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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Knowledge Center

Hospital Waste Procedures

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Last updated 3/16/2020

In developing procedures for COVID-19 hospital waste, Stericycle considered all aspects of proper management, treatment, and disposal of regulated medical waste generated during care of COVID-19 patients, including safety of healthcare and waste workers.

COVID-19 Waste Packaging:

CDC guidance states that medical waste coming from healthcare facilities treating COVID-19 patients should not be managed any different than those without. Healthcare facilities should follow all normal medical waste packaging conditions and standard disposal procedures, which vary depending on the type of waste.(see more below).

Stericycle In-Hospital Service Procedures:

For hospitals with an on-site in-service technician servicing the sharps containers under our Sharps Management Service, the following guidelines now apply:

  • In the interest of limiting community spread of COVID-19, for a limited time Stericycle service technicians will not be entering any patient isolation rooms regardless of isolation room signage. We believe it is prudent to limit the number of people that enter such rooms.
  • Technicians will be checking in at nurse’s stations to ask about any rooms we should not be entering. If rooms are identified, the technician will not service containers. This applies to patient rooms, procedure areas, emergency departments and other areas. 
  • Containers in isolation rooms and areas which could not be serviced should be serviced by your staff and brought to the soiled utility room. Our technician will then service the container from this location. Our intent is to protect patients, employees and community members by limiting the number of people that enter isolation areas.
  • Although it is acceptable to continue utilizing Stericycle reusable sharps containers in areas with COVID-19 patients, you may also choose to procure disposable containers through your supplier/distributor or by contacting Stericycle’s product department at 844-839-4897 or emailing Products at

For Pathological, Trace Chemotherapy, and Pharmaceutical Waste, continue to follow current standard procedures and Stericycle’s Waste Acceptance Policy.

For Laboratory waste, use current protocols as required by your biosafety procedures for regulated medical waste. Please continue to monitor for new requirements from the CDC or local health department requirements.

Commonly asked questions: