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Medical Waste Disposal – Defining Medical Waste

There is no accepted universal definition of medical waste. However, the Medical Waste Tracking Act of 1988 broadly defined medical waste as solid waste generated in the immunization, diagnosis or treatment of humans or animals. Generally, any items that come in contact with a body’s fluids are considered medical waste. This waste is usually produced in a clinical setting.

Some examples of medical waste include:

  • Dry blood or fluid
  • Contaminated bandages, gauze and gloves
  • Syringes and other sharps

Terms Commonly Associated with Medical Waste:

A Brief History

This waste was once simply collected in special bags and plastic boxes and then disposed of like normal trash. It was found that this was not safe for the environment nor was it safe for the refuse workers or the general population. Today, a licensed medical waste disposal company collects the refuse and makes it safe to throw away.

How is it Made Safe?

The waste is made safe through the use of incinerators and autoclaves. Once separated, waste is sterilized, compacted and then disposed of or recycled. 

Check with your state or one of our sales reps to find out what is the case in your state. While some states use a general definition, others have specific lists of waste types and categories. Some states have chosen to adopt the definitions found in federal standards such as the DOT definition.

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