Infectious Waste and Unwanted Pharmaceutical Disposal Regulations in Colorado
What goes in the red bags and what doesn’t? Which pharmaceuticals fall into what category? Is this red bag waste?
A lot of questions can come to mind when thinking about medical waste disposal regulations. Plus, these regulations can differ by state (and can even be more strict within your individual facility). Do you know all the regulations you need to adhere to?
Classifications of Waste
According to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, infectious waste is any waste capable of producing an infectious disease in a susceptible person.
Types of Wastes
Generally recognized infectious wastes include, but are not limited to:
- Isolation wastes from person having a disease requiring Biosafety Level IV containment
- Cultures and stocks of infectious agents and other biologicals
- Human blood, blood products and other bodily fluids
- Human pathological or anatomical waste consisting of tissues and body parts
- Contaminated sharps
- Contaminated research animals and bedding
Non-household generators of infectious waste must develop and implement an on-site infectious waste management plan appropriate for their particular facility. While there are no storage time limits for generators of infectious waste, the waste does need to be stored in a manner that prevents the release of the waste and to prevent nuisance conditions. Spills of infectious waste must be cleaned up in accordance with the site-specific infectious waste management plan.
Disposal of Unwanted Pharmaceuticals
When pharmaceuticals in a medical facility are expired or no longer wanted you must take special steps to ensure they are properly disposed of. Simply disposing of medication down a drain can put drug substances into the water supply unnecessarily which can cause problems for the environment. Municipal sewage treatment plants are not designed to effectively destroy these substances. Those medications can pass through to Colorado’s streams, rivers, and lakes and potentially to downstream water users. Waste medications disposed of in a municipal landfill have the potential to reach groundwater. In addition, proper disposal of unwanted medications prevents the drugs from ending up in the wrong hands or in a situation where they can be abused.