Biohazardous waste is a subset of medical waste requiring additional precautions from hospitals and other healthcare centers. As the name implies, biohazard waste may include hazardous microorganisms or other biological agents if released into the environment. Microorganisms that can lead to illness or death in humans fall under this category, and they may take the form of bacteria, parasites, molds, viruses, and more.
Most Common Forms of Biohazard Waste
Waste needs to be segregated, categorized, sanitized, and disposed of in a way that is appropriate for that form to lessen the chance of direct occupational exposure and the dangers associated with environmental discharge. Biohazardous waste can be classified into five categories according to its chemical makeup, as follows:
Autoclaving Deadly Waste
Some types of biohazardous waste can be sanitized by autoclaving. Among the examples of deadly waste that may be autoclaved are:
- Laboratory waste: This consists of contaminated glassware, plastic pipettes, culture dishes, and other disposable materials that have come in contact with contagious agents.
- Medical waste: Some medical waste, such as contaminated surgical instruments and clothing, can be autoclaved to make sure safe disposal.
- Animal waste: Animal carcasses, bed linens, and other waste products from animal research centers can be autoclaved to eliminate potentially hazardous bacteria.
Autoclaving is a reliable method for decontaminating a variety of hazardous waste, consisting of laboratory, medical, and animal carcass waste. Since they have been sterilized in an autoclave, it is safe to dispose of them.
Pathological Biohazardous Waste
Extracted organs, tissues, and other body parts from infected humans or animals are pathological waste. Pathological waste, like liquid waste, must be double-bagged and kept in secondary containers to avoid leaks. Standard disposal procedures include burning or chemical processing; autoclaving is not used. If you need help clearing up a biohazard, there are several companies you can call. To locate one in your area, simply check their website.
Liquid Biohazardous Waste
Blood and other bodily fluids that may have infectious microorganisms make up the bulk of the liquid biohazardous waste. Liquid biohazard waste needs to be contained in containers that are both impermeable and stable in case of a spill or other accident. On the other hand, a secondary container, like a tray or a bucket, can secure the main liquid containers.
Chemical treatment with peroxide or autoclaving on the liquid cycle effectively removes most types of liquid waste. If the fluids include both biological and chemical waste, it is highly recommended that you seek assistance on proper disposal from a medical or biohazard waste collection service.
Solid Biohazardous Waste
Items that have come into touch with human or animal sampling materials, such as tissues or body fluids but are not sharp, are considered solid biohazardous waste. Petri dishes, pipettes, towels, linens, and some other dishes or containers are examples. Consequently, a container with a cover, an autoclave bag, and a biohazard tag should be used to collect this trash.
Autoclaving solid biohazard waste on-site can make it risk-free for disposal in a traditional medical waste landfill. However, many biohazard removal services will be needed if they have yet to be decontaminated prior to being safely disposed of.
Sharp Biohazardous Waste
Anything used in the health care field to puncture the skin and come into contact with possibly contagious biological material is considered sharp biohazardous waste. Needles, scalpels, microscope slides, saw blades, shards of glass from damaged vials, and more all fall into the “sharps.”
Sharps waste is collected in designated containers. Regardless of biohazard condition, all sharps should be disposed of in such containers, albeit biohazardous sharps will be marked as such. Moreover, a medical waste service will collect used needles and other potentially dangerous sharps.
While not sharp enough to puncture flesh, plastic serological pipettes can go through plastic bags. Therefore, they must be handled as sharps or segregated from the rest of the solid biohazardous waste.
In a Nutshell
To avoid being contaminated with biohazards, it is essential to exercise good personal hygiene and keep your work area clean, especially in healthcare facilities. Indeed, hiring a professional biohazard cleaning company with the training, gear, and expertise to clean, sterilize, and eliminate contaminated objects and surfaces is your best and most cost-efficient option.