A waste management contract can be a complicated, involved document, but it is absolutely a legally binding contract—one that can have huge financial ramifications for your doctors' office. In particular, you need to be aware of your renewal date to ensure you aren't inadvertently signed up for that contract again.

Waste Management Contracts and Renewal Dates: Everything Your Doctors' Office Needs to Know

Length of Contract Renewal

The first crucial thing to know is that the contract that covers your disposal of medical waste can span years. Some contracts are even upwards of five years in length. If you allow your contract to automatically renew, you're not just agreeing to a medical waste pickup for a couple of months. You could be getting your doctors' office locked into a legally binding multiyear contract.

If, down the line, you're unhappy with that company's medical waste services, it might not matter. By doing nothing and allowing that automatic renewal, your options could be very limited since you've technically agreed to the stipulations of that contract.

Read Your Contract Thoroughly

Office managers and doctors are obviously short on time. They are always extremely busy with the running and management of that office. However, it's crucial that you comb through and read the contract of any medical waste disposal company you're considering.

If you aren't aware of all the stipulations of that contract, you could be caught off guard down the line—when it's too late to do anything about it. If you don't know everything you can about what your contract covers and your renewal date policy, you could end up being out a lot of time, money, and effort.

If you're confused by the contractual wording or have questions about their policies, call! Medical waste management companies should provide adequate explanations to all your questions, and if they can't, that's a huge red flag.

Renewal Date Policy

The best way to ensure you don't get accidentally stuck in a lengthy contract is to know exactly how to get out. The policies and contractual wording will vary for different medical waste disposal companies, but typically you have a certain limited window of time to cancel.

For example, say you can't cancel any sooner than six months from your renewal date, but you must give sixty days of notice before that renewal date in order to cancel.

This can get a bit confusing because it sounds as if you have six months to cancel, but that's not the case. In reality, you only have four months (no sooner than six months but no later than two months out from that renewal date).

Again, these numbers are for illustrative purposes only. You must read your contract thoroughly to determine how your specific renewal date policy works.

Consider a Waste Management Service Agreement

If you're not currently under contract and you're looking into you hazardous medical waste disposal options, give serious thought to a service agreement rather than a contract. In a service agreement, you only pay for the medical waste pick up and the medical waste removal services you use in that given month. In a contract, you're paying a lump sum every month—regardless of how many medical waste boxes you need to ship or what other medical-related services you need.

This often leads to unnecessarily inflated medical waste disposal cost as well as dealing with a company you can't be rid of—even if you're unhappy with their services or pricing.

Don't forget to also do the math. It might actually be cheaper for you to buy out of your contract and start up with a different company within the medical waste disposal industry.

For more information about contract renewal dates and what other pitfalls to watch for within a medical waste contract, please feel free to contact a representative of MCF Environmental Services, an Atlanta-based medical waste management company.