Biohazardous waste is a subset of medical waste requiring extra precautions from hospitals and other healthcare facilities. As the name implies, biohazard waste may include harmful microorganisms or other biological agents if released into the environment. Microorganisms that can cause illness or death in humans fall under this category, and they may take the form of bacteria, parasites, molds, viruses, and so on.

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 occupational exposure and the risks 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 sterilized by autoclaving. Among the examples of deadly waste that may be autoclaved are: 

  • Laboratory waste: This includes contaminated glassware, plastic pipettes, culture dishes, and other disposable items that have come in contact with infectious agents.
  • Medical waste: Some medical waste, like contaminated surgical instruments and clothing, can be autoclaved to ensure safe disposal.
  • Animal waste: Animal carcasses, bedding, and other waste products from animal research facilities can be autoclaved to eliminate any potentially hazardous microorganisms.

Autoclaving is a reliable method for sterilizing a variety of hazardous waste, including 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, should be double-bagged and stored in secondary containers to prevent leaks. Standard disposal methods include burning or chemical processing; autoclaving is not used. If you need help clearing up a biohazard, there are several companies you can call, and you can find their contact information by visiting their biohazard page online.

Liquid Biohazardous Waste

Blood and other bodily fluids that may contain infectious pathogens make up the bulk of the liquid biohazardous waste. Liquid biohazard waste must be contained in containers that are both leak-proof 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 primary liquid containers. 

Chemical treatment with bleach or autoclaving on the liquid cycle effectively eliminates most types of liquid waste. If the fluids comprise both biological and chemical waste, it is recommended that you seek guidance on proper disposal from a medical or biohazard waste collection service. On the other hand, restoration companies in Springfield, VA, can be of assistance if you’re in need of additional help with both cleanup and liquid biohazardous waste.

Solid Biohazardous Waste

Items that have come into touch with human or animal specimen materials, such as tissues or body fluids but are not sharp, are considered solid biohazardous trash. Petri dishes, pipettes, towels, linens, and any other dish or container are examples. Consequently, a container with a cover, an autoclave bag, and a biohazard label should be used to collect this trash.

Autoclaving solid biohazard waste on-site can render it safe for disposal in a standard medical waste landfill. However, several biohazard services will be needed if they have yet to be decontaminated before being safely disposed of.

Sharp Biohazardous Waste

Anything used in the medical field to puncture the skin and come into contact with potentially contagious biological material is considered sharp biohazardous waste. Needles, scalpels, microscope slides, saw blades, shards of glass from broken vials, and more all fall into the “sharps.” 

Sharps waste is collected in designated containers. Regardless of biohazard status, all sharps should be disposed of in such containers, albeit biohazardous sharps will be marked as such. Furthermore, 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 should be managed as sharps or isolated from the rest of the solid biohazardous waste. 

In a Nutshell

In order to avoid being contaminated with biohazards, it is important to practice good personal hygiene and keep your work area clean, especially in medical facilities. Indeed, hiring a professional biohazard cleaning service with the training, gear, and expertise to clean, sterilize, and dispose of contaminated objects and surfaces is your best and perhaps most cost-effective option.