

Make sure that when you are looking at ways to better manage the biological waste inside of your surgery center, you are checking that these licensing requirements are being met. This will ensure that your facility is in compliance at all times with all laws and regulations.

The Importance of Biological Waste Disposal for Doctor’s Offices

You are likely already familiar with the terminology biological waste, and those bright red bags that yell out “handle with caution”. But do you know exactly what is supposed to go inside (and not), and what happens to it once it leaves your office? There are risks associated with the handling of biological waste in doctor’s offices, and severe consequences if not completed correctly.

Biological – or biohazardous – waste is defined as being any waste that contains potentially infectious agents. These are found in any area where human blood and tissues are exposed, such as in your doctor’s office. Some common examples include:

  • Bodily Fluids – This includes amniotic fluid, semen, saliva, pleural fluid and vaginal secretions.
  • Microbiological Waste – Usually the byproducts of laboratory testing, such as live viruses, blood samples, specimen cultures and the devices used to transfer them.
  • Blood Products – Blood, plasma and any other tissues or fluids containing blood residue.
  • Pathological Waste – Pathological waste refers to any organic object that is identifiable as being human in source, such as body parts, tissues and organs.
  • Sharps Waste – Items, such as needles, that not only potentially contain harmful pathogens from biological waste but that also have the potential to pierce skin and transfer those pathogens into the blood stream of another individual.

In 1988, the US Congress enacted the Medical Waste Tracking act, which allowed them to study the methods of medical waste disposal for doctor’s offices and begin regulating it. As a result, all medical waste must now be collected by a company with a specific license for handling hazardous products. They are then held responsible for rendering it harmless by using one of the following methods:

  • Incineration: The EPA estimates that up to 90% of all biohazardous waste is being incinerated. This must be done by a licensed contractor, either on or off of the site where medical waste is collected. Incineration offers many benefits besides sterilizing, such as reducing the overall amount of waste and avoiding having to sterilize it before breaking it down.
  • Autoclaving: When medical waste from doctor’s offices is subject to an autoclave, this usually entails two steps. The first is the sterilization of the waste using intense steam, followed by shredding the materials. This usually allows for the waste to then be disposed of in a typical landfill.

As the administrator for a doctor’s office, you have the responsibility of ensuring that medical waste disposal is being conducted in a manner that reduces its risk to your patients, staff, and the environment. Your optimal choice in guaranteeing this is by working with a professional medical waste disposal company. Not only can a company like MedWaste Management sterilize and destroy medical waste generated inside of your doctor’s office, they can help you to put a system in place for its safe collection and storage.

Are You Up to Speed on Texas Medical Waste Disposal Regulations

Medical waste disposal for clinics, and other health care facilities, in Texas has recently changed. The Texas legislature revised the rules during their 84th regular session, and made them effective as of this past May 26th. If you are not familiar with the changes, and make accommodations for them, you could be facing repercussions in the future.

In Texas, medical waste management includes its collection, handling, storage, transport and processing. The regulations in place are applied to any individual or entity that is involved in any aspect of controlling and managing medical waste. That term – medical waste – refers to treated and untreated waste from health care facilities that contains human and animal waste, bulk blood and bodily fluids, microbiological waste, pathological waste and contaminated sharps.

What Kind of Medical Waste Generator Are You?

In Texas, there are two types of medical waste generators that your facility can be classified as:

  • SQG – A small quantity generator (SQG) is one that produces less than 50 pounds of medical waste each month.
  • LQG – A large quantity generator (LQG) is producing 50 pounds or more of medical waste every month.

Neither of these types of medical waste generators is required to obtain a permit in order to store medical waste on site, so long as it consists only of waste that has been produced by that facility. Medical waste should be securely stored on site, and not interfere with overall objective of the health care facility.

Can You Transport Your Own Medical Waste to a Processing Facility?

Regardless of the type of medical waste generator your Texas clinic is, you will need to have it removed safely from your facility. If you are an SQG, you can do this yourself without the need of any special permit or registration. An LQG however you will need to obtain a special registration, and submit an annual summary of the medical waste disposal transport.

