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Where Do Hospitals Dispose of Medical Waste?

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Disposal of medical waste is one of the biggest challenges encountered by the healthcare community daily. Often this is complicated by several factors, including laws governing waste disposal, such as the HIPAA, epidemiology, and local regulations. Let’s take a look at how medical wastes are disposed of in a hospital setting.

What Is Medical Waste?
Before anything else, let us first define what medical waste is. Medical waste is defined as any type of waste containing infectious substances or substances that can potentially be infective. These wastes are often produced by facilities centered on healthcare such as hospitals, veterinary clinics, laboratories, etc.

The different type of medical wastes generated in healthcare facilities includes:
•    Discarded tissues from animals and humans during surgeries
•    Blood or materials contaminated by blood
•    Infectious cultures
•    Wastes produced by patients
•    Vaccines

Where Are Medical Wastes Disposed?

Medical wastes from healthcare facilities can be disposed of in two locations:

•    Off-Site Disposal
Off-site disposal is the usual method of waste disposal as this can be cheaper than your on-site disposal. Third-party waste disposal companies usually handle this job. Medical wastes are often collected via trucks or thru mailing or boxing services.

•    On-Site Disposal
Medical waste can still be treated on-site. However, this is usually limited to large facilities and hospitals and is often run by the government. On-site waste disposal and treatment are highly cost-prohibitive since the equipment used for waste disposal can be expensive in price, maintenance, and operational costs.

With proper waste management in healthcare facilities, both the employees and the environment will be protected from the risks associated with medical waste exposure. Hospitals can use different disposal methods depending on the type of medical waste. They should also ensure proper treatment before disposing on-site or off-site.