Different Types of Medical Waste and their Management

Different Types of Medical Waste and their Management

Different Types of Medical Waste and their Management

A hospital or medical facility generates an extensive amount of medical waste every day. Medical waste, unlike regular waste, needs to be managed with extra caution. It is important because exposure to potentially harmful medical waste can affect the health of individuals working in the facility. Also, it can lead to community infections and diseases. Besides the impact on the human population, hazardous medical waste can pollute the water resources, the air we breathe and disturb the environment.

There are four types of medical waste namely; Sharp, Pharmaceutical, Biomedical, and Bio-hazardous. The management of the waste depends on the type. See below for an in-depth comparison of medical waste types and how they need to be handled.



Sharps, as the name indicates, are any sharp objects or devices with edges or sharp points that are capable to cut the skin. Some of the examples include needles, syringes, lancets, infusion sets, connection sets, scalpels, blades, and knives used for different medical purposes.

One reason why disposal of such materials is necessary is that these objects come in contact with a patient’s blood or body fluid. Careless handling and management of sharps can cause diseases like AIDS, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C. Thus, to ensure the safety of the workers and staff in hospitals and medical facilities, proper sharps waste disposal is essential.



Pharmaceutical waste includes expired medicines, contaminated drugs, or any equipment containing the same. This type of waste is found to pollute water resources and contaminate the drinking water for the public. Thus, all pharmaceutical waste such as capsules, tablets, vaccines, IV tubes, vials, creams, and ointments needs to be handled seriously and disposed of according to the standards set by FDA.

Again, this waste type shouldn’t be thrown into the garbage. Rather, proper pharmaceutical waste disposal demands such waste be placed in specific containers, treated chemically to change the chemical structure of the medicines before the final disposal.



The biomedical waste consists of those things that can cause infection to humans. It can range from human or animal tissue/organs, animal carcass to veterinary waste with pathogenic agents. These are infectious waste that can cause dangerous and life-threatening diseases, and thus safe biomedical waste disposal is a must.



Bio-hazardous waste consists of harmful chemicals, body secretions, and bodily fluids. In other words, any waste from living organisms is considered bio-hazardous waste. Examples include microbial cultures, infected blood, waste from infected individuals, and much more. Government departments like OSHA, CDC, DOT, and FDA have defined laws for proper bio-hazardous waste disposal.

Medical Waste Recovery – MWR is one of the leading medical waste disposal service providers in Michigan. We help hospitals, veterinary clinics, tattoo parlors, police stations, COVID testing facilities, schools, and other sites to safely dispose of all types of medical waste at affordable rates.

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