All Points Medical Waste Blog

Is it Medical Waste?

Determining if certain items are hazardous

Medical waste seems pretty cut and dry, right? If you work in a health-related profession you’re familiar with sharps, pathogens, blood and other bodily fluid waste. But what about other, more obscure items? Here’s a quick guide to a few that you may not have even considered, but could be hazardous, take a look:

Feminine hygiene products

While discarded feminine hygiene products contain blood—it may surprise you to learn that they are not considered to be hazardous waste. According to OSHA, although the products are used to absorb blood, the materials that these items are made of prevent the release of or leakage of blood. Of course, it’s not recommended that used feminine products be handled by another person and that if it necessary, perhaps while emptying trash, that the products are first wrapped in bathroom tissue or in their original packaging.

Nicotine patches

Another item that may be confusing to categorize when it comes to medical waste disposal are nicotine patches. Nicotine is a highly addicting, dangerous drug that falls into the hazardous waste category. If accidently ingested it can cause an array of symptoms including nausea, vomiting, dizziness, tremors and seizures. It can be deadly for an infant or small child. So the question then is what about nicotine patches? These items are impregnated with nicotine—so it stands to reason that they would be considered hazardous. Before use, the patch itself and its packaging are categorized as hazardous waste and should be treated as such if disposing of them. Once used though, the nicotine has been absorbed into the body and therefore, they do not have to be disposed of as medical waste.


Because e-cigarettes contain nicotine, they can pose a risk to the environment and humans if improperly disposed of. Even after use, the cartridge can still have a residual amount of nicotine and other chemicals—and although it may only be traces, it’s still has the potential to cause illness or injury. Therefore, these items are medical waste and should be disposed of correctly.

Whether you’re a physician, nurse, healthcare tech or hold any other healthcare related position, it’s important to know when items you’re using are considered hazardous waste.
Visit the All Points Medical Waste blog often for more information and tips on medical waste disposal and more.

Get in touch with us today to find out about our medical waste disposal services throughout South Florida including the Treasure Coast, Okeechobee, Palm Beach and Broward Counties.

Dawn Connelly

Dawn is the vice president of All Points Medical Waste. All Points Medical Waste is a family-owned and operated medical waste disposal and compliance company that has been serving the Treasure Coast, Palm Beaches, and surrounding areas since 1994.
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