Both types of medical waste generators do need to maintain records of each shipment of medical waste leaving the facility in the form of a manifest. The information contained in these manifests must be in accordance with state laws, providing an extensive record of the type and amount of medical waste leaving your facility. Most health care providers find it simpler to use separate companies, like MedWaste Management for this purpose.

Not only does working with a third party take the burden of transporting medical waste off of your shoulders, it ensures that you are in full compliance with the myriad of regulations handed down by the Texas legislature. Medical waste disposals for hospitals is an enormous responsibility, and with these new rules, it has become even more difficult for Texas health care providers to keep up and stay compliant on their own.

OSHA Weighs in on Blood Collection Tubes and Recycling

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) oversees practices and policies that could be hazardous to the physical well-being of workers in any field. With health care workers, one of their primary concerns is with the safe handling of sharps. Needle pricks may be small cuts to the skin, but the potential to introduce disease into a worker makes them a high risk to work with.

Not only has OSHA addressed the risk potential of sharps by demanding the use of special containers for their collection, they have furthered their cause by making recommendations for the use of tube holders. These devices are typically attached to the needle in order to facilitate the collection of blood when it is being drawn. In the past, some hospitals and other medical labs have attempted to reuse these tube holders to cut costs, yet to do so is putting the health of workers at risk.

Blood Collection Needles and Tube Holders

A blood collection needle is able to screw onto a blood tube holder, and a blood tube is inserted into the holder to collect the blood. The needle has two ends, one which is inserted into the laboratory patient, and one at the back the transports the blood into the blood tube. Modern blood tube holders can be reused, but are not in most circumstances in order to minimize a worker’s exposure to blood. The process of removing the tube holder from the needle increases the possibility that the health care provider will be injured by a needle stick.

Proper medical waste disposal for laboratories does not allow for the removal of tube holders before placing the needle inside of the sharps collection bin. OSHA specifically recommends that needles be disposed of immediately after use, including any blood tube holder that is attached to it. Removing this holder places worker’s at too high of a risk for possible injury and exposure to harmful blood pathogens.

There are very limited circumstances for when a contaminated needle or other sharp is allowed to be manipulated after its use. To do so, you will have to show that the action is required in order to complete a specific medical or dental procedure. Trying to save money on your laboratory costs by reusing parts of contaminated needles and collection devices is in violation of the standards set forth by OSHA.

According to OSHA, the appropriate disposal of contaminated sharps includes:

  • The close availability of sharp containers that contain an opening large enough to pass the entire blood collection assembly, including the blood tube holder.
  • Having sharp containers made portable for those employees who move between various patient rooms.

If you have your own questions or concerns about medical waste disposal in your laboratory, and how to handle sharps, MedWaste Management can help. With our expert methods, you will have no problem in meeting the demands of OSHA when it comes to medical waste disposal inside of your laboratory.

How often should I schedule pick up for my medical waste disposal?

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As a matter of fact, there aren’t any Federal infectious medical waste disposal regulations at this time. This issue was left for each State to decide what their regulations will be.

OSHA’s Bloodborne Pathogen Standard does not address this issue either.

In California, the storage times are different for biohazardous waste disposal and sharps disposal.

A facility that generates less than 20 pounds of biohazardous waste per month may store it for 30 days.”

That means pickup for a small medical waste generator should be scheduled for about once a month.

The waste may be stored for up to 90 days if kept at 32 degrees Fahrenheit or below.

Good storage habits may allow a less frequent pickup schedule.

Good storage habits would mean storing the medical waste containers in a place that is easily cleaned, not permeable (in case of spills) and made of durable materials that would provide protection from water, rain and wind so the containers remain dependably intact. Good storage would keep the containers in a place with limited access, preferably in a place where only trained employees can enter, so that the chance of damage, leakage or spills is minimal.

Good storage would be a place where the floor is not carpeted, has no open seams, and if there are floor drains, they must discharge to a sanitary sewer disposal system. The area should be kept clean and well-maintained, be in good repair, and if there are biohazardous waste containers in there, the international biohazard symbol needs to be posted at the entry.

Once a medical waste disposal box is filled, it needs to be packaged. Then, it should be picked up within 30 days. The countdown begins once the box is packaged.

