It is important to properly understand what medical or biohazardous waste should be disposed of in red trash bags. These bags are specifically designed to contain solid or liquid items that are contaminated with blood or other potentially infectious materials (OPIM). Medical waste can be defined in different ways, such as regulated, infective, infectious, or biohazardous waste. According to OSHA, biohazardous waste includes liquid or semi-liquid blood or other potentially infectious materials, contaminated items that may release blood or other potentially infectious materials, and sharps that are contaminated with blood and body fluids, among others.
To assist in determining what should be discarded in the red trash bags, it is important to note what items should not be put in them. Sharps, such as needles and scalpel blades, should always be disposed of in sharps containers. In addition, food wrappers, beverage containers, paper, patient gowns, tongue depressors, and ear speculums should not be placed in the red bags unless they have been soiled with blood or bodily fluids, including fecal material.
Items that should be placed in the red trash bags include vaginal speculums, swabs used for obtaining specimens of blood or body fluids, drapes or gauze used to soak up blood or body fluids, gloves contaminated with blood or body fluids, and expired drugs, vaccines, control solutions, and medications (excluding controlled prescription drugs). Other items that may be placed in the red bags include used urine specimen cups, paper towels used to absorb blood or body fluids, used urinary catheters and foley bags, and used pregnancy tests, urine dipsticks, and fecal occult blood tests.
It is crucial to note that formaldehyde, acids, alcohol, waste oil, solvents, and reagents, as well as mercury, inhalers, aerosol cans, canisters, and batteries, should never be placed in the red trash bags.
Managing Your Red Trash Bags
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