When it comes to your medical waste disposal cost, you could be paying more than necessary—and not even know it. If you suspect you're overpaying, read on to discover six of the most common ways people are needlessly shelling out for their medical waste removal.
Medical Waste Disposal Cost: 6 Mistakes that Could Hit Your Wallet
Not Following DOT Guidelines Could Negatively Affect Your Cost of Waste Disposal
While it's relatively uncommon to fail to follow DOT guidelines related to medical waste transport, it can happen, and doing so can result in expensive fines.
Some violations include the following:
- Not labeling your waste boxes correctly.
- Not filling out the proper paperwork related to that waste shipment.
Failing to Follow Proper Sharps Disposal Protocol
One of the biggest violations with medical waste relates to not putting all sharps in the correct puncture-resistant sharps bins. Sharps cannot ever go in the trash, but even if you put them in with the regulated medical waste, they can never be loose in that red bag. Always use a sharps bin, as this protects everybody who comes in contact with that waste from being stuck with a potentially infected needle.
By the same token, even if you use sharp bins, those are not safe to go in the standard trash. The only proper regulated medical waste disposal protocol entails putting the sharp in a puncture-resistant container and putting that container in a red bag for biohazardous material.
Violating this sharp bin rule can result in fines, which again needlessly increases your waste disposal costs.
Improper Waste Segregation
The improper segregation of waste is a big problem today in the medical waste disposal industry, and it contributes to higher waste disposal cost. This manifests in several different ways.
- People throw items into red bag waste that shouldn't be there, including expired medications. There's a perception this is permissible because it's not simply throwing that expired medicine down the drain, but it's not legal and could result in fines.
- People throw blood-contaminated items in the trash to avoid filling up the red bags, but this improper disposal could also lead to fines.
- People throw standard trash (that could go in the trash can) into the red bag. This mostly happens due to a lack of training and education about proper red bag waste protocol, and it causes medical facilities to pay for more red bag waste disposal than necessary.
Whether you're overpaying because of fines or unnecessary extra waste pickups, improper waste segregation can cost you.
Not Limiting Your Transportation Costs
If your medical facility is in a rural area, you could be paying a sizable transportation fee every time a company picks up your waste. If you're getting monthly pickup for a small quantity of medical waste, figure out if you have room to store those boxes. Getting picked up once every three months rather than three times over three months will save you two months of transportation fees.
Always discuss this with your waste management company, as there are various limitations about how long you can store waste onsite.
Not Getting Adequate Estimates from Medical Waste Disposal Companies
Just like with any service, you want to get at least three estimates from various companies to compare prices and value offered. If your medical waste disposal company is overcharging you, that leads to you overpaying. However, even if that company is inexpensive but offers poor service, it could cost you in the long run. Remember, as the generator of the waste, you're ultimately responsible. Even if the company you hire makes a mistake, you could still be financially and legally liable.
Do your due diligence to find the company that offers fair pricing and great value and minimizes your chance of paying hefty fees.
Getting Locked into a Costly Waste Management Contract
If you sign a waste management contract, you're locking yourself into a monthly fee that could be charging you for services you don't even use every month. Trying to get out can also lead to sizable contract breakage fees. Written into that contract can also be hidden fees, such as OSHA training fees or box overage fees.
If you do opt for a contract, make sure you understand every aspect of what you're being charged for, and if you're not happy with the waste management price, negotiate up-front (before you sign anything).
The vastly preferential system is a waste management service agreement, wherein you are only charged for the services you use that month. This is especially useful for companies that only ship two or three boxes a year. Rather than paying a monthly fee, they can just call whenever they need that pickup.
By and large, waste management contracts lead to excessive waste management costs month in, month out.
For more information about how to safely and legally reduce your cost of waste management, please feel free to contact a representative of MCF Environmental Services.