Vaccinations and Medical Waste: The Facts You Need to Know

In a normal year, 16 billion injections are administered around the world. That makes up for a lot of medical waste. Unfortunately, not all of the used syringes and needles end up in proper medical waste disposal facilities.
Imagine the increase in medical waste following over a year of COVID testing and vaccines. If you know how to dispose of medical waste, but find yourself overwhelmed following the roll-out of the COVID vaccine, you’re not alone.
Vaccinations and medical waste are nothing new to medical facilities, but this past year we’ve all faced many ups and downs. Many non-urgent procedures did not happen or were postponed but now things are ramping up again and millions of people are getting the vaccine.
Stick with us and we’ll lead you through information on the dramatic increase in medical waste due to COVID-19 and what is being done to take care of it properly.

Vaccine Packaging 
The packaging that the vaccine arrives in at your facility goes into regular medical waste. Some manufacturers have specific rules, however. The box that holds the vial trays and related packaging materials from the Pfizer vaccine needs to be returned to Pfizer to help them with their commitment to reusable resources.
Healthcare providers and waste management companies need to follow these protocols to remain compliant and should check with the manufacturers for additional instructions.

Syringes and Empty Vials 
Used syringes go into a disposable or reusable sharps container and get disposed of as regulated medical waste. They are either picked up or need to be mailed to a medical waste facility.
The Department of Defense recommends that you put empty vials in sharps containers also to help “mitigate potential diversion and illicit intent.” At this point, treat them as regulated medical waste just like the syringes.

Full or Partial Vials 
If you have full vials that have been compromised and cannot be administered or residual doses (partial vials), they need to be managed as regulated medical waste or non-hazardous pharmaceutical waste.

Additional Medical Waste
Besides the needles and the vials, additional medical waste includes gauze, gloves, cotton balls, bandages, masks, and other personal protective equipment.
These items don’t belong in a sharps container and can usually be disposed of as regular trash. In cases where they contain potentially infectious materials, they go in regulated medical waste containers.

Vaccinations and Medical Waste 
With the increase in COVID vaccinations and medical waste, make sure that you’re staying in compliance and properly disposing of vaccine-related waste to keep your healthcare workers safe.
We at MedSharps can offer you a comprehensive solution for the removal, treatment, and disposal of medical waste and biohazard waste. At MedSharps, we have licensed and certified employees that are trained to provide safe, sanitary, and efficient medical waste removal and disposal.
We also offer HIPPA compliant paper document shredding and e-waste destruction services. Contact us today.

5 Benefits of Working With a Local Medical Waste Management Company

Hospitals produce about 2 pounds of hazardous waste per bed, per day. And this only represents about 15% of the overall waste produced per bed. To inhibit the spread of disease and minimize the risk of infection, safe medical waste management is vitally important for any medical facility.

Working with a medical waste company is an excellent way to make sure this happens appropriately. While it can seem easy to pick one of the big names in the business and be done with it, that may not always be the best choice. Check out these 5 reasons why you should work with a local company instead.

Save Time

Don’t get us wrong, large, out-of-state companies are efficient. They have to be to run a working waste disposal business. However, there are a few areas where they can’t compare.

For example, if you have an emergency with your waste you’ll first spend time on hold trying to get to the right person to handle your problem. Then, a lot of time may go by before they can mobilize and present a solution. A local company, while still having to run through the same logistics, won’t be constrained by distance and can offer a faster solution.

Save Money

While the cost isn’t necessarily your highest priority, it’s a big benefit to look for the cheapest medical waste disposal companies. These are often your local companies rather than working with a big, out-of-state one.

Transportation costs can push up the cost of waste disposal significantly. While a large company may be able to offer bulk discounts, the savings may be mitigated by how far they have to transfer the waste.

Support the Local Community

Working with any local business helps to grow the economy of your area, creates jobs, and strengthens your community. A smaller, local company will take greater pride in providing exceptional service to your medical facility.

You can also take pride in the fact that you work with a local company. Your community will see this as a way that you are trying to be responsible, both with the environment and with serving the community and keeping it clean and safe.

