You will never know the amount of the medical waste produced by your facility. Glycon pays a great attention to it; we keep an eye on these numbers every day. When it comes to Southern California medical waste services, we have clients whose waste output is in pounds, as well as those who produce waste in tonnes. As you already know, medical waste is a big responsibility, both in a legal and financial sense. As it is impossible to avoid it altogether, there might be a few things your facility could do to decrease the amount of medical waste you produce.
Check if All Waste is Medical
Do you have red bio-hazard containers placed in your hospital’s hallways? Have you ever checked what’s inside? Your staff should know what they are for, but your visitors might not think twice about throwing an empty soda can into a container marked “bio hazard.” Green, blue, red – recycling comes in many colors, right? This misuse of designated containers could be generating extra “medical” waste that shouldn’t be there. And it’s not like you could sort the contents before you hand the container over to your medical waste removal company. Once it’s in, it’s in.
What you can do to fix this
- You must think of placing medical waste containers where they can’t be used by your patients and other facility visitors. Only staff should have access to these bins to make sure only medical waste goes in.
- You are recommended to have a regular waste bin at a bio hazard container, so that there is less temptation for misuse.
- Find out whether regular waste bins are emptied as they fill up to avoid leaving a bio hazard container as the only trash receptacle available.
- Introduce clear signage on and above the red containers, in multiple languages in case of necessity.
- Select appropriate size of containers for each room depending on the typical amount of waste generated. The size restriction will make your clinicians more selective about what goes in.
Check if all Medical Waste is Regulated
If you need to properly dispose of medical waste through a qualified vendor like GLYCON LLC, this is only true for regulated medical waste. Not all medical waste produced by your facility is regulated. A piece of waste becomes regulated when it contains blood or other bodily fluids that can potentially spread blood borne pathogens. Regulated medical waste (RMW) includes such things as:
- A blood-soaked gauze
- Organs, tissues, body parts and blood products
- Contaminated sharps (needles, scalpels, etc.)
- Waste from quarantined patients
- Microbiological waste, such as cultures and specimens
- Animal carcasses, waste or body parts exposed to infectious agents.
Note that urine and feces are commonly not considered regulated waste, unless visibly contaminated by blood. Definition s of the “regulated medical waste” may be different in different states . Medical waste is typically regulated on a state level and may fall under jurisdiction of several different municipalities.
You need to check with your local laws to determine what is considered regulated medical waste in your state. Generally, waste from regular patient visits, such as bed liners, device packaging, test strips or medication containers are not considered regulated . If you teach your employers how to identify regulated medical waste, you can greatly reduce your waste output. You can also remove medical waste containers from places where regulated waste is unlikely, such as patient exam rooms. This way your nurses won’t be tempted to use them for unrelated items.
There exist several types of medical waste , which although are labeled as single-use, can be disinfected and reused. Adjust with your local regulations to ne sure which items are permitted to be reused. Something as simple as reusing your sharps containers can make your red bag a few pounds lighter. It may not only reduce the amount of medical waste, it may also help you save by not having to purchase replacements.
These three simple tips can greatly help you cut down the amount of medical waste created by your facility. Segregation of medical waste and proper container placement will have a positive influence on your waste reduction initiative. However, after all is said and done, it’s up to your employees to either support or compromise your efforts. This is the reason why proper training of both current staff and new hires can’t be underestimated. At the same time, it doesn’t matter whether you are a small quantity generator or a large quantity generator, GLYCON can safely dispose of your medical waste while following all applicable rules and regulations.
Contact us for medical waste management services in Southern California ( Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Long Beach, Anaheim, Riverside, Irvine, Santa Ana, Santa Barbara, San Diego…).