June 05, 2023

Where Does Medical Waste Go After Collection?

When managing biomedical waste, healthcare organizations often focus on internal processes, including how staff throw away contaminated materials and how frequently waste containers get picked up. Unfortunately, organizations can sometimes lose sight of what happens to waste after it leaves the facility.
 
As good stewards of the environment, organizations should be aware of medical waste treatment and disposal, checking to be sure their waste management partners are appropriately addressing any requirements. Not only is this the right thing to do from an environmental perspective, if your waste management partner isn’t reliably meeting all applicable standards, it could reflect poorly on your organization, with negative impacts to your facility’s reputation.
 
There are two primary methods for treating biomedical waste:

  • Autoclaving—this is where waste is subjected to a timed, high-temperature, pressured steaming process to render any infectious agents neutral. The waste is then suitable for being taken to a landfill. In general, items like sharps and bio-contaminated materials are autoclaved, making this the most common form of biomedical waste treatment.
  • Incineration—certain materials like anatomical and cytotoxic waste are incinerated. One result of this treatment method is that the materials cannot leach into the water supply or otherwise contaminate the environment.

A strong medical waste management partner is key to ensuring your medical waste is properly treated after it leaves your facility. Such a partner should be well versed in local, provincial, and federal regulations, including those from the Transport Canada. The company should fully appreciate the differences between requirements—for example, spore testing requirements may vary by provincial regulation. It’s also helpful if your waste management partner has tracking and recordkeeping abilities. Moreover, these tools will allow you to demonstrate compliance should a regulatory authority be interested.
 
At Stericycle, we offer comprehensive waste management services, including autoclaving and incineration. We help you understand your local, provincial, and federal regulations and set up programs that help ensure compliance. We also engage in robust tracking and recordkeeping. For more information about how Stericycle can be your total waste management partner, contact us at 866-783-7422. 

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