Compliance with Local Rules

State regulations surrounding the proper handling and disposal of medical waste vary. Local medical waste management companies are fully versed in your area’s rules so you can rest-assured that you are in compliance.

Convenience

Local medical waste pickup companies tend to be the most convenient. Being located closer makes the logistics easier for them. While an out-of-state company can have things down to a science, they are more vulnerable to traffic problems or other unforeseen circumstances.

A local company is less likely to run into logistics problems. Plus, if you need an extra pickup, it’s a simple phone call away.

Safe, Secure Medical Waste Management

Proper medical waste management has always been vitally important. Disposing of needles, blood, and other contaminated waste must be handled properly or your community can suffer.

Medical waste companies are held to a high standard and we seek to exceed it and provide the best service to our customers. Looking for a new company? Contact us today to learn about our highly efficient disposal programs.

Common Regulated Medical Waste Compliance Problems

When you think about medical waste, do you immediately think “toxic” or “disease-ridden”?

Only about 15% of medical waste is labeled as hazardous material, meaning it’s toxic, infectious, or radioactive. The other 85% is considered a non-hazardous waste.

Management of regulated waste is extremely important to lower the risk of transmitting infection.

What are the most common compliance problems that come with handling regulated medical waste? Keep reading to learn more.

What is Regulated Medical Waste?

Regulated medical waste (RMW) by definition is similar for each state yet can differ a bit depending on the state. For example, some states call RMW infectious waste and/or biohazardous waste.

An overall definition includes any waste associated with healthcare that has the potential to spread disease. Blood or other types of contamination that are not handled properly potentially pose a health or environmental threat.

What are the Most Common Problems Associated with Regulated Medical Waste?

There are different categories of medical waste and each state decides how each category should be treated. Let’s look at the categories and problems that are common to the industry.

EPA Compliance Medical Waste

The EPA does not have a central role when it comes to RMW, but they do still have some regulations regarding emissions from incinerators at hospitals and other medical facilities.

There are EPA requirements under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act for any medical waste treatment plan or technology that uses chemicals in the treatment of medical waste.

Keeping track of the rules and regulations of all of the different agencies is important and time-consuming.

OSHA Compliance Medical Waste

OSHA defines medical waste as semi-liquid blood or other potentially infectious material (OPIM), things that have been contaminated by both or either blood or OPIM, items caked with dried blood, and pathological and microbiological wastes that contain blood or OPIM.

OSHA regulates waste on the federal level of government. Because most rules governing medical waste come from the state level, this makes things confusing when it comes to knowing which regulations to follow.

On the other hand, OSHA regulations fill the gap for states lacking comprehensive medical waste regulations.

HIPAA Compliance Medical Waste and Medical Compliance Medical Waste

Adequate training of healthcare employees on the proper disposal of medical waste and having a regulated system of disposal is the way to stay HIPAA compliant in regards to medical waste.

There are a lot of rules regarding medical compliance for medical waste like used and unused sharps.

Document training and medical waste plan to stay compliant.

Handle With Care

Now you know the problems that are associated with regulated medical waste compliance. Do you know who you can trust as your medical waste expert? We at MedSharps offer regulated medical waste removal and treatment services to our clients.

We have a vast knowledge of compliance-related issues when disposing of medical waste. We offer scheduled collection services to quickly and safely remove your medical waste with no interruption to your normal activity.

We pay close attention to detail and base our service on moral and ethical principles.

If you’d like to receive information about our services, contact us today.

How MedSharps Is Prepared for the COVID-19 Medical Waste Surge

Hospital waste and other healthcare waste generated by such facilities equal roughly 2 million tons each year!

Hospital waste management is important for proper medical waste disposal in order to keep healthcare workers safe especially in today’s health crisis.

Medical waste management companies have to ensure the safety of the general public as well when performing the task of treating medical waste to where it is no longer infectious.

A side effect of the coronavirus pandemic you may not have thought about is an unprecedented amount of additional medical waste. Stick with us as we explore effective healthcare waste management solutions.

Medical Waste Preparedness and Solutions

Though the elimination of elective medical procedures has offset some of the rises in medical waste, the increase due to coronavirus is still a concern.

