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The FAQs of Medical Waste

What is Medical Waste?

The World Health Organization classified medical waste into eight categories:

Infectious Waste that may transmit infection from virus, bacterial, parasites to human (e.g. lab cultures, tissues, swabs, equipment and excreta)
Sharps Sharp waste, such as needle, scalpels, knives, blades
Pathological Human tissue or fluids (body parts, blood, other body fluids)
Radioactive Unused liquid in radiotherapy or lab research, contaminated glassware, etc.
Chemical Expired lab reagents, film developer, disinfectant
Pharmaceuticals Expired and contaminated medicines
Pressurized containers Gas cylinders and gas cartridges
General waste (UMW) No risk to human health because no blood or any related bodily fluid (office paper, wrapper, kitchen waste, general sweeping, etc.)

You need to know what type of medical waste your facility generates so that you can learn how to dispose of it properly.

What Types of Facilities Generate Medical Waste?


Primary health centers

Nursing homes

Medical colleges

Veterinary colleges

Biotechnology institutions

Research centers

Paramedic services

Blood banks

Funeral homes


Autopsy centers

Physician offices/clinics

Dentist offices/clinics

Veterinarian offices/clinics

Animal shelters

Slaughter houses

Blood donation centers

Vaccination centers


Psychiatric clinics

Gyms and pools



What Are the Dangers of Improper Medical Waste Disposal?

Sharps - learn about the FAQs of medical wastePathological wastes may contain dangerous or communicable diseases, and laboratory cultures may contain high concentrations of infectious agents. Hospital staff, patients and anyone else entering the facility is at risk.

Sharps can inject infectious agents directly into the bloodstream.

Hazardous chemicals and drugs put anyone who needs to handle them at risk.

Disposable medical items can be repackaged by miscreants and sold, often without even being washed.

Drugs that have been disposed of can be packaged by corrupt dealers and sold to unsuspecting buyers.

The air, water and soil will be polluted, directly by the waste or by defective incineration emissions.

What Are the Advantages of Proper Medical Waste Disposal?

Proper disposal done by experts is the most important way to prevent the spread of microorganisms and bacteria that cause diseases and infections. The risks to staff, patients, and visitors are minimized, and the facility is free of unclean-looking areas and unpleasant odors.

It prevents the spread of hepatitis, HIV, and other viral diseases that are communicated through sweat, blood, body fluids and contaminated organs via syringes, needles and IV sets.

It protects our planet.


Call Maine Medical Waste Disposal first for DOT compliant biohazard transportation and disposal: 866-331-7731.

How to Choose a Medical Waste Disposal Company

You are responsible for the proper disposal of medical waste—from segregating and packaging it to the final treatment of it. You are the one who will be penalized if the disposal violates current standards. OSHA fines alone could cost as much as $70,000 per violation. And then there will be the fines from the state and other government agencies. More important is the potential for serious health consequences for your staff, patients or consumers, possibly the community in general and the assault on an environment that is becoming increasingly fragile.

You can protect yourself, your company, human and animal life, and the environment by choosing a medical waste disposal company that will partner with you in providing that protection and complying with all applicable environmental and safety laws.

To choose wisely, take the following aspects of the medical waste company into consideration.

  • The company fully understands and adheres to  all guidelines and regulations of the state of Maine. The buck will stop with you if the company does not.
  • The company has the proper permits, licenses and insurance. The minimum liability insurance required is $1,000,000.
  • The company does not have any fines or penalties on file or any other business problems. You want a partner who is aboveboard and not carrying any old baggage into the relationship.
  • The company has valid experience in medical waste disposal. Large, established waste management companies sometimes branch out into medical waste. There is nothing similar in picking up your weekly trash and handling medical waste.
  • The collectors and driver are trained and certified.
  • The trucks are modified for and dedicated to only medical waste collection.
  • The company inspects your facility and provides you with a report or plan before even discussing fees. Waste disposal services are case-specific per facility and must be aligned with the operation of your company.
  • The company provides training for your staff in the handling of medical waste, keeps your staff up to date with regulatory changes, and works with you to keep your facility OSHA compliant.
  • Customer service is paramount. Does the company have a 24/7 hotline? Average time to return a customer’s phone call? How flexible are they with scheduling pickups?
  • Quoted fees are all-inclusive. You don’t want any surprises later, for example, with surcharges for fuel or containers.
  • The company offers a service agreement in which you pay for services used (per container or per a flat fee) rather than sign you to a long-term contract that locks you into a monthly fee. Contracts often include a small-print clause that they have the right to raise prices, and early termination of the contract is very costly should you not be satisfied with the service you are receiving.

Some things that should send the red flags flying:

  • The “now or never” sales pitch: If the terms are good today, they will be good tomorrow for a reputable company.
  • Brokers: A broker has nothing to do with medical waste disposal.  His or her tools of the trade are a phone and a briefcase. It makes no sense to pay them to refer you to a medical waste disposal company. It’s like paying someone to suggest a restaurant for you.
  • A company that collect only sharps: Some such companies do not dispose of the sharps but sell them to a national corporation.
  • A company without professional headquarters: Locate the address on Google Map Satellite. If the address turns out to be a private residence, (1) they are not experienced, (2) they’ll likely be out of business soon, or (3) it’s a broker as mentioned above.

Maine Medical Waste Disposal, a local, family-owned and -operated enterprise, will protect your legal liability; protect your personnel and patients/clients and the community from the danger of infectious diseases; protect the environment from contamination; and protect your all-important reputation.

Call Maine Medical Waste Disposal first for DOT compliant biohazard transportation and disposal: 866-331-7731.