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HOW DO YOU DISPOSE OF MEDICAL WASTE?

dispose of medical waste

Due regulations set by states and OSHA’s federal guidelines, you must dispose of medical waste in a certain matter.

This is also reinforced by other federal agencies such the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Department of Transportation and other state-level regulators. After the 1988 Medical Waste Tracking Act expired in 1991, states were given the freedom to set laws and regulations to govern the medical waste.

Disposing of the medical waste that is generated at your facility is a necessary step to ensure compliance and safety. Most of this medical waste is generated at healthcare facilities across the United States. These facilities generally create 3 types of waste, medical/bio-hazardous, pharmaceutical and sharps.

After determining the type of waste, one must dispose of medical waste under those category guidelines. For general medical waste, red bio-hazardous containers will be needed for collection. This includes paper towels, wipes, gloves, or dressings with small amount of blood.

Any item that could potential puncture skin will be disposed in a “sharps container”. This container is puncture proof and leak-resident, for safety insurance. Companies such as Glycon llc. Disposal, offer an affordable sharps/pharmaceutical mail back program that is the cost-effective and hassle-free. Labeling of the type of medical waste that is within a container is a must. As OSHA and most state regulations do require this step, so waste can be separated and taken care of appropriately after your disposal.

Choosing not to follow the laws regarding how to dispose of medical waste, set by your state and OSHA, will result in hefty fines and potential closure of your facility.

Not to mention, practicing unsafe methods of disposing medical waste could be potential harmful for employees and other personal. Call Glycon for all your Glendale medical waste disposal needs. We also service all of Central and Southern CA.

Management of Pharmaceutical Waste Disposal at Healthcare Facilities

Pharmaceutical waste disposal

Medicines improve our quality of life, but there are some important issues regarding the proper disposal of unneeded or unwanted medicines. Pharmaceutical waste disposal should no longer pose a threat to our environment. Glycon LLC has developed a program to manage these unwanted pharmaceuticals safely and in compliance with all federal, state, and local laws and regulations.

One of the ramifications of mismanagement of unused medications is the environmental effects resulting from poor pharmaceutical disposal practices. Through the years, pharmaceuticals have been largely discarded through either flushing or “sinking” them into the wastewater stream or discarding them into the solid waste stream. In the first instance, the wastewater is treated to remove physical, chemical, and biological contaminants, such as sediment, bacteria, and viruses. However, this treatment does not remove all organic molecules, which are inherent in pharmaceuticals. Thus, many of these molecules remain entrained in the treated waste water which is discharged into reservoirs, rivers, or lakes. Likewise, drugs disposed of as solid waste (into landfills) may leach these organic molecules into aquifers and into the fresh water supply.

Once these “trace drugs” are in the water supply, they present dangers to aquatic life. Dangers also result from water being collected for treatment at water treatment plants and then piped to consumers. Most treatment plants are not designed to remove all drug residue.

The Environmental Protection Agency established the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, commonly referred to as RCRA, in 1976. RCRA is the federal law that governs the disposal of solid and hazardous wastes. Discarded pharmaceuticals are solid wastes, and it is estimated that between 5% and 10% are also classified as hazardous wastes when discarded.

Under the current federal hazardous waste regulations, until a pharmaceutical is actually discarded, or the decision is made to discard the material, the pharmaceutical is not subject to the RCRA hazardous waste regulations — since a material must first be a solid waste before it can be considered a hazardous waste. When a pharmaceutical is no longer usable, or the decision is made by the generator to discard the material, the RCRA regulations apply, and the generator must determine whether the waste is a RCRA hazardous waste. When faced with the question of whether or not a waste is regulated as hazardous under RCRA, turn to 40 CFR 262.11. This regulation will remind you of the four steps in the RCRA hazardous waste identification process.

Hazardous Waste Types

Listed Wastes – Wastes that EPA has determined are hazardous. The lists include the F-list (wastes from common manufacturing and industrial processes), K-list (wastes from specific industries), and P- and U-lists (wastes from commercial chemical products).

Characteristic Wastes – Wastes that do not meet any of the listings above but that exhibit ignitability, corrosivity, reactivity, or toxicity.

Universal Waste– Batteries, pesticides, mercury-containing equipment (e.g., thermostats), and lamps (e.g., fluorescent bulbs).

Mixed Wastes – Waste that contains both radioactive and hazardous waste components.

Verify whether the discarded pharmaceutical waste appears on any of the hazardous waste lists and/or exhibits at least one of the four characteristics, and if it does, manage it under RCRA subtitle C hazardous waste regulations.