However, sharps disposal containers have a different time frame. They can remain in place until they are ready to be changed, which is just slightly before the level reaches the “full” line. So, if you are a generator of mainly sharps disposal, like a tattoo parlor, the frequency of the medical waste pick-up would depend on the frequency of your sharps disposal containers reaching the full lines.

Hospitals and Nursing Homes are under other State regulations that require biohazard and regular trash to be removed every day or sooner, if needed. This is to protect patients and visitors, who are also at risk of exposure, especially little children, who are curious and may try to check out any unfamiliar things in their environment. Other people at risk for contamination and infection are support service workers. Cleaning personnel and laundry workers are the first people exposed to medical waste that is improperly disposed of or left around.

(Again, the sharps disposal containers are not included in the daily removal requirement.)

If you’re a small medical waste disposal generator, and you’re still not sure how often to schedule pick-up for your medical waste, here are some indicators:

To determine how frequently your facility needs to schedule pickup by a medical waste disposal company, you should weigh the amount of biohazardous waste (sharps not included) that your business generates in a month, and call to consult with our OSHA-trained experts.

You’ll know if your medical waste has been lying around for too long. One indicator that it’s beyond time to schedule a pickup is odor. Odors can indicate improper storage of your medical waste disposal (like a hot, moist boiler room), or be indicative of the type of waste you’re disposing of, but it’s a pretty reliable yardstick for the frequency of your pickup.

Don’t wait until it becomes that clear, though. Contact us for help to determine how often you should be scheduling pickups before the situation gets smelly.

 

 

Flu Season: Medical Waste Disposal at Home

FLU SEASON! Tips from your medical waste disposal expert.index

Some chiropractors look at people and “see” invisible lines going through their spines. Speech therapists hear little divergences in people’s accents. Barbers notice hairstyles. Teachers notice things that need fixing. I notice places with contamination potential.

Medical waste disposal is all about identifying which medical items can potentially spread pathogens, containing them, and destroying them. I’ve started, however, to notice contamination potential in everyday items as well. Doorknobs, for example. Computer keyboards. Cars with the windows shut and a passenger who’s a carrier…. Don’t ask.

So, here are some tips about handwashing, which has been proven effective at minimizing your potential of getting or giving out germs.

1. Wash your Hands.

I know you’ve heard this before. Keep in mind that if you are just not going to get into the habit of washing your hands regularly, it’s important to wash your hands after using the bathroom, after coughing or sneezing, before and after handling food, after coming into contact with an animal, and probably after coming into contact with something that a LOT of other people come into contact with on a regular basis… like doorknobs.

2. Wash your Hands with Soap.

You need a minimum of 15 to 30 seconds scrubbing time with antibacterial soap to really remove bacteria from your hands. Don’t forget to scrub between your fingers and the area at the base of your palms. Bacteria gets there, too.

3. Dry your Hands.

Once the soap loosened all the bacteria, you need to make sure none of it sticks right back to your skin. The easiest way to transfer bacteria is with wet hands. So dry your hands.

4. Dry your Hands on a Paper Towel.

Air-drying devices can actually increase bacteria count, and also blow germs around in a three to six feet perimeter from the device. Paper towels remove the germs and then they get thrown out into the garbage can. This gives them less potential to infect somebody else with the germs on them.

5. Consider cleaning surfaces

Use products with anti-microbial and disinfectant properties to maximize cleanliness. The easy way to sterilize home surfaces is with wipes. Also, when you clean the floors, clean each area separately, using another microfiber cloth, to avoid cross-contamination. (Meaning, don’t wash the floor in your child’s bedroom, where he’s been hanging out with a bad cold, and then use the same mop on the dining room floor. You’ll be spreading the bedroom germs all over the dining room.)’

Also, you might consider carrying wipes around with you and using them on doorknobs and shopping cart handles, and the like…. places that many people have put their germs on.

6. If you or anyone in your household is ill, use a crude medical waste disposal bio-hazardous waste precaution and double-bag tissues in a separate garbage can. YOu can get a small container and keep it in the bedroom. In my experience, when someone has a bad cold or flu, the tissues tend to really accumulate.

This is your medical waste disposal expert, wishing you good health and happiness, much joy,success, peace and the absence of any sort of flu neurosis this season.