Red Trash Bags: What Type of Medical Waste Goes In & What Should Stay Out

Red Trash Bags: What Type of Medical Waste Goes In & What Should Stay Out

You know that the red trash bags are specially made to contain medical or biohazardous waste, but what exactly should you put in them and what should go in the regular trash? Use these bags to dispose of solid or liquid items contaminated with blood or other potentially infectious materials (OPIM). There are multiple definitions used for medical waste, which is also referred to as regulated, infective, infectious and biohazardous waste. A definition from OSHA defines biohazardous waste as:

  1. “Any liquid or semi-liquid blood or other potentially infectious materials;
  2. Contaminated items that would release blood or other potentially infectious materials in a liquid or semi-liquid state if compressed;
  3. Items that are caked with dried blood or other potentially infectious materials and are capable of releasing these materials during handling;
  4. Sharps (including needles, scalpel blades, glass, pipettes) contaminated with blood and body fluids;
  5. Pathological and microbiological wastes containing blood or other potentially infectious materials.”

The following list will assist you in determining what should be discarded in the red trash bags. More importantly, it will outline what you should NOT put in the red trash bags or red trash receptacles. Sharps should always be disposed of in sharps containers.

What do you put in the red trash bags?

  • Vaginal speculums
  • Swabs used for obtaining specimens of blood or body fluids
  • Drapes, gauze or other absorbent material used to soak up blood or body fluids
  • Gloves contaminated with blood or body fluids (including fecal material)
  • Expired drugs, vaccines, control solutions and medications (excluding controlled prescription drugs)
  • Used urine specimen cups after the urine is discarded – preferably in the toilet
  • Paper towels used to absorb blood or body fluids
  • Used urinary catheters and foley bags
  • Used urine pregnancy tests
  • Used urine dipsticks
  • Used fecal occult blood tests

Please note that all sharps must be placed in a sharps container. This include needles, syringes, scalpel blades, glass pipettes, slides, etc.

What shouldn’t you put in the red trash bags?

  • Food wrappers
  • Beverage containers
  • Paper towels
  • Paper
  • Examining table paper
  • Patient gowns or drapes
  • Tongue depressors
  • Ear speculums

The only reason any of the above items should be placed in the red bags is if they have been soiled with blood or bodily fluid, including fecal material.

What should you never put in the red trash bags?

  • Formaldehyde, acids, alcohol, waste oil, solvents and reagents
  • Mercury
  • Inhalers, aerosol cans and canisters
  • Batteries

 

(Visited 2,737 times, 27 visits today)