All Points Medical Waste Blog

What Items Are Not Acceptable for Disposal with Medical Waste?

What Are the Ramifications of Improper Disposal?

A worker wearing personal protective equipment is dumping a plastic container of medical waste into a red biohazard bag.Whether a physician’s office, veterinarian, hospital or other healthcare facility, proper disposal of medical waste is crucial. Understanding the different categories of medical waste, how they must be categorized and segregated, collected and stored is key to ensuring compliance and the safety of your staff, your patients and the community. Another component to this is knowing that there are some waste materials that do not belong and cannot be disposed of along with the waste your facility generates. These items, although they may seem to be in medical waste categories, cannot and should not be disposed of with your medical waste. Here’s a quick guide of non acceptable items and the consequences of improper disposal, take a look:

Items That Are Not to Be Disposed of With Medical Waste

Regulated medical waste (RMW) includes waste that has the potential to cause infection, illness and injury. Understanding the different categories of RMW and the following items that are non acceptable will help you properly dispose of all waste.


Regardless of size or type, batteries should never be disposed of with your facility’s medical waste. Batteries contain harmful chemicals such as lead, mercury, and cadmium, which can contaminate the environment if not disposed of properly. These toxic substances can leach into the soil and water, posing serious health risks to humans and wildlife.

Improper disposal of batteries can cause environmental pollution and harm to ecosystems. Battery acid can also corrode containers and equipment, leading to leaks and damage.

Human Remains

Surgical centers, funeral homes and medical examiners deal with human waste on a regular basis. Items such as organs, tissues or body parts have specific disposal guidelines and depending on the item, they must be disposed of within the proper medical waste category. Complete human remains cannot be disposed of as medical waste, they have special requirements in terms of handling, both legally and ethically.

Improper disposal of human remains can lead to serious legal consequences and can compromise the safety of healthcare workers and the human and wildlife population.


Electronic devices, including computers, monitors, tablets, machinery, medical equipment and other items should never be disposed of along with medical waste. These items usually contain hazardous materials such as lead, mercury and others, which can pose serious risks to the health and wellbeing of the public as well as to the environment. They must be properly recycled or disposed of through designated electronic waste programs or with a reputable shredding and destruction provider.

When improperly disposed of, electronics can release toxic substances into the environment, leaching into water systems and leaching into soil which not only contributes to pollution, but also harms human health.

Hazardous Items

Several hazardous materials, including chemicals, solvents, and radioactive substances, should never be disposed of with medical waste. These types of materials require special handling and disposal procedures to ensure that they are not able to contaminate the environment and pose risks to human and animal populations.

Improper disposal of hazardous items can cause a variety of dangerous scenarios including chemical spills, air and water pollution, as well as long-term environmental damage. If exposed to these hazardous materials, people can be at risk for respiratory problems, organ damage and even cancer.

Non-Medical Waste Items

Many items that are not directly related to the healthcare field are often thrown in with medical waste. These practices can result in non compliance violations and fines. Items like household trash, food waste and other similar items should never be disposed of with medical waste as they can complicate the disposal process and increase the risk of contamination.

Disposing of non-medical waste along with medical waste can cause a variety of issues including ineffective waste management processes, an increase in disposal costs and possible health and safety hazards for waste management workers.

The proper disposal of medical waste is essential for safeguarding public health, the wildlife population and the environment. It’s vital that all healthcare facilities know and follow proper protocol when it comes to which items are not acceptable for disposal with medical waste. Following established mandates and guidelines for medical waste disposal, helps to mitigate the risks associated with improper waste management and ensures healthcare organizations are remaining compliant which protects staff, patients, the community and the environment.

All Points Medical Waste can help ensure that your facility is properly disposing of all medical waste. We offer full-service medical waste disposal as well as compliance training for your team. Give us a call today or complete the form on this page to learn more.

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.
Get Your Quick Quote
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.