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Common vs. Regulated Medical Waste

regulated medical waste

There are a few clearly set categories of common and regulated medical waste. The term “medical waste” pertains to a very broad range of waste materials produced by facilities and businesses in the healthcare industry. These categories have very strict guidelines mandated by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) that refer to the proper dumping of medical waste.

If you do not manage to properly follow OSHA guidelines it will not only bring to significant fines, but could also cause serious harm to the health of customers and workers. OSHA has put guidelines in place for a good reason, so it’s important that businesses in industries that produce medical waste know about the different medical waste categories, and the disposal guidelines that concern to them.

Where to Start

Everyone must be familiar with some existing extensive subcategories of medical waste, but first of all, the whole medical waste fits into one of two categories—common medical waste and regulated medical waste. The main difference between these two categories is that regulated medical waste is any waste that contains or has been exposed to blood or other potentially infectious materials (OPIMs).

OPIMs most typically refer to human blood or anything that has been infected with it, however can also refer to the materials contaminated with other bodily fluids such as:

  • Semen
  • Vaginal secretions
  • Cerebrospinal fluid (fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord)
  • Synovial fluid (fluid surrounding bone joints)
  • Pleural fluid
  • Pericardial fluid
  • Peritoneal fluid
  • Amniotic fluid

Pathogenic microorganisms are also considered OPIMs unlike sweat, tears, saliva (except in dental procedures), urine, feces, and vomit which are not.

This differentiation is critical because the materials are possibly infectious and harmful to human health. OSHA guidelines regulating the disposal of medical waste generally concerns to OPIMs containing waste, and are therefore mostly concerned with regulated medical waste.

Nearly all biological waste may contain OPIMs, but much medical waste does not actually match this criterion. Indeed, a great deal of the medical waste generated is considered common medical waste. Common medical waste can include any materials containing sweat, urine, feces, or saliva, because these are not considered to be OPIMs. Only several examples of common medical waste include, but are not limited to:

  • Empty IV bags
  • Empty stool or urine containers
  • Foley/catheter bags
  • Bedpans
  • Exam gloves
  • Unused medical products and supplies (excluding unused sharps).

Thus, as you are already a little aware of the differentiation between these two categories, get ready to get acquainted with regulated medical waste, its subcategories, and how they are defined.

Regulated Medical Waste

The term “medical waste” is clearly defined OSHA’s Blood-borne Pathogens Standard — which is the central regulated medical waste disposal guideline — defines regulated medical waste as, “liquid or semi-liquid blood or other potentially infectious material (OPIM); infected items that would release blood or OPIM in a liquid or semi-liquid state if compressed; items that are caked with dried blood or OPIM and are capable of releasing these materials during handling; contaminated sharps; and pathological and microbiological wastes containing blood or OPIM.”

As this definition is not limited, however, state legislation often defines regulated medical waste and handling guidelines further. The definition of medical waste of each state and guidelines differ a little, so before acting be sure to check with your local.

Commonly, six different subcategories of medical waste are defined by states. These categories are mentioned below:

 Pathological / Anatomical Waste

  • All human and animal wastes that are detectable as body tissues, organs, or body parts are called Anatomical waste, while pathological wastes are human tissue samples collected for getting to understand better a patient’s disease or ailments.

Cultures and Stocks of Infectious Agents

  • The specimens from medical and pathology laboratories, culture dishes, and devices used to transfer, inoculate, and mix that are included in them, and they seem to contain organisms that may be pathogenic to healthy humans. Discarded live and attenuated vaccines are also included in this category

Contaminated Sharps

  • These items are the ones which may bring sub-dermal inoculation of infectious agents or that can easily penetrate the skin, damage waste bags and cardboard boxes such as hypodermic needles, syringes, Pasteur pipettes, capillary tubes, razor blades, scalpel blades, and broken glass from the laboratory.
  • A special handling and packaging under both OSHA and DOT s required for sharps. Turn to your state’s guidelines when identifying what items are classified as sharps.

Isolation Waste

  • Waste isolation is any biological or contaminated waste caused by isolated or quarantined humans and animals to protect others from highly communicable diseases.

Contaminated Animal Parts and Bedding

  • Any animal carcasses, body parts, bedding and related wastes that may have been exposed to infectious agents during research, production of biologicals, or testing of pharmaceuticals are considered to be contaminated and must be properly disposed of.

As you notice, there are many materials that could be called regulated medical waste. Teaching and research labs should take particular caution, as the guidelines don’t often directly point to these types of medical waste producing entities, but have an equal opportunity to cause harm to employees and others through the improper handling of such waste.

Protect Your Business and Employees with Compliant Medical Waste Disposal Services

It is your obligation to dispose of this waste as a medical waste producer. If you do not manage to do so can cause severe damage to innocent people and cost you your business.

Glycon knows that this process is complicated and full of opportunities to make mistakes, because of this we’ve developed tried-and-true compliant methods to handle your medical waste with ease. We offer a number of medical waste disposal services across a variety of industries and are fully equipped to meet your requirements concerning to  medical waste.

