All Points Medical Waste Blog

What Are the Eight Categories of Medical Waste?

Are You Handling Them Correctly?

Vials of blood samplesHealthcare facilities of all kinds generate medical waste-whether you’re managing a hospital, clinic, surgery center, veterinarian’s office, funeral home or even a med-spa, medical waste is something that demands specific handling, storage and disposal. Understanding the different categories is crucial to ensure you are following compliance mandates and protecting your patients, staff and the community from the dangers that can result from improper handling.

Eight Categories of Medical Waste

The medical waste that’s generated by different healthcare related facilities can vary, but it’s important to know and understand the major categories that waste falls into. Take a look:

1. Infectious Waste

Infectious waste Includes any materials that have the potential to transmit infection, parasites or bacteria. This includes any items contaminated with blood, cultures, swabs, bandaging, or equipment that has been exposed.

2. Pathological Waste

Pathological waste includes any tissues, organs and body parts that were removed during surgery or autopsy, as well as blood and bodily fluids.

3. Sharps Waste

Sharps waste is one of the most common of the medical waste categories. This includes any items that can puncture the skin, including needles, lancets, syringes, scalpels and blades.

4. Chemical Waste

Chemical waste can include everything from cleaners and disinfectants to lab solvents and more.

5. Radioactive Waste

This category includes radioactive materials generated from lab research and diagnostic research such as liquids, tubing, glassware and more.

6. Pharmaceutical Waste

Pharmaceutical waste includes expired, unused or contaminated medications.

7. Pressurized Containers

This category includes any containers that are pressurized and if punctured can explode, spray its contents or possibly be flammable. This includes gas cartridges and cylinders.

8. General Waste

Items and materials that don’t pose a risk of infection, illness or injury are in this category. These items don’t contain any blood or bodily fluids.

All healthcare facilities must understand and follow protocols for the handling of medical waste in all categories. Compliance with state and federal mandates, proper segregation and appropriate disposal methods protect not only the environment, but also the health and safety of healthcare workers, patients and the community.

All Points Medical Waste can help you not only identify the different types of medical waste your facility generates, but also provide the proper containers to collect and store medical waste and full service disposal. We also provide comprehensive training for your staff and a customized schedule for pick up of all your medical waste. Give us a call today or complete the form on this page to get a quick quote.


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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