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Types of Medical Waste

types of medical waste

There are basically four kinds of medical waste generated by healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics, pharmacies, veterinary clinics and nursing homes.

  • Ordinary Waste- this category includes waste that would be generated by normal households and offices. It includes materials such as paper, plastic and kitchen scraps. This can be disposed of as normal and it does not need any special handling.
  • Infectious Waste- this includes items such as human or animal bodily tissues (also called pathological waste), used swabs, used gloves, used sharps, dirty bandages, cultures or anything else that could infect somebody else. Every state has its own set of rules governing how infectious waste is stored, transported, disposed and processed.
  • Hazardous Waste- this is defined as dangerous waste that’s not infectious. This category includes unused “sharps” which are any sharp object that could pierce through the skin, opening a route for infection to enter. It includes items like needles, scalpels, medical instruments, culture dishes, ampoules, chemotherapy agents, chemicals, and mercury thermometers.
  • Radioactive Waste-  this comes from medical equipment that uses radioactive isotopes for treating disease. For example, chemotherapy machines. Any human tissue that has been contaminated with radioactive material would also be placed in this category.

Medical waste must be collected by a licenced medical waste disposal business. It must be treated before being recycled or disposed of. Let MET take care of your San Diego medical waste disposal needs to keep our community and environment safe.