Biomedical waste is any solid or liquid waste which may present a threat of infection to humans, including non-liquid tissue, body parts, blood, blood products, and body