Medical waste is broadly classified as any item that comes into contact with body fluids. Specifically, it is any solid waste that is generated in the diagnosis, treatment of immunization of humans.
Discarded sharps are also considered to be biomedical waste, whether they are contaminated or not. Medical waste is distinct from normal trash or general waste. Different categories of medical waste include: hazardous waste, chemical/radioactive waste, universal or industrial waste, and sharps waste.
Examples of Medical Waste
- Discarded blood
- Body parts
- Laboratory waste
- Used bandages
- Human/animal tissue
Where Can Medical Waste Be Found?
Medical waste is created in a wide array of places, from your home to healthcare facilities to gyms and even restaurants! The most common place where this waste is produced is at healthcare facilities, such as clinics, physicians offices, dental practices, blood banks, and veterinary hospitals, and laboratories. Generally, this waste is caked with blood or body fluids. Other than healthcare facilities, medical waste can be found at funeral homes, tattoo shops, nursing homes, and research facilities.
Regulating Medical Waste
Within the United States, medical waste is regulated by OSHA. After the Medical Waste Tracking Act expired in 1991, each state was given the responsibility to regulate and govern the disposal of medical waste. Each state has their own specific rules and laws along site of the federal regulations.