To learn more about our medical waste services, request a free quote by filling out the form to the right or give us a call at (844) 494-8222

7 Facts Everyone Should Know About The Medical Waste Industry

medical waste industry

Dumping medical waste can be to a great degree exacting as the regulators and the laws they design continue changing randomly keeping even the most experienced veterans out of the circle. A very rough explanation of medical waste is any waste material that has made contact with the body’s fluids. These materials are biological dangers and must be removed. Medical waste must be handled by authorized and licensed agencies.

Here are 7 facts everyone should know about the ever-changing face of Medical Waste Industry.

1) They are more expensive than regular waste.

Removed medical waste may cost more than 6 times the cost of handling regular waste. The cost may differ taking into account what type the medical waste is. Handling diseased syringes is completely different than trace chemotherapy.

2) Dangers of improper waste disposal

A very convenient method of treating dangerous medical waste is to have it burnt. The tissues used to treat sick patients are the leaders in the list of dangerous items– the contagious, deadly viruses they house deep inside can become airborne on contact with the outside air.

Some agencies do not bear responsibility towards the environment and simply dispose their waste along with their obligations into the sea – only for the deadly pathogens to infect fresh air and for infected syringes to wash up ashore.

3) Medical waste handlers need proper training

Besides the legal suggestions of getting listless with medical waste (getting involved in costly law suits), there are life threatening concerns posed to all agencies involved in medical waste violation. It is important to ensure that medical waste handlers pass proper OSHA training.

4) Most facilities only have as long as 30 days to store bio-waste

Though every state can have its own laws, the general ruling is to not store medical waste for more than 30 days in your containers. If you do not abide this rule it could bring   your firm getting charged with costly fines, let alone putting your reputation on the line.

5) Identifying the types of medical waste

Your workers need to become experts at the fine art of identifying different kinds of medical waste after acquiring knowledge from appropriate courses and certifications. It is a pity as blood stained tissues and cotton to end up in regular trash; following which the chemical breakup from prolonged exposure to the sun causes the trapped viruses to become airborne.

6) Medical waste transportation – a separate issue

Studying the regulations related to medical waste transportation is a totally different ball game, making you take permission from your state regulator. Training employees to handle the transportation side of things is both expensive and laborious.

7) Even common homes may bring about medical waste

The above mentioned is true, but it can’t be compared with the amount of waste the hospital facility does. All those bandages you use to wipe the blood, puss and other fluids are considered to be medical waste. This also includes any self-administered syringes and at-home tests such those used for testing blood sugar levels.

Glycon makes waste management easy for the Healthcare Industry through offering Medical Waste Disposal, Pathological Waste Disposal, Medical Waste Pickup Services and Recycling needs. Glycon Medical Waste Disposal offers full service waste management specifically designed for the California Healthcare Industry.

10 Most Common Medical Waste Violations Discovered in HealthCare

common medical waste violations

Medical waste disposal is a process that includes many necessary steps to avoid the 10 common medical waste violations facilities make. However, in the process, healthcare facilities lose track and omit some of these steps, which lands them on the wrong side of regulations set by the federal and state regulators.

Breaching the health standards will have a negative impact on a healthcare facility, hospitals and clinics. 

Here are the 10 most common medical waste violations found in the healthcare industry:

1. Incorrect Container Labeling

One must be very careful about the labeling medical waste disposal in containers, healthcare facilities because incorrect labeling on a container can actually be very risky and is considered one of the riskiest medical waste breach. Usage of not properly chosen color bags, failure to add date of manufacturing and expiry, lack of alertness, all  these are under this category.

2. Incorrect Container Management

Many healthcare institutions make a mistake when overlooking the proper management and consideration that should be given to containers before they are disposed off. Many facilities at some point erroneously put already used needles, or sharp items in containers that are neither leak proof nor tamper proof. This is a serious violation of health standards.

3. Little to No Employee Training

The employees, who get improper  training by healthcare institutions generally violate health standards just by doing that. It is important to train employees and to teach  how to handle waste management; If no, they will do what they please as they please.

4. Emergency Contingency Plans

Healthcare facilities must by all means have an emergency plan that trains and prepares them for unexpected incidents that could take place in any minute. These plans are not only for  patient, of course. They can be for accidental spills, loss of biomedical material, etc. If it is not succeeded to  provide a specific emergency contingency plan that means it is a serious violation of medical waste laws.

5. Fire Prevention

It doesn’t matter whether  this area is listed in an emergency contingency plan, it is still considered one of the common breaches of  medical waste that are found in healthcare. Preventive  fire hazards, or if the biomedical waste caught fire, the healthcare should have alternate ready at hand.

6. Proper Division

In case if you do no manage to  properly divide the waste into separate compartments, while labeling each and every item is a crucial breach. It is risky to divide medical waste and unpolluted waste.

7. Wrong Items Piled in Medical Waste

If the material is not divided and such items as solvents, paint thinner, batteries, formaldehyde products, etc., are detected in the medical waste division, it means that medical standards have been violated.

8. Transportation

A great attention must be paid  to the list of regulations which concern to the method by which the waste is disposed. Inattentiveness  in the way that waste is conveyed is considered as a diversity of Medical Waste Violations.

9. Transportation of Large Amounts

A permission is required from the state supervisor for conveying large amounts of waste from one place to another. If you do not follow this step, it will be regarded as a violation. Anything above 50 pounds requires a permission and authorization.

10. Unhygienic Transportation

The  healthcare facility must  clean and disinfect the areas before and after the waste is transported from one location to another,

Glycon Medical Waste makes waste management easy for the Healthcare Industry by offering Medical Waste Disposal, Hazardous Waste Disposal, Medical Waste Pickup Services and Recycling needs. Glycon Medical Waste offers full service waste management specifically planned to serve to the California Healthcare Industry. Regardless of the fact whether your facility is big or small, you are able to take part in waste management programs provided by Glycon Medical Waste Services. We pride ourselves in providing the highest level of customer service and regulatory compliance.

Biohazardous Medical Waste Containers

Bio-hazardous medical waste containers

When it comes to medical waste, each subcategory has its own regulations for being properly disposed of. Bio-hazardous medical waste containers require special attention to ensure they are properly disposed in compliance with state and federal regulations.
Four types of bio-hazardous wastes exist, each of which need to be treated uniquely when disposing.

Solid Bio-hazardous Waste

Solid bio-hazardous waste consists of non-sharp items that came in contact with human or animal specimen materials—such as tissues or bodily fluids. This might include petri dishes, personal protective equipment, and towels.
Container: This type of waste should be collected in a designated container with a lid that is lined with an autoclave bag and marked with the bio-hazard symbol.

Liquid Bio-hazardous Waste

Liquid bio-hazardous waste consists mainly of bloody and bodily fluids that could be contaminated with infectious agents.
Container: All liquid bio-hazardous waste must be collected in leak-proof containers secured against tipping over and labeled as bio-hazard. Additionally, the primary liquid containers can be placed in a secondary vessel—such as a tray or bucket.

Sharp Bio-hazardous Waste

Sharp bio-hazardous waste (also referred to as sharps) consists of any medical device  that came in contact with potentially infectious biological material that is sharp enough to puncture the skin.
Container: Sharps containers are designed to be puncture-resistant, leak-proof, and safe to handle. Regardless of bio-hazard status, all sharps are collected in such containers, but bio-hazardous sharps should be labeled with a corresponding symbol.

Pathological Bio-hazardous Waste

Pathological waste includes removed human (or animal) organs, tissues, and body parts that have been exposed to infectious agents.
Container: To prevent potential leaks, pathological waste should be double-bagged and stored similarly to liquid waste in secondary containers.

Get a free quote from Glycon LLC. Just fill in the form below to get an estimate on the cost of services or give us a call at  +1 (844) 494-8222.


medical waste box

Medical waste boxes are an important tool in the public health and safety arsenal. When the red disposal bags are full, they need to be packaged properly in order to be transported to a waste facility. Large medical waste boxes allow for multiple different sized red bags to be collected together. The box provides an extra layer of protection in the event of spills or holes in the red bags.


  • Large disposal box
  • Red hazardous disposal bags
  • White tape in order to tape the red bag
  • Clear packing tape
  • Scissors

For properly disposing household medical waste, please read this article.


Special boxes are required in order to pack red disposal bags. You can order these boxes from your local medical waste company. These boxes also come with customer slips which identify you for the delivery and pick-up drivers.


The medical waste box is set-up just like a moving box would be. The bottom of the box needs to be taped four different times. There is a long piece of tape lengthwise and then three pieces of tape across the width of the box. It is important that you leave the top of the box with the perforated cutouts intact.


Once the box is built, you place the red bag inside the box. Make sure to overlay the edges of the bag on the perforated cutouts. This will eliminate the risk of medical waste falling between the red bag and the outer box.


Once the disposal bag is full, you need to seal the bag and then seal the box. Make sure to wear gloves every time you seal a bag and box.


The red bag needs to be closed prior to the box shutting. Use white tape that will stick to plastic. Scrunch the top of the bag together and then wrap tape three times.


Using the perforated components of the box, fold it together in a way that seals evenly and securely. Using the moving tape, seal the top of the box the same way that you seal the bottom of the box.


Complete your information on the customer label and place it in the proper location on the box. It is important that you place it properly so that it is easier for the delivery drivers to scan the box. Your box is now ready to go for transportation!
Packaging red medical waste bags into the proper box is the final step to ensure that all medical waste is transported in a way that minimizes any public health risk. The most important thing to remember is that these boxes need to be picked up properly by medical waste professional transportation personnel like Glycon LLC. This completes the process of properly disposing of medical waste.