DOs and DON'Ts of Medical Waste Disposal

We at Curtis Bay Medical Waste Services know that managing medical waste streams is a critical part of operating your business. And as such, our customer service and safety compliance teams work diligently to ensure public understanding of the hazards and risks related to, and the proper precautions that should be taken when handling medical waste.

Consider the following medical waste disposal DOs and DON'Ts.

DO immediately place used sharps in an FDA-approved, puncture-resistant, properly marked sharps disposal container. Such containers that are not gasketed should be closed, placed in a bag, and placed inside secondary packaging (e.g., a box or a reusable container) for transport and disposal. Doing so will reduce the risk of needle sticks, cuts, or punctures from loose sharps.


DON’T put sharps directly inside red waste bags. Loose needles and other sharps can penetrate bags and boxes not engineered for transporting such items. Improper storage and transport of sharps can lead to acute injury and increases the risk of bloodborne pathogens (BBP) — such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or hepatitis B virus (HBV) — transmission.

DO ensure your keys, cell phone, and other personal items are nowhere near the medical waste containers — especially when packaging the waste for disposal. Personal items that come into contact with medical waste are not to be retrieved for fear of contamination.

DON’T dispose of pharmaceuticals alongside medical waste. They should instead be placed in approved pharmaceutical waste containers; complex regulations may even require that certain pharmaceuticals be stored in separate receptacles entirely. (Ask the medical waste disposal experts at Curtis Bay for guidance if you’re unsure.)

DO keep all medical waste away from children and pets. Ensure that medical waste and sharps containers are positioned so that patients — especially pediatric patients — do not risk danger by placing their hands into disposal devices.

DON’T toss any items that contain mercury in with any other waste. Such items include mercury, dental amalgam, amalgam capsules, extracted teeth with amalgam fillings, dental traps, thermometers, and aneroid blood pressure devices; and should only be disposed of as mercury hazardous waste.

DO keep medical waste containers closed when not in use. Open waste containers pose a risk for the transmission of potentially infectious disease.

DON’T forget to label all medical waste. All containers must be tracked to comply with transport and disposal requirements. Consult federal, state, and local requirements for proper labeling standards.

DO consider Curtis Bay Medical Waste Services for all of your disposal needs.

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