Biohazardous needle disposal: how and where to dispose of sharps waste


Medical needles (also called sharps) represent one of the most dangerous type of biohazardous waste in the healthcare industry, and as such it is imperative to know how to handle their disposal correctly. They are present in almost all medical facilities from small clinics to large hospitals and are used in a variety of treatments where medication cannot be delivered in any other ways.
Read on and find out more about how to handle the disposal of biohazardous needles right at the site of your medical facility!

Why are medical needles considered a source of biohazardous waste, and why is their correct disposal so crucial?

By definition, any medical equipment, tool, or waste that has come into contact with potentially infectious substances that could present a risk to the environment and pubic safety (such as body fluids or blood) can be considered biohazardous medical waste.

As for medical needles, they are part of a biomedical waste category known as “sharps”. Any waste that is able (or designed) to cut or pierce the skin can be considered as sharps. Therefore, medical hypothermic needles are not the only materials that are classified as such. Other examples for sharps waste include scalpels, blades, contaminated/broken glass, and even some plastics.

Because of the nature of the treatments where they are used, combined with the ability to puncture the skin, medical needles and other sharps are considered to be one of the most dangerous biohazardous medical waste category, since they can propagate infections much more easily.

What to look out for when disposing of biohazardous sharps waste: the segregation and storage of medical needles

As is the case with any potentially infectious medical waste, biohazardous needles need to be segregated and stored in separate, puncture-resistant containers before their disposal can take place. Traditional trash bags will simply not do, as they do not prevent sharps from pricking the skin through the bag. The containers are usually color coded: medical sharps are usually stored in either red biohazard containers, or blue, purple, yellow, or orange biohazardous needle disposal bins.

Orange indicates sharps waste that has not been contaminated with pharmaceutical waste, and the other colors are used to mark disposal bins that are used to store medical needles that may have been contaminated with medicine, anesthetics, or out-of-date drugs.

Special care should always be taken when disposing of biohazardous needles: never push inside the containers and be sure not to overfill them. Once they are about ¾ full, it is already time to find a solution for the disposal of the biohazardous needle containers.

The benefits of using Celitron’s medical waste shredder for the disposal of biohazardous needles

Celitron provides a state-of-the-art solution for biohazardous needle disposal by combining the advantages of an autoclave and a medical waste shredder: this machine is known as the Integrated Sterilized and Shredder (or ISS for short). By shredding sharps, syringes, and other biohazardous medical waste inside its chamber during the sterilization process, it allows for even better steam penetration at temperatures that range between 121 and 134 degrees Celsius and kill even heat-resistant bacteria. The ISS is also capable of handling the disposal of even full biohazardous needle containers. This makes it a highly effective and safe way to treat most sources of hazardous medical waste.

Here are some other benefits you can expect by using Celitron’s ISS for biohazardous needle disposal:

On-site disposal of biohazardous sharps and other medical waste

Any biohazardous needle that comes out of the ISS will be rendered into a completely sterile pile of waste which can be disposed of like regular waste: no need to worry about the usual risks that would come with transporting away medical sharps, since they will already be cleansed of all foreign materials. The size of the waste treated inside the chamber of the ISS will also be reduced to about 20% its original volume, making it even easier to dispose of, not to mention that it will also be drained of all liquid components, so even the risk of contaminated wastewater is eliminated.

Apart from biohazardous needles and their containers, even the disposal of syringes, scalpels, plastics, and glass can be handled by the ISS.

Cost-effective and green operation

Compared to other methods of hazardous medical waste disposal like incineration or microwave irradiation, Celitron’s ISS has low operation and maintenance costs, thanks to an energy-saving mode that reduces the consumption of power whenever the machine is inactive. This also reduces the environmental footprint of your medical facility by lessening the burden on the environment. Not to mention that our medical waste shredder emits absolutely zero harmful substances while disposing of biohazardous sharps waste.

User-friendly operation

The ISS is as easy-to-use as it is effective at disposing of biohazardous needles. The complete sterilization and shredding process can be launched with the push of a button. After having loaded the waste inside the machine, Celitron’s ISS will automatically treat medical needles and sharps containers and render them into a sterile state. Even the door of the machine does not need to be opened manually, and the safety procedures in place will prevent staff from opening it while temperature and pressure levels are still not back to normal inside the vessel.

High-capacity chamber

On average, up to 150 kgs worth of biohazardous needles can be disposed of with the ISS in an hour, to ensure even the largest medical facilities can effectively process the large amounts of infectious waste they generate. Celitron’s medical waste shredder is available with a 25, 150, and 560 liter capacity chamber so that every facility may choose the model most suited to their needs.

There are a lot of methods available for the treatment of medical sharps, but some may be more suited to live up to the modern standards of the medical industry. No matter the method you choose, minimizing the potential impacts on the environment and the risks to human health will always be key.

Celitron’s (ISS) Integrated Sterilizer and Shredder provides a safe, user-friendly, and effective on-site method for the treatment of hazardous medical waste: be sure to take a closer look at our solution for biohazardous needle disposal!

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