Per the EPA: “Medical waste is a subset of wastes generated at health care facilities, such as hospitals, physicians’ offices, dental practices, blood banks, and veterinary hospitals/clinics, as well as medical research facilities and laboratories. Generally, medical waste is healthcare waste that that may be contaminated by blood, body fluids or other potentially infectious materials and is often referred to as regulated medical waste.”
The term “medical waste” can cover a wide variety of different byproducts of the healthcare industry. The broadest definition can include office paper and hospital sweeping waste. The list below displays the most common waste categories as identified by the WHO.
Types of Hospital Waste:
Sharps. This kind of waste includes anything that can pierce the skin, including needles, scalpels, lancets, broken glass, razors, ampules, staples, wires, and trocars.
Infectious Waste. Anything infectious or potentially infectious goes in this category, including swabs, tissues, excreta, equipment, and lab cultures.
Radioactive. This kind of waste generally means unused radiotherapy liquid or lab research liquid. It can also consist of any glassware or other supplies contaminated with this liquid.
Pathological. Human fluids, tissue, blood, body parts, bodily fluids, and contaminated animal carcasses come under this waste category.
Pharmaceuticals. This grouping includes all unused, expired, and/or contaminated vaccines and drugs. It also encompasses antibiotics, injectables, and pills.
Chemical. These are disinfectants, solvents used for laboratory purposes, batteries, and heavy metals from medical equipment such as mercury from broken thermometers.
Genotoxic Waste. This is a highly hazardous form of medical waste that’s either carcinogenic, teratogenic, or mutagenic. It can include cytotoxic drugs intended for use in cancer treatment.
General Non-Regulated Medical Waste. Also called non-hazardous waste, this type doesn’t pose any particular chemical, biological, physical, or radioactive danger.
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