Veterinary offices are similar to doctors’ offices in the type of waste they typically produce. Most veterinary waste can be considered non-hazardous and can be disposed of as municipal waste, but there are also materials that have been contaminated by animal fluids, which must be disposed of with more care. This type of waste usually includes sharps waste, biomedical waste, and hazardous waste. There are a few important practices that a veterinary office can adopt in order to maintain compliance with medical waste requirements and practice safe veterinary waste disposal.
What is Veterinary Waste?
Veterinary waste consists of sharps waste, biomedical waste, or hazardous waste that has been contaminated by animal fluids through the practice of veterinary medicine, as well as standard office waste that may require disposal. Veterinary waste can be categorized into the following categories:
Sharps waste is considered anything with a point of contact that can cut, puncture, prick or penetrate skin, waste bags, or other storage units. Some examples include suture needles, scalpels, syringes, or lancets. Veterinary clinics produce sharps waste in the practice of surgery, such as spaying and neutering, and other animal treatment procedures.
Animal, or biomedical waste, is any animal tissue, organs, body parts, surgical specimens, or bedding that may have come into contact with bodily fluids of animals. It is important to pay close attention to the disposal of animal waste due to the various diseases one can be exposed to through contact with animal bodily fluids.
Veterinary clinics also produce hazardous waste in the treatment of various illnesses or conditions of animals. This type of waste includes trace chemotherapy waste – including blood tubes, undispensed products, IVs, and more – and other pharmaceutical waste. Due to the hazardous nature of this waste, it requires separate disposal methods from the previously mentioned types.
Another type of waste generated by veterinary clinics, which poses a little less physical risk to the disposer, are confidential documents and information. Doctor-patient confidentiality is also honored by veterinary offices and the medical records of former patients need proper disposal, too. Besides the medical history of numerous previously treated animals, payment information from their owners should also be protected and properly disposed.
How Do You Dispose of Veterinary Waste?
Depending on the type of waste, there are specific practices that should be carefully executed to ensure safe veterinary waste disposal in compliance with state and federal guidelines. For sharps waste, FDA-approved sharps disposal containers are recommended. Any container that cannot easily be penetrated by the sharps waste can also be used but must be carefully secured. Sharps disposal containers are usually red or should be marked red to indicate sharps.
Animal or biohazard waste is usually disposed of in plastic bags. These bags must be secured tightly so that none of the waste falls out and inadvertently contaminates the surrounding environment. Veterinary offices often deal with the death of an animal, which requires a more respectful method of disposal. Some patient owners request animal bodies to bury themselves, but veterinary clinics are also prepared to handle the disposal of animal bodies. This usually involves placing the body in infectious waste containers to be taken away and disposed of by a medical waste facility.
Hazardous and pharmaceutical waste must be separated and carefully handled to prevent harm to the disposer and others involved. This type of disposal is better handled by professional waste disposal services to a) prevent the waste from contaminating people and animals and b) keep them out of reach of dumpster divers seeking discarded pharmaceutical products. Hazardous waste must be properly separated, packaged, labeled, and marked for incineration.
Municipal waste, such as confidential documents or forms, can also be handled by a professional medical waste disposal service to ensure the information does not fall into the wrong hands. This process usually involves shredding and recycling, if possible.
MedCycle Veterinary Waste Disposal Services
MedCycle provides expert medical and veterinary waste disposal to the Houston, Austin, and San Antonio areas. Our services range from same-day hazardous materials removal or regularly scheduled medical waste collections to online certification for your workforce. We also offer comprehensive biomedical waste collection, transport, treatment, and compliance training for any facility that utilizes medical tools, including tattoo parlors.
We are committed to providing regulated medical waste generators with cost-effective, reliable, and flexible medical waste disposal services. Contact us to get a free quote today and let us handle your veterinary waste disposal needs.