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Five Easy Ways to Reduce Medical Waste at Your Facility

Better medical waste disposal policies lead to better medical waste management – and that means better revenues for the facility.   Minimize medical waste at your facility with these five easy steps.  


1) Sanitize whenever possible.

Rather than instinctively dumping every contaminated item into a red container, sanitize whatever you can.  Soiled pillowcases, ratty towels, fraying sheets – none of these need to be disposed of as medical waste.

Virtually all types of linen can be sanitized in the laundry and then reused or disposed of as regular solid waste, slashing medical waste output significantly.

2) Limit access to red bags.

Don’t give patients or visitors the opportunity to carelessly dump pizza boxes and soda cans into regulated medical waste containers.

Keep red bags out of patients’ rooms and visiting areas, ensuring that only authorized personnel dispose of honest-to-goodness medical waste in medical waste containers.

3) Train your staff.

Make sure that the policies and waste management practices within the facility are refined to the point where you’re not disposing of materials that should technically be classified as ordinary solid waste.

Call in your medical waste contractor and conduct an in-service for all facility staff members.  You’ll be amazed at the difference in medical waste output following a rudimentary review of waste disposal basics.

4) …And keep on training.

Training is great, but you can’t only do it once.  New personnel need new training; experienced personnel need ongoing reminders to keep them from falling back into old habits.

Reinforcement is something that has to be constant.

5) Strive for corporate oversight – and not a corporate oversight.

There’s no regulatory requirement to audit medical waste disposal thresholds, and few corporate managers ever bother to do so.  When asked to give an estimate as to how much medical waste a facility generates, most executives will go searching for invoices from their off-site contractors.

Higher level management usually has no idea how much waste disposal the facility actually generates, and relies on the medical waste disposal company’s bill to determine how much medical waste the facility is generating.

A little bit of facts-on-the-ground investigation may turn up a far more accurate picture of the facility’s medical waste management outlook – and result in many more suggestions for making that outlook look more promising.