Biohazardous and Hazardous Wastes: What Is the Difference?

Biohazardous and Hazardous Wastes

Here on the blog, we’ve covered many topics that fall under what constitutes medical waste, but speaking more broadly, there are forms of waste that are considered biohazardous. Biohazardous waste should not be confused with hazardous waste. The latter can be potentially harmful to both the health of humans and animals as well as to the environment and is typically found in the form of solids, liquids, gases or sludge. While both pose a threat to the environment, they are treated very differently when it comes to proper removal.

Biohazardous waste is also known as infectious waste, but the words the words used to define this vary across the industry. Other terms used include biological waste, medical waste, hospital waste, medical hazardous waste, infective waste, microbiological waste, pathological waste, and red bag waste.

Hazardous waste is dealt with very differently than biohazardous waste. Once a material is deemed no longer useful and is ready for disposal, it is necessary to consider whether it can be safely and legally put in a dumpster for landfilling, poured down the drain, or set aside as a hazardous waste for special disposal. You should always refer to local and federal laws to see how to dispose of hazardous waste.

For biohazardous waste removal, it’s imperative to rely on a company like MedXWaste that can help you legally and safely dispose of it.

What is considered biohazardous waste? For one, it comes in several forms, including solid and liquid. Solid waste includes culture media, personal protective equipment that has been contaminated, and other materials, like sharps, pipette tips, glassware and more. Liquid waste includes blood, blood products, and bodily fluids.

Perhaps you’ve noticed on a recent doctor visit that, after receiving an injection or having a blood draw, the staff places all sharps into a red locked box. This is known as a sharps container and all of the contents are considered solid biohazardous waste. It is nearly impossible for an unauthorized person to remove them, and that is for the safety of not only the staff, but for you and other patients as well. Sharps are collected and then decontaminated by either incineration or steam sterilization.

The Environmental Protection Agency has the authority to regulate biohazardous waste management under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is the primary authority for regulating work place standards and employee health and safety, and here at MedXWaste, we offer an online OSHA compliance program.

Whether you’re a hospital, laboratory, veterinary office, assisted living facility, tattoo parlor or other facility that produces biohazardous waste, MedXWaste can provide all of the tools and education necessary to help you safely and dispose of your items.

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