Because of the size of our current pharmacopeia and the many different formulations, dosages and modes of administration of these many drugs, healthcare facilities often face a daunting task when attempting to properly classify their waste pharmaceuticals for disposal purposes. The EPA believes many healthcare-related facilities are unaware of their RCRA obligations. RCRA hazardous waste management requirements often are unfamiliar to healthcare workers, retail pharmacists, and other generators prompting them to dispose improperly of hazardous pharmaceutical wastes as municipal or bulk wastes.

How often should I schedule my medical waste disposal pickup?

medical waste disposal pickup

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 Blood-borne Pathogen Standard does not address this issue either.

Medical waste disposal pickup schedules can vary depending on the type of waste!

In California, the storage times are different for bio-hazardous waste disposal and sharps disposal.

A facility that generates less than 20 pounds of bio-hazardous 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 bio-hazardous waste containers in there, the international bio-hazard 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 bio-hazard 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 bio-hazardous 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 Glycon for help in determining how often you should be scheduling medical waste disposal pickup before the situation gets out of hand. We are here for all your Glendale medical waste disposal needs…and we service all of Southern CA and Central CA.

Learn What Really Happens To Bio-Hazardous Waste

bio-hazardous waste

Every time a patient makes a trip to the hospital, bio-hazardous waste is created. Even if you do not get a shot or have blood drawn, the tongue depressor and other items that come in contact with your body’s fluids can be considered bio-hazardous.

How is medical waste collected?

In years past, this waste was simply collected in special plastic boxes and bags and then disposed of just like normal trash. It was eventually found that this was not only not safe for the environment but it was also not safe for the refuse workers or the general population who may come in contact with this dangerous waste.

Thanks to recent regulations, today bio-hazard waste disposal companies must come to pick up the medical waste and take it to a treatment facility to be rendered safe and non-hazardous.

The red bags that you see in your doctor’s office are used to collect any waste that is soft and cannot penetrate the shell of the bag. Anything that could poke through the bags, such as needles, is collected in red hard plastic boxes that cannot be pierced by the sharp objects. It is very important that waste ends up in the proper container so as to keep everyone safe.

The waste is then put in a special area where a medical waste services company picks it up and takes it back to their facility. Here the waste is sorted through to remove any items that can be sent to a recycling center after it has been sterilized.

How is bio-hazard waste made safe?

Bio-hazardous waste is made safe through a sterilization process. Waste that cannot be recycled, like gauze or needles, still needs to be made sanitary and non-hazardous before it can be thrown away in a dump or landfill. This is usually done through the use of an autoclave which works by forcing air out of the unit and steaming the items at an intensely high heat. The temperature is so high that no bacteria can survive and thus the items are deemed safe for recycling or disposal.

After all the bacteria is removed by the autoclave process, the waste can then be disposed of in the normal manner.

So what happens with bio-hazardous waste once it’s placed in the container?

After the waste is made safe by the autoclave process, the waste can then be disposed of in the normal manner. There are some items, such as plastic items, which are sanitized by being melted down and then are sent to a recycling center where they can be made into new products. It is important for the medical waste disposal company to ensure that any product that they send for recycling has first been rendered safe. Melting down the plastic before sending it for recycling is the best way to remove any bacteria that may be present.

Do only hospitals produce bio-hazardous waste?

Many people are under the assumption that bio-hazard waste disposal only needs to be handled at doctors’ offices and hospitals. There are more institutions that need this type waste disposal than the traditional ones.

Other facilities that produce bio-hazard waste include:

  • Jails and prisons
  • Casinos
  • Gyms and pools
  • Animal hospitals and shelters
  • Veterinarian offices

Rather than letting the waste they produce end up in the regular trash and create a hazard, these places need to make sure their waste is properly disposed of.

Bio-hazardous waste must be handled properly according to the laws of the state and federal governments. For this reason, a bio-hazard waste disposal company is the only entity that can properly dispose of this type of waste. While medical waste was once simply placed in red bags or boxes and sent to the landfills, today this is not the case. The waste must be treated and rendered harmless before it can be recycled or thrown away. Let Glycon handle all of your medical waste disposal in Glendale and all areas of central and Southern CA.

5 Questions to Ask About Legal Pharmaceutical Waste Removal and Disposal

Proper pharmaceutical waste removal and disposal is the law!

Do you have pharmaceutical waste? Here are 5 questions for you to ask to help determine if your facility is complying with the law.

