Hazardous waste, or sharps waste, is anything with a point of contact that can cut, puncture, prick, or penetrate the skin, waste bags, or other storage units. Hazardous waste can be infectious if it is exposed to human or animal tissue so safe disposal of this type of biohazard waste is paramount.
Some examples of hazardous, or sharps waste, include:
- Suture needles
- Acupuncture needles
- Hypodermic needles
- Scalpel needles
- Syringes with or without needles
- Razor blades
- Culture dishes and slides
- Broken glass from the laboratory including slides, slide covers, etc.
- Trauma scene waste that can cut, slice, or pierce
How to Dispose of Sharps Waste at Home
When disposing of sharps, the way in which sharps are packaged for disposal is important to ensure safe handling. Any used or broken sharps should be discarded and disposed of by placing them in a secure sealed sharps disposal container. The container should not be able to be opened easily and or be penetrated by needles and other hazardous waste. For this reason, there are FDA-cleared sharps containers specifically designed to safely hold discarded biohazard waste. Sharps disposal containers are usually red in color and generally supplied by pharmacies, such as CVS and Walgreens.
When disposing of sharps waste from personal use, the following steps are advisable:
- If possible, carefully destroy the sharps waste in a manner so as to make them unfit for reuse.
- Place the sharps waste in a standard, designated sharps disposal container. If you do not have access to a sharps container, a thick, leak-proof, puncture-proof container such as an empty bleach bottle or coffee can will suffice.
- The container should then be tightly sealed with heavy-duty tape and properly color-coded red and labeled to warn of hazardous waste before disposal. A secondary container for further security is also advised, especially if you are not using an FDA-cleared sharps container.
Where to Take Your Sharps Disposal Container
Most pharmacies, such as CVS or Walgreens, are not certified or equipped to handle sharps waste disposal in Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) compliance. While pharmacies, medical supply companies, and online medical suppliers are able to provide FDA-cleared sharps containers, most are only able to do just that and their handling of sharps containers and biohazard waste ends there.
The Importance of Safe Sharps Disposal
In 1991, OSHA created the Occupational Exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens Standard to protect those working in healthcare facilities and healthcare-related fields from the risk of exposure to bloodborne pathogens. Sharps disposal falls under this category and is critical to ensuring the safety of not only healthcare workers but also those who work in veterinary clinics, tattoo shops, offices, and other businesses that regularly use medical sharps or have emergency first-aid resources on-hand. The wide range of those who could be affected by improper handling of sharps and other biohazard waste disposal calls for a reliable way to ensure consistent and safe disposal.
At MedCycle, we make sure all our medical waste disposal processes are in OSHA compliance. We also help manage any HIPAA, EPA, and OSHA compliance training in the state of Texas with our one-stop online compliance solution.
Safe Sharps Waste Disposal in San Antonio
In the city of San Antonio, there are a few options available to medical providers and healthcare facilities for the safe disposal of sharps and other biohazard waste. The safest and most highly-recommended way is to submit sharps waste to a medical waste disposal service.
MedCycle is the leading biohazard waste disposal provider in San Antonio, Texas. We provide safe and cost-effective management of regulated biomedical and hazardous waste for healthcare providers and businesses. Allowing us to handle any of your biohazard waste disposal needs saves you valuable time and resources.
Medcycle offers services to a wide range of customers from healthcare facilities to businesses that utilize medical equipment so we are adaptable to a wide variety of needs. Our services include same-day removal or regularly-scheduled waste collections, and instant online access to your electronic medical waste manifests.
We offer comprehensive waste disposal for sharps, hazardous waste, biohazard waste, pathological waste, pharmaceutical waste, and dental waste, as well as medical records shredding. MedCycle also provides regulated medical waste generators in San Antonio, Houston, and Austin with custom pickup plans. Contact us today to get a free quote.