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Clinical Medical Waste Management

San Diego Medical Waste Disposal Services

5 Steps To Better Sharps, Biohazard & Pharmaceutical Waste Management

San Diego Medical Waste has developed a "best practices" medical waste disposal process to help insure the safety of our team and yours.  The following 5 steps will provide a seamless disposal process and minimize exposure to employees.

**Sharps containers are single use and are expendable to the generator.  Sharps containers may be purchased from San Diego Medical Waste Services separately from your disposal service by visiting https://www.sdmedwaste.com/shop

Medical Waste Segregation Chart

  • Hypodermic needles

  • Hypodermic needles with syringes

  • Blades

  • Needles with attached tubing

  • Acupuncture needles

  • Root canal files

  • Broken glass (from health care use) 

  • Pipettes

  • Blood vials​​

Sharps Waste: Any device that has acute rigid corners, edges or protuberances capable of cutting or piercing, including, but not limited to: 

  • Blood

  • Bodily fluids

  • Semen & vaginal secretions

  • Cerebrospinal fluid

  • Synovial, pleural, pericardial, peritoneal and amniotic fluid,

  • Saliva in dental procedures

  • Any body fluid that is visibly contaminated with blood​

Biohazardous Waste: Also known as "Other Potentially Infectious Materials (OPIM)" is the portion of the healthcare wastestream that may be contaminated by Blood Borne Pathogens (BBP) including, but not limited to:

  • Syringes w/residual pharmaceuticals

  • Pill Bottles

  • Pills

  • Dental Ampule

  • Medication Vials

  • Unused Medications

  • Expired Medications

  • Dietary Supplements and Vitamins

  • Anything with an NDC#​

Pharmaceutical Waste: Any prescription or over-the-counter human or veterinary drug, including, but not limited to: 

Medical Waste By Type

All Used Sharps Must Be Placed Into A Sharps Container At Point Of Generation (In Patient Room).  

All Biohazardous Materials Must Be Placed Into A Lined Biohazard Container At Point Of Generation (In Patient Room).  

All Pharmaceuticals Must Be Placed Into A Pharmaceutical Waste Container At Point Of Generation (In Patient Room). 

Types Of Medical Waste Containers

Knowledge Center

Step 1

  • Prior to use, label each sharps container with your facility's name, address, and phone number. (California Law)

  • Place new sharps containers inside of wall mounts or on countertops within the immediate area of use (Sharps are a "point of use disposal" item.)

(San Diego County Ordinance SEC. 68.1205)

Placement & Labeling

Step 2

  • Immediately after use, place used sharps into the sharps container until the contents of the sharps container reach the "FULL" line

  • ​Once full or ready to dispose, tightly close the lid. Use locking tabs and tape when available.

(California Health And Safety Code SEC 117750)

Primary Sharps Waste Container

Step 3

  • On or before your scheduled service date, remove sharps containers from patient rooms and place the entire sharps container in an upright position inside of the regulated medical waste (RMW) container ensuring that no needles spill out.

  • Replace the now discarded sharps container with a new sharps container. 

PRO TIP: Both sharps containers and biohazard bags are commingled into Regulated Medical Waste (RMW) containers for disposal.

(California Health And Safety Code SEC 118310)

Designated Accumulation Area

Step 4

  • On your scheduled service day, we will perform a one for one exchange of your onsite regulated medical waste (RMW) container and deliver any pre ordered products (sharps containers, biohazard bags, etc).

  • Any waste that does not make it into the medical waste container prior to our arrival may be placed into the new container for pickup on your next scheduled service day.

(California Health And Safety Code SEC 117660)

Scheduled Medical Waste Service

Sharps Container Disposal Guide

  • Immediately after use, place used sharps into the sharps container until the contents of the sharps container reach the "FULL" line

  • ​Once full or ready to dispose, tightly close the lid. Use locking tabs and tape when available.

Step 1

  • Place the primary biohazard waste container within the immediate area of use.

  • Prior to use, line each biohazard container with an approved biohazard bag.

  • Label each biohazard bag with your facility's name, address, and phone number.

(San Diego County Ordinance SEC. 68.1205)

Placement & Labeling

Step 2

  • Upon generation, immediately place any biohazard or infectious waste into the lined biohazard container.

  • ​Continue to fill this container until it is full or ready to dispose.

  • Once full or ready to dispose, tie the liner (biohazard bag) into an approved knot.

  • ​Remove the tied liner from the biohazard waste container and place it into the Regulated Medical Waste (RMW) Container (Next Step). 

  • Replace the liner with a new one to repeat the disposal process. 

(California Health And Safety Code SEC 117750)

Interim Storage Area

Step 3

  • On or before your scheduled service, remove biohazard bags from your interim storage areas or patient rooms and place the entire biohazard liner inside of the Regulated Medical Waste (RMW) container. 