The increase we’re seeing comes from the use of additional personal protective equipment (PPE) and some non-traditional waste now being classified as regulated medical waste like food from COVID-19 positive patients.

Let’s look at how MedSharps has prepared for the surge.

Medical Waste Containers

In order for the contaminated waste to be properly disposed of, it needs to go into environmentally safe containers. MedSharp containers meet all OSHA requirements and guidelines for health and safety.

Carefully packaged waste protects everyone involved in the removal of medical waste.

We remove, wash, and sanitize our reusable sharps containers and return them to our clients safe and ready to use 100+ times.

Proper Staff Training and Protection

One of the most important factors in medical waste disposal is the protection of those in charge of handling the hospital and other medical waste.

MedSharps not only handles the disposal of waste, we evaluate and train our client’s staff to ensure that proper procedures are being followed. This is more important than ever.

Ensuring that our workers have the proper protective gear for the battle with coronavirus is also part of our operational perspective as well as keeping up with any changes to CDC recommendations regarding medical waste disposal.

Treatment of Medical Waste

We have a large-scale autoclave for waste disposal and treatment. An autoclave is a strong, heated container that uses high pressures and temperatures to sterilize all waste with steam.

This is the most effective way to deal with medical waste. It reduces the risk of exposure which is extremely important with the current coronavirus.

Medical Waste Services

Now that you’ve learned about the surge due to COVID-19, you want to be extra careful when disposing of medical waste. Do you know who can ensure that your medical waste management is in the right hands?

We at MedSharps ensure that our staff performs every service we offer in full compliance with local, state, and federal laws. Our safe and compliant service takes the liability off of you.

We have on-demand customer service. Our clients can check the progress of their waste disposal 24/7. Contact us for a quote today.

How to Properly Dispose of Household Medical Waste

Do we have anything to worry about when it comes to dumping medical supplies in the trash? Harvard researchers think so.

Pharmaceuticals and medical waste that gets into water sources impacts wildlife. It can cause injuries, sterility, and even spread disease.

Are you wondering what impact your used needles are having on the environment? Are you not sure how to dispose of medical waste the right way? Learn everything you need to know about proper medical waste disposal below.

Why You Should Never Throw Medical Waste in the Trash

Used needles are biohazards. When thrown away with other trash, they can stick other humans or animals. This prick can lead to injuries and even spread disease.

You should never throw used needles in the trash because they can poke through plastic trash bags. If they reach a landfill, then they could poke unsuspecting humans or animals.

3 Ways to Dump Medical Trash

So, it’s not a great idea to get rid of needles by putting them with your household trash. What are the best ways to dispose of sharps and other medical waste then?

The first thing you need to do is discipline yourself. Never leave sharps out in the open after using them. Instead, put them in a container the moment after you use it. This important step will prevent unexpected cuts and sticks.

Once your container is about three-quarters full, it’s time to dispose of it and get a new one. Never reuse needle disposal containers. Instead, learn the three different places to dump them below.

1. Mail-Back Programs

One way to get rid of sharps in a safe way is to use a mail-back program. Here’s how the MedSharps mail-back program works:

  • You order a sharps container
  • Fill the container with used sharps
  • Put the container in a pre-paid shipping box
  • UPS will collect the package

We’ll pick up your waste at a time that fits your schedule. We can come by as often as you need. Whether you need your trash collected every week or every month, we’ll do what’s convenient for you.

Upon collection, MedSharps takes care of everything else. We’ll dispose of the container’s contents at no extra cost to you.

2. Household Hazardous Waste Collection Areas

Call your local hazardous waste collection site. Sometimes, they’ll let you drop off your sharps containers.

3. Special Residential Pick-Up Services

This option isn’t available to everyone, but some communities offer pick-up services. There’s usually a significant fee because specialists need to collect the sharps.

Disposing of Medical Waste the Right Way

For many of us, medical waste is inevitable. The destruction of our habitat doesn’t have to be, though. We have the power now to make a change and start disposing of medical trash the right way.

Do you have more questions about our medical waste disposal services? Are you interested in getting started on a proper disposal plan? Reach out to us now on our online form to request a free quote or get more information about our services.