What is the “Best” Way to Handle Sharps Waste Removal?

What is the best way to handle sharps waste removal?

Sharps waste removal is part of the everyday responsibility of medical facilities. But what is the best way to dispose of it? In this article, you will learn more about the differences between off-site and on-site disposal methods, and see which one may be better suited to your facility! 

Why is Sharps Waste Removal so Important?

What makes correct sharps removal such an important issue in the healthcare industry is its abundance in the treatment of patients combined with the fact that it is one of the most dangerous types of medical waste around.

If you work in the medical industry, you may easily figure out why sharps waste is so hazardous. Since it can easily pierce or cut your skin, it can prove to be extremely adept at propagating infectious diseases from one person to another. To keep your patients, and of course your medical staff safe from any in-house risk, your waste management system absolutely has to include an appropriate solution for sharps waste removal.

These are some of the most common types of sharps waste that need to be removed from a medical site such as a hospital or a clinic:

  • Hypothermic and blunted needles, syringes
  • Disposable blades, scalpels, razors
  • Broken and/or contaminated glass
  • Microscope slides

Any medical waste that is contaminated by bodily fluids such as blood and can cut or pierce the skin falls under this category.

There are many ways to handle medical sharps waste disposal. These can be categorized into two main methods: off-site and on-site removal methods.

Off-Site Sharps Waste Removal

Once your sharps waste containers are full and stored in a well-separated area, the removal of your waste can occur.

If you choose an off-site disposal method, you will of course need the services of an outside company that specializes in the transportation of hazardous medical waste like sharps. They will need to be just as careful as your own medical staff since until it can be treated, the waste inside the containers still represents a risk of infection.

Sharps waste will then be transported to a select landfill where trained staff will use high-temperature incineration to destroy the waste. Incineration is still one of the most popular off-site sharps waste removal methods today, as its efficiency still cannot be denied today, even with the appearance of more modern on-site disposal methods.

On-Site Sharps Waste Removal

What makes on-site sharps waste removal more “modern”? Why are more and more medical facilities opting for this solution instead of off-site disposal?

Mainly because on-site sharps waste removal can be more cost-effective while simultaneously reducing potential risks associated with storage and transportation. All this without compromising the efficiency of the method. Sharps waste can be destroyed just as effectively by combining steam sterilization with medical waste shredding within one single vessel of a special machine.

Since the waste will be sterilized on-site, there is no need to pay high transportation costs for handling hazardous waste, since sharps will be rendered to a state where they are free of any foreign materials, and can be removed like regular municipal trash. As an added bonus, this is also much more environmentally friendly compared to incineration.