November 20, 2023

Laboratory Waste Management Solutions

Medical research and testing laboratories play an instrumental role in emerging advancements in medicine. When conducting work laboratories generate different wastes, such as regulated medical waste and documents containing confidential data that need to be correctly discarded. Managing proper disposal of various regulated waste streams can be overwhelming – but it doesn’t have to be.  Let’s examine some common waste types and review an approach to managing that waste stream efficiently and cost-effectively.

Examples of Common Types of Waste Generated by Laboratories

Some of the different types of waste generated in laboratories and research facilities may include:

  • Biohazardous medical waste: items saturated with blood or other potentially infectious materials, such as blood samples, cultures, stocks, or personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Pathological waste: animal carcasses, and biopsies
  • Sharps waste: needles, pipettes, test tubes, or testing slides
  • Hazardous waste: chemical waste, flammable liquids, xylene, formalin, aerosols, and universal waste
  • Documents with confidential information: paperwork generated through testing procedures that contains patient protected health information or other confidential information, such as patient names, addresses, or phone numbers

These waste streams have specific packaging, handling, and disposal requirements that should be considered. Staff must understand when and how to segregate these wastes safely and follow applicable facility regulations and policies for each waste stream managed on-site. Ensuring waste is correctly segregated (avoiding a coffee cup in the red bag used for medical waste, for example) can help reduce overall waste costs.

Laboratory organizations that take an integrated approach to managing multiple waste streams can achieve sustainability, compliance, and cost containment objectives. Engaging multiple waste vendors can burden staff and lead to procedural and cost inefficiencies Managing waste streams as a collective, versus individual streams, can create a cohesive waste management program with shared resources for staff training, optimization of waste segregation practices, and achievement of sustainable improvement across your waste program.

Stericycle customizes its solutions to best meet an organization's needs, whether a local testing lab and research facility or part of a national, large-scale research organization. Stericycle helps organizations streamline their waste management program with a comprehensive service offering for regulated waste and compliance, including:

  • Regulated medical waste disposal service: Built for the cost-effective collection, transportation, and treatment of biohazardous waste.
    • Reusable containers, where applicable
    • Regulated medical waste collection
    • Transportation, treatment, and disposal
    • Separate containers offered for pathological waste, which is routed for incineration
  • Sharps waste solutions: Reusable containers to help reduce single-use plastic sent to the landfill and designed for efficiency and safety to help reduce needlestick injuries.
    • Multiple reusable container design options
    • Efficient self-service model
  • Hazardous waste disposal services: Hazardous waste collection, transportation, treatment, and disposal services facilitated through a Stericycle vendor.
  • Shred-it® secure information destruction: Secure document and hard drive destruction services to help protect confidential and proprietary data.
    • A wide range of document destruction services
    • Proof of service to confirm the collection of materials
    • Complementary, customizable workplace privacy policy templates

Learn more about how Stericycle can help medical research and testing laboratories implement a cost-effective waste management program.  

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