Infectious waste or biohazardous waste is defined as a waste which is capable of transmitting a dangerous communicable disease. Improper disposal of infectious waste poses a significant threat to any unsuspecting person who may come in contact with it. You can help prevent injury, illness, and pollution by following some simple steps when disposing of infectious waste generated in your home.
Proper disposal of your infectious waste depends on what type of waste you generate. If the waste is a liquid, like human blood or dialysis fluid, the waste should be flushed down the toilet. If the infectious waste is a solid material (such as disposable bedding and bandages) and is not capable of puncturing or cutting human tissue, the waste should be double bagged and placed in a trash can before setting it out for pick-up. Make sure all infectious waste is kept in a secure area and out of the reach of children and pets.
Be responsible by practicing safe infectious waste disposal. For more information contact the Marshall County Solid Waste/Recycle Depot at (574) 935-8618.
If the infectious waste you generate in your home is capable of puncturing or cutting human tissue (like a syringe), it is classified as “sharps” and special precautions should be taken. Do not put infectious sharps (syringes, lancets, needles, tainted broken glass) into returnable containers, glass, or clear plastic containers.
To dispose of sharps safely, place them in a non-breakable, puncture resistant container such as a liquid detergent bottle or metal coffee can. Seal the container tightly reinforcing the seal with a heavy tape and label the container sharps. Many pharmacies sell containers specifically designed for temporary storage of waste sharps.
Once your sharps container is full, bring the sealed container to a participating sharps drop-off facility and ask an attendant where to place your sharps container. An authorized medical waste company will dispose of your sharps in accordance with all applicable local, state and federal regulations. In Marshall County sharps drop-off units are located at Peoples Drug Store in Plymouth, CVS in Culver, Bremen Town Hall, and the Recycle Depot.
Infectious Waste and the Law:
The government does not regulate infectious waste generated in the home. However, agencies that provide home health care services such as emergency medical service providers, health care mobile units, and home health care agencies are regulated. These agencies are responsible for their own proper disposal of the waste they generate while providing health care services. If you find infectious waste that has been dumped, do not touch it or pick it up. Contact Marshall County Health Department immediately at (574) 935-8565.