1. Have you ever dropped tablets or spilled liquid medication on the floor?
Spilled or contaminated medications are pharmaceutical waste that must be disposed of in compliance with federal and state hazardous waste regulations.

2. Do you ever prepare medication, but not fully administer/dispense it?
Partial or full prepared injections or IV bags are pharmaceutical waste that must be disposed of in compliance with federal and state hazardous waste regulations.

3. Do you ever receive sample medications from pharmaceutical representatives that expire before you can dispense them to patients?
Expired sample medications are pharmaceutical wastes, and responsibility for the disposal of expired sample medications falls to the facility that has custody of them when they expire.

4. Have you ever had patients whose medications changed, or who were discharged from your facility and their personal medications remained behind?
Any prescribed medication that can’t be used for its intended purpose and that remains in the custody of a healthcare facility is a pharmaceutical waste and must be disposed of properly by the healthcare facility.

5. Do you dispense warfarin, nicotine, physostigmine or arsenic trioxide?

These four drugs fall into a special subset of EPA hazardous wastes and even their empty packaging requires special management.   

Don’t put another pill in the trash, red bag, or drain. Let Glycon LLC help you establish a SAFE, SIMPLE, and COMPLIANT solution for pharmaceutical waste disposal.

Request a free, no-obligation quote for Glycon’s drug disposal service.  

Top Reasons You Need Proper Medical Waste Management

proper medical waste management

Do you and your employees know what goes in the regular trash can and what goes into the red, specially marked biomedical waste containers? While most businesses and medical facilities know the importance of following the rules and staying compliant, there are still people tossing medical waste where they want. For most, it’s a lack of training and not having a medical waste management system in place.

Here are a few reasons to put together a medical waste management system and how Glycon Medical Waste Services can help.

Proper Medical Waste Management Is Important!

Medical waste is harmful to humans. It can include infectious body fluids, used needles, chemicals, pathological waste, and more. While not all medical waste contains agents that can spread harmful diseases or pose serious risks to humans, there are many different forms of medical waste that can pose a risk to humans if handled improperly. By not having a proper medical waste management system in place, you are putting your staff, patients/customers, and others who visit your facility at risk of contracting diseases such as:

• Hepatitis
• HIV
• Malaria

At Glycon Medical Waste Services, we understand just how dangerous infectious biomedical waste can be to humans. We provide the proper bags and containers for all of your medical waste needs. And in order to help you and your staff learn the difference between medical waste and regular trash and how to dispose of medical waste properly.

MEDICAL WASTE IS HARMFUL TO THE ENVIRONMENT

Not only is medical waste harmful to humans and animals, but it is also harmful to the environment. Even with hours of training, hefty fines, and the threat of shutting down, there are some businesses and facilities that still toss medical waste in with the regular trash headed for the landfill. While it may not seem like a big deal, biomedical waste adds up quickly when everyone continues tossing a few things here and there.

Not only does it create more waste in the local landfill, but contaminated waste also finds its way to our water supply. It gets into our streams, rivers, and lakes and eventually into our drinking water. While most things can be filtered out of our drinking water and decontaminated, most water treatment facilities have not figured out a way to filter out pathogens, expired medications, and other harmful medical waste.

At Glycon Medical Waste Services, we work hard to make sure that we are doing everything possible to keep our environment safe. When you partner with us, you are getting a company that produces no atmospheric pollution, operates under some of the highest standards in the industry, and has put in place clean, safe practices in order to create the most minimal carbon footprint and reduce the overall impact on the environment.

PROPER MEDICAL WASTE MANAGEMENT IS REQUIRED BY LAW

There are several federal and state laws governing the disposal of medical waste. From the time it is created, removed, transported and disposed of, it’s important to follow the rules and regulations concerning medical waste. Are there a lot of rules? Yes. Is it impossible to follow the rules? No. By partnering with a medical waste disposal company like Glycon Medical Waste Services, it’s easy than you think to manage your medical waste.

Let us work with you to create a custom pick-up schedule to get rid of the potentially harmful waste in your facility.

We are also licensed, insured, and covered to handle the various types of medical waste.

CONTACT GLYCON MEDICAL WASTE SERVICES TODAY

If you are ready to start managing your medical waste stream, then give Glycon Medical Waste Services a call today! Let us help create a custom schedule to help you stay 100% compliant. We can hamdle all of your Glendale medical waste disposal requirements as well all areas of Southern California ( Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Long Beach, Anaheim, Riverside, Irvine, Santa Ana, Santa Barbara, San Diego …). Give us a call at (844) 494-8222 to get started.