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Ways to Dump Medical Waste During Pandemic

How to properly dump

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Medical Waste


Whether you are caring for an injured or sick family or managing a chronic condition, all your family members may generate Medical Waste materials that need to be dumped.

In the United States, household medical waste is controlled by state regulations, which varies from one state to another. Constraints make sure that other people will not be exposed to or seriously injured by your medical waste. The particular prerequisites vary depending on whether you are dumping organic waste (bloody or soiled items), sharps (lancets or needles), or any unused medicines.

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1.  Eliminating Organic Waste

Place Bloody or Soiled Items in Any Plastic Bag

Use a plastic bag that will not puncture and cannot easily be leaked. Be sure that the plastic bag is large enough to carry all the items you need to dump – the plastic bag should not be overfilled or stuffed.

Moreover, you may have to be able to seal your bag properly even if the bag is zippered shut, tape down the top in order that the zipper will not come open.

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Sanitize the Waste Matter Before Throwing It Away If Necessary

In many states, you may have to treat organic waste before dumping it, especially if there’s a risk of contamination. The local health department or your doctor will guide you if this is necessary for biological waste in your area. Sterilize biological waste by putting all items in chlorine bleach or spraying them with a compound anti-fungal.

Use A Polyethylene or Polypropylene Red Bag

Several states require organic waste to be dumped in specific red bags so your waste can easily be identified as organic waste.

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Most of these bags are available at medical supply stores. Your health care provider or doctor also may provide you with a supply of red bags to use if they’re required. (Source 1)

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Add Bag in A Regular Trash

Once you have sealed the bag tightly, you can add it with your regular trash. If you are worried about leaking, you may need to put the sealed bag in another bag, then put that in the regular trash. (Source 2)

2.  Dumping Sharps


Get in Touch with The Local Health Department or Your Doctor 

You will know that some doctors take used needles or various other sharps as long as they are sealed and covered in the proper container. Some states’ local health departments have programs to take sharps.

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Soak Sharps in Chlorine Bleach Before Dumping Them

Several states require sharps to be drenched in chlorine bleach to clean them before they are dumped. Use normal household chlorine bleach, and saturate them for up to twenty-four hours before starting the removal process. (Source 3)

Make Sure You Use A Needle Clipper to Clip the Needles

Many states require the needles to be covered or cut before you can dump them. You will need a clipper for this purpose, which you can easily find at any medical supply stores. (Source 4)

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Put Dumped Sharps in Any Puncture-Resistant Bin

You can find some dedicated sharps bins online or at any medical supply store. Your medical professional may also provide you with sharps bins if you need. Most of these bins may be of a metal body but are usually plastic. (Source 5)

Cover the Bin Firmly and Seal Its Lid in Place

Once the bin is 3/4 full, tie up any liner and screw or snap on the cover. For extra safety, tape down the cover firmly with electrical tape or duct tape. (Source 6)

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Label the Bin of Sharps Accurately and Properly

Every state has particular safety measures that should be placed on the outside of the bin. You can also purchase tags that are specifically designed for this purpose at any medical supply store or online. The standard warning reads: “SHARPS – Don’t Reuse.” Place the cautions on all sides of your bin. (Source 7)

3.  Wasting Unused Medicinal drugs

Get Rid of Harmful Medicinal Drugs   Immediately

Usually, flushing unused medicinal drugs down the toilet could pollute the water supply and harm environmental surroundings. Having said that, there are several medications that are unsafe; they must be purged to prevent accidental ingestion by other people, such as pets and children.

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The Food and Drug Administration lists medicines for which flushing is highly recommended on its site. On top of that, the tag on the medicine includes a word of caution that any unused medicine should be purged.

Take Unused Medicines to A Confidential Medicine Disposal Site

Many residential areas have confidential drug removal sites exactly where you can easily take your unused drugs to make sure they are dumped properly. Local drug stores also have medication take-back plans to dump unused medicines.

Take Off Any Label, Tag or Information from Empty Bottles

Remove the tag words from medical prescription bottles or scratch information such as your address and name with a thick black marker.

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Engr. Cody Catarina
Currently working as talent acquisition manager at Carillion Construction, Glasgow,UK. A badass mechanical engineer from University of Leeds. Editor and writer at GineersNow. Follow my travel and auto blogs


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  1. #3 is Wrong. FDA says take back is best, even for what you call “unsafe” medications. At your FDA link: “A small number of medicines have specific instructions to immediately flush down the toilet when no longer needed and a take-back option is not readily available.”

    1. comment continued:

      Can the medicines that FDA recommends for disposal by flushing be eliminated from the home in some other manner; for example, by drug-take back programs or returning the medicine to the pharmacy?

      Yes, almost all the medicines. FDA recommends for disposal by flushing should be disposed of through take-back options if readily available. For example, consumers can return these medicines to a DEA-authorized collector through secure collection receptacles or mail-back packages, and to local and national medicine take-back programs. Authorized collection sites may be retail pharmacies, hospital or clinic pharmacies, and law enforcement locations. However, since these medicines may be especially harmful to a child, pet, or anyone else if taken accidentally, it is important to store them safely and securely until disposal.” [“Content current as of: 04/29/2019”]

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