Detailed medical waste types and collection methods

Discarded medical waste

Discarded medical waste

As everyone knows, the medical waste contains a lot of germs. If it is not handled properly, it will become a source of transmission and directly threaten everyone's health. However, everyone's understanding of medical waste is still not comprehensive enough. Today we will explain the types and collection methods of medical waste.


What is the medical waste?

Medical waste refers to waste generated by medical and health institutions in medical, preventive, health care and other related activities. They are usually directly or indirectly infectious, toxic and other harmful. Includes domestic waste from patients with infectious diseases or suspected infectious diseases. Therefore,medical waste disposal is very important.

What types of medical waste are there?

Medical waste is generally divided into five categories: infectious medical waste, damaged waste, pathological waste, chemical waste, and pharmaceutical waste.

Infectious medical waste: A medical waste that carries pathogenic microorganisms and has a risk of transmitting infectious diseases.

  • Wastes of plastic, rubber, cotton, fibre and other materials contaminated by the patient's blood, body fluids, and infectious excreta.
  • Pathogen culture media, specimens, strains, and virus-preserving solutions discarded in microbiology laboratories; various discarded medical specimens.
  • Domestic waste from isolated infectious disease patients or patients suspected of being infected with infectious diseases.

Damaged waste: A discarded medical sharp that can stab or cut a human body.

  • Abandoned metal sharps such as medical needles, suture needles, acupuncture needles, probes, puncture needles, and various guide wires, steel nails, surgical saws, etc.
  • Discarded glass sharps such as coverslips, slides, glass ampoules, broken glass tubes.
  • Other discarded material sharps, such as disposable tweezers, disposable probes, disposable plastic pipetting tips, etc.

The Drug-based Waste

Drug-based waste: expired, obsolete, deteriorated or contaminated waste drugs.

  • General drugs that are discarded in bulk, such as antibiotics, over-the-counter drugs, etc.
  • Abandoned cytotoxic and genotoxic drugs, including carcinogenic drugs, suspected carcinogenic drugs, immunosuppressants.
  • Abandoned vaccines, blood products, etc.


The Mercury-containing Body Temperature Meter

Chemical waste: Waste chemicals that are toxic, corrosive, flammable and explosive.

  • Chemical reagents used in chemical imaging and medical experiments.
  • Disused chemical disinfectants such as peracetic acid and glutaraldehyde.
  • Disused instruments and articles containing heavy metals, such as mercury-containing sphygmomanometers, mercury-containing thermometers, and mercury-containing articles after use in dentistry.

The Pathological Waste

Pathological waste: body waste and medical laboratory animal carcasses produced during the treatment.

  • Discarded body tissues, organs, etc. that occur during surgery and other medical procedures.
  • Tissues and bodies of medical laboratory animals.
  • Discarded body tissues, pathological waxes, etc. after pathological sectioning.
  • A stillborn fetus with a gestational age of fewer than 16 weeks or a fetal weight of less than 500g.

How to collect medical waste?

There are several ways to collect medical waste or hospital waste management:

Infectious waste:

  • Use a yellow covered medical waste bin to collect and set a special yellow medical garbage bag. When the container 3/4 is full, the garbage bag is sealed and a special logo is attached.
  • The pathogen culture medium, specimens and strains, and virus preservation solutions of the microbiology laboratory are collected after being sterilized by pressure steam at the place of production.
  • Abandoned urine, chest and ascites, cerebrospinal fluid and other specimens can be directly discharged into the sewer of the sewage treatment system.
  • Discarded blood, serum, stool specimens, and other infectious waste are placed in medical waste bags and covered medical waste bins.
  • The blood transfusion bag should be collected separately in a yellow medical waste bag 24 hours after the blood transfusion.
  • Wastes (including domestic waste) from isolated infectious or suspected infected patients are sealed with a double-layered yellow medical waste bag.

Damaged waste:

  • Put the yellow medical special sharp box directly. Note: Select the right size weapon box and fill it with 3/4 seal.

Pharmaceutical waste:

  • Discontinued, degraded or contaminated waste drugs in batches should be collected and registered by the pharmaceutical department according to the type, returned to the manufacturer or disposed of by the hazardous waste disposal agency.
  • A small amount of pharmaceutical waste – including discarded cytotoxic and genotoxic drugs – can be placed directly into medical waste bags and medical waste bins for infectious waste, but should be indicated on the label.

Chemical waste:

  • Bulk chemical reagents (such as ethanol, formaldehyde, etc.) should be disposed of by a specialized hazardous waste disposal agency.
  • When bulk medical devices such as mercury thermometers and sphygmomanometers are scrapped, they should be disposed of by a specialized hazardous waste disposal agency.

Pathological waste:

  • Directly put into medical garbage bags and covered medical trash cans.
  • The remains of the fetus and the remains of the baby should be included in the management of the remains in accordance with the relevant laws and regulations. It is strictly forbidden to treat the remains of the fetus with a gestational age of more than 16 weeks or a weight of 500g or more, and the remains of the baby as medical waste.
  • The placenta after delivery is owned by the mother, and no unit or individual may buy or sell the placenta. Maternal women should go through the placenta handling procedures with the medical institution before delivery and file a record with the medical history.

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