If your clinic or medical facility produces any hazardous medical waste, you probably already realize there are specific rules and legal regulations that dictate how that waste needs to be handled. If you're confused or unclear about even one of these steps, read the following list carefully. If you still feel you need guidance or want help with any given step, contact your local hazardous waste removal companies for more personalized information.
Hazardous Medical Waste Disposal: Every Step You Need to Know
Step 1 of Medical Waste Removal: Identify
The first thing you need to do in this process is accurately identify what waste you have. Whether the waste is classified as hazardous or not changes how you need to dispose of it, so it's imperative to accurately identify anything hazardous.
How? You can use the SDS sheet that accompanies the particular item (the transition to SDS sheets from MSDS sheets makes this more streamlined and clear), or you can hire a medical waste disposal company to take a sample and run analytics.
Step 2: Package Your Hazardous Medical Waste
What you need to do in the packaging process depends on the volume of waste you've produced. The next step, therefore, is determining the size of container you'll need—whether that's a five-gallon pail, a fifty-five-gallon drum, or something in between.
Regardless, you must ensure you're using a DOT-approved box or container for shipment. Remember, you can always consult with the DOT for clarification on its shipping requirements.
Step 3: Get Approval of your Hazardous Waste Shipment from the Accepting Facility
Before you send your waste anywhere, you need to fill out a hazardous waste profile sheet. This must be sent for approval to the facility that will be accepting your waste shipment. Again, this step is always prior to shipping.
Assuming everything on that sheet is correct and the facility is able to take the waste type you've described, you will be given an approval number. You'll also be quoted a price from that accepting facility.
Things to Keep in Mind with the Medical Waste Disposal Industry
Because you're dealing with hazardous waste, it's not uncommon for the accepting facility to say it needs more information before approving a shipment. Some items are oxidizers or corrosive, so for the safety of everyone involved, the facility needs to be sure of what it's receiving. That facility might ask how the waste was processed or manufactured, or it might ask for further analytical sampling.
Be prepared for this clarification and follow-up. Medical waste disposal companies won't pick up any shipment until the accepting facility has given its full consent and approval.
Step 4: Create Necessary Paperwork for Your Medical Waste Disposal Shipment
This paperwork includes
- hazardous waste manifest (with the appropriate corresponding EPA waste code),
- hazardous waste label, and
- DOT placard.
No shipment can be properly and legally shipped without this collection of paperwork.
Step 5: Prepare Your Hazardous Medical Waste for Shipment
Once the waste is actually ready for shipment, you must ensure all drums are properly sealed and labeled and that the waste is in a shippable form. If you're working with a medical waste disposal company, don't forget to check that they use DOT-approved drivers.
Be aware that the placard indicating hazardous waste does mean the truck is more likely to be stopped at a DOT station to ensure everything is being done properly. If the truck is stopped, a DOT official will often get into the vehicle, check the manifest, inspect all the drums, and ask for verification of the driver's permits, training, and insurance.
As the generator of the waste, you assume cradle to grave liability, so you always want everything as by the book as possible.
Step 6: Treat Hazardous Waste at Facility
Once the waste arrives at the predetermined facility, it will go through the necessary treatment process. That could be
- fuel blending,
- medical waste incineration, or
- any number of other treatment methods.
For more information about how to legally dispose of your hazardous medical waste or what to expect medical waste disposal cost to be in your area, please feel free to contact a representative of MCF Environmental Services, a waste management Atlanta company.