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Why You Should Be Thinking About Medical Waste Packaging

Proper packaging of hazardous medical waste is absolutely crucial for safe substance management.

The standards and regulations for packaging medical waste depend on the content. Sharps like needles, for example, will have different packaging requirements to corrosives or flammable substances. Some (but not all) of the Standards for medical waste management in New Zealand include:

  • NZS 4304: Management of Healthcare Waste
  • NZS 5433: 2012 Transport of dangerous goods on land

Why is Medical Waste Packaging Important?

It’s important to adhere to New Zealand standards and regulations when packaging medical waste. Not complying with standards could lead to environmental damage, illness, injury or in severe cases death from exposure to any number of hazardous medical waste substances.

With so many hazardous substances falling under the umbrella of medical waste, the dangers are varied and include fire, explosion, corrosion, minor or serious injury, and infection.

What is Considered Hazardous Medical Waste?

Medical waste can come from a variety of sources. Although we call it “medical”, it’s not necessarily derived from a medical environment. Medical waste is generated in all sorts of public and private environments (see below) and can include a variety of hazardous substances.

Hazardous waste is any waste containing a substance that poses a threat to people or the environment. Hazardous waste includes but is not limited to flammable, corrosive and toxic substances as well as oxidising agents, radioactive material, infectious and heavy metal waste. The most prominent concern in medical waste disposal is management of infectious waste.

Infectious waste is waste that contains blood or other bodily fluids. It includes contaminated needles, bandages and disposable medical devices. Healthcare waste like this contains potentially harmful microorganisms which can infect hospital patients, health workers and the general public.

Other potential infectious risks may include the spread of drug-resistant microorganisms from health facilities into the environment. The World Health Organisation recommends “selecting safe and environmentally-friendly management options” for infectious waste.

Where is Hazardous Waste Generated?

azardous medical waste is not just generated in hospitals. Because the scope of what is considered medical waste is quite broad, there are many environments that might require medical waste removal services in Auckland. Some examples include:

  • Any areas with sharps disposal containers (including home healthcare, workplaces, institutions and public toilets)
  • Hospitals
  • Pharmacies
  • Doctor’s clinics
  • Acupuncture clinics
  • Physiotherapy clinics
  • Dental and orthodontic clinics
  • Pathology clinics and laboratories
  • Other healthcare facilities
  • Veterinary clinics
  • Tattoo parlours
  • Beauty clinics
  • Funeral parlours

 

To reduce the risk of infection, safe packaging and processing of medical waste can be carried out by licensed hazardous waste removal specialists in Auckland. For more information about packaging, or to learn more about our services, call the friendly team at Hi Tech Disposals on (09) 263 8782. Alternatively, you can fill out our online contact form for enquiries.