  • Replace the now discarded sharps container with a new sharps container

PRO TIP: Both sharps containers and biohazard bags are commingled into Regulated Medical Waste (RMW) containers for disposal.

(California Health And Safety Code SEC 118310)

Designated Accumulation Area

Step 4

  • On your scheduled service day, we will perform a one for one exchange of your onsite regulated medical waste (RMW) container and deliver any pre ordered products (sharps containers, biohazard bags, etc).

  • Any waste that does not make it into the medical waste container prior to our arrival may be placed into the new container for pickup on your next scheduled service day.

(California Health And Safety Code SEC 117660)

Scheduled Medical Waste Service

Biohazard/Infectious Waste Disposal Services Process

Step 1

  • Non-RCRA Pharmaceutical waste containers are colored (WHITE/BLUE).

  • Prior to use, label each pharmaceutical waste container with your facility's name, address, and phone number.

  • Labeled with “HIGH HEAT” or “INCINERATION ONLY” on lid and sides [MWMA 118275(6)] 

(San Diego County Ordinance SEC. 68.1205)

Container & Labeling

Step 2

  • Place new pharmaceutical waste containers (WHITE/BLUE) in an area that is either locked or under direct supervision.

  • Immediately after use, place qualified pharmaceuticals into the pharmaceutical waste container until the contents of the container reach the "FULL" line.

(California Health And Safety Code SEC 117750)

Interim Storage Area

Step 3

  • Once full or ready to dispose, tightly close the lid. Use locking tabs and tape when available.

  • On or before your scheduled service, remove pharmaceutical waste containers from interim storage area from step 2 and place the entire container next to (NOT INSIDE OF) the regulated medical waste (RMW) container to be picked up during your scheduled service day.

PRO TIP: Pharmaceutical waste containers also act as a sharps container for syringes with pharmaceutical liquid remaining inside of them after use.

(California Health And Safety Code SEC 118310)

Designated Accumulation Area

Step 4

  • On your scheduled service day, we will perform a one for one exchange of your (WHITE/BLUE) pharmaceutical waste container if it is next to your medical waste container indicating that it is full and ready for disposal. 

  • Any pharma waste that does not make it into the container prior to our arrival may be picked up on your next scheduled service day.

(California Health And Safety Code SEC 117660)

Scheduled Medical Waste Service

Non-RCRA Pharmaceutical Waste Disposal Services Process

Optimized Placement of Medical Waste Containers in a Clinical Setting.

This illustration provides a clear and efficient layout for the placement of medical waste containers within a medical clinic to ensure safety, accessibility, and compliance with health regulations. It features a strategically mounted sharps container on the wall for immediate disposal of needles, thereby minimizing the risk of needlestick injuries. A biohazard container is placed conveniently at the foot of the patient exam table for the disposal of items contaminated with bodily fluids or other infectious materials. Finally, dedicated medical waste containers are located in a designated accumulation area outside of the patient room, streamlining the waste management process and ensuring that the clinical space remains uncluttered and hygienic. This setup exemplifies best practices for medical waste disposal in a healthcare environment, facilitating a safe and organized workflow for healthcare professionals and patients alike.

Step 1

  • Prior to use, line the regulated medical waste (RMW) container with an approved ASTM-rated red bag liner.

  • Label each RED bag that lines the container with your facility's name, address, and phone number.

  • Begin to fill the container with Sharps containers and Biohazard Bags.

PRO TIP: Do not overfill the container so that the lid will still fit. 

Prepare the Container

Step 2

  • Place secured sharps containers and tied red bag medical waste into the lined regulated medical waste (RMW) transport container in an upright position. Ensure that no needles spill out during this process.

    • NO Loose Sharps can be placed into this container.

    • NO PHARMACEUTICALS can be placed into this container.

 

PRO TIP: Both sharps containers and biohazard bags are commingled into Regulated Medical Waste (RMW) containers for disposal.

Fill the Container

Step 3

  • On or before your scheduled service, Bring the tops of the bag together without touching the contents. Twist the top of the bag to form a rope.

  • Seal the Bag: Use one of two methods:

    • Overhand Knot: Make a loop with the rope and pull the end through the hole, tightening both ends.

    • Gooseneck Method: Fold the rope end over itself and seal it with plastic zip ties or duct tape.

Secure the RED Waste Bag

Step 4

  • Seal the container by placing the lid firmly on the top.

  • On your scheduled service day, we will perform a one for one exchange of your onsite regulated medical waste (RMW) container and deliver any pre ordered products (sharps containers, biohazard bags, etc).

  • Any waste that does not make it into the medical waste container prior to our arrival may be placed into the new container for pickup on your next scheduled service day.

Secure the Transport Container

How to Package Medical Waste

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