Medical waste storage requirements – what kind of containers do you need to use before disposal?


Medical waste storage requirements exist for a good reason: they not only serve to protect the environment we live in for the long term, but also ensure the safety of all patients and medical staff present at the site of the facility. Special containers are a must since biomedical waste cannot be disposed of like regular municipal trash.

In Celitron’s following article, we shall give you a rundown about basic medical waste storage requirements, color-coded containers, as well as how you can make the storage procedure easier with on-site medical waste treatment methods!

Medical waste storage requirements – what are they?

It should be noted that you should always look at the current medical waste storage requirements in detail that apply to your region. Still, some basic elements of the medical waste management system remain the same everywhere.

The key to medical waste storage is segregation: using color-coded containers that each serve to contain a certain category of medical waste, and which are well-separated from the most populated areas of your facility, or from areas where food and drinks are consumed.

The segregation and disposal solutions of a medical waste management system are always the responsibility of the site where the waste is produced. Whether you choose to make use of the services of a licensed waste removal company or have your own on-site waste treatment method (like incinerators, autoclaves, medical waste shredders),the most important point is always safety: ensuring there is no risk to the outside environment, as well as to staff and patients present within the walls of your medical facility.

Medical waste storage containers – how to meet segregation requirements

Meeting the requirements of medical storage also means being familiar with the different types of medical waste, which are usually stored in color-coded containers. Colors may differ depending on your region, but the logic remains the same: you will need to segregate your waste into special, easily identifiable medical waste storage containers.

These are the main categories you need to be aware of:

1. Yellow medical waste storage containers

  • Pathological waste
  • Clinical lab waste
  • Pharmaceutical waste (discarded medicines and drugs)
  • Infectious medical waste
  • Medical chemical waste
  • Sharps waste in some cases

This is the category that covers most types of medical waste, although you may need a separate collection system to segregate liquid chemical waste.

2. Yellow medical waste storage containers marked with a radioactive symbol

  • Radioactive medical waste, such as materials used during radiotherapy and cancer treatment

3. Red medical waste storage containers

  • Contaminated medical waste (recyclable),like plastics such as catheters, syringes, tubings etc.
  • Sharps waste in some cases

Red, non-chlorinated plastic bags or medical waste storage containers will do the trick for this category. If marked by the biohazard symbol, red containers can also be used to store sharps waste.

4. White (or translucent) medical waste storage containers

  • Medical sharps waste
  • Metallic objects

The point of storing any medical sharps or discarded metallic objects is to put them into sturdy, puncture and tamper-proof medical waste storage containers.

5. Blue medical waste storage containers

  • Medical glassware waste
  • Outdated drugs and medicines in some cases

In the case of glassware, this category of waste is also hazardous because it may inflict cuts and puncture wounds when not handled properly or put into improper trash bags. This can include glass items such as vials. Expired pharmaceuticals are also a source of hazardous waste, and they must be properly segregated.

6. Purple medical waste storage containers

  • Extremely hazardous medical waste contaminated with cytotoxic products

7. Black containers and trash bags

  • Any non-hazardous and non-infectious municipal waste can be stored in these containers

Can medical waste storage be made easier? Meeting the requirements with Celitron’s on-site medical treatment solutions

As opposed to traditional off-site medical waste disposal, treating your waste at the site of your facility means the waste will already be free from infectious materials before being transported away. This also means it won’t represent any risk of infection at the site of hospitals and clinics either, and the waste can be stored or thrown away like regular trash. To do this, Celitron has created its own on-site technology that combines the benefits of autoclaving (high-pressure and high-temperature steam sterilization) as well as medical waste shredding. It can even treat complete sharps waste containers.

Compared to incinerators, Celitron’s ISS (which stands for Integrated Sterilizer and Shredder) is easier to use thanks to a completely automated operation that can be launched with the press of a button, not to mention it is also cheaper to operate in the long-term thanks to an energy-saving mode. This also makes it a more sustainable solution that complies with all the EU’s and WHO’s regulations, making it much easier to adhere to medical waste storage requirements. All waste that is treated by the ISS is greatly reduced in size, free of all liquid components, and leaves no trace of infectious foreign materials.

The ISS can treat a great variety of infectious medical waste, including:

  • Medical waste contaminated with blood
  • Medical waste generated at isolation wards
  • Discarded diagnostic samples containing body fluids
  • Vaccine roller bottles, cell culture dishes, specimen containers
  • Dialyzers
  • Surgical equipment, small metallic objects like scalpel blades
  • Almost any potentially infectious medical waste: bandages, textiles, glass swabs, plastic, paper, disposable medical tools

However, the following materials cannot be treated by the ISS, and will still need to be segregated into different medical waste storage containers to meet requirements before being disposed of off-site:

  • Oversized metallic objects (e.g. scissors)
  • Pathological waste (i.e. any identifiable human body part)
  • Pharmaceuticals like contaminated or expired vaccines (including vaccines and serums)
  • Chemical waste, including disinfectants
  • Radioactive medical waste
  • Genotoxic waste: extremely hazardous waste such as cytotoxic medicines

Medical waste storage requirements are something that all medical facilities need to consider when running their waste management system, including proper guidelines, containers, and equipment. However, with the right on-site disposal methods, you can make the challenges and risks associated with medical waste storage much less of a burden! CLICK HERE to check out all of Celitron’s medical waste disposal solutions!

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