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Red Bag Waste

Before we discussed why medical facilities use red bags for bio-hazardous waste. Red bags are one of the allowed means for control of medical waste. What goes in them is not the same as what goes in a sharps container or other medical waste bins. It is also known as regulated medical waste and bio-hazardous waste. Red bag waste is bio-hazardous, or waste that is hypothetically infectious.

What Goes In That Red Bag?

Red bag waste has had contact with a probable infectious agent and must be disposed of in a red bio-hazard waste bag. This embraces:

  • gauze
  • table paper
  • objects containing dried blood or other fluids
  • blood soaked items
  • bandages
  • gloves, gowns, intravenous bags
  • personal protective equipment
  • soft plastic items
  • specimen cups

Red bag cannot go into the regular trash when it is ready for disposal.

A waste management company that specializes in regulated medical waste will take the waste off site and destroy the potential for damage from it. This waste is contaminated by potentially infectious materials, it needs to be destroyed through an autoclave. All regulated medical waste is placed inside for about one hour to destroy any harmful materials. An autoclave is like an oven that is to about 300 degrees.

After, the waste is ready to go to a landfill. This type of waste is sent to an incinerator in other cases.

OSHA, it is the employer’s responsibility to determine the existence of medical waste, and to ensure that it is using proper packaging, such as red bags for bio-hazardous waste.

Contact us for more information about what constitutes this kind of waste, how to properly dispose of it, or how to select a reputable medical waste disposal company.

Red Bags

Many institutions impose guidelines in using red bags for the management and removal of medical waste. Health care facilities use many receptacles and collection methods for chemotherapy waste and medical waste disposal. However each have their own purpose and are all exclusive of one another. This is because of the health and environmental risks associated with the different types of medical waste.

One type of collection method is a red bag, known as “red bag waste.” A red bag is a red plastic bag, but it is only used for the disposal of non-sharp and potentially infectious bio-hazardous waste.

Specialists never dispose red medical waste bags of or municipal or city waste collectors never collect them. Only licensed medical waste contractors can collect and dispose of filled red bags.

Why Are They Red?

According to OSHA that bio-hazardous bags must only contain the bio-hazard symbol and should be “fluorescent orange or orange-red with lettering and symbols in a contrasting color.”

The reason you may find red bags more commonly is because red is often related to danger. Healthcare staff must be able to identify very fast which container to put waste in, and red is a color that stands out. 

California and some other states actually require using red bags only.

Red bags are a visible warning to staff and patients, as well as disposal professionals. Red color shows that the contents must be handled with extra caution. Red bag waste contains substances that can cause infection and illness if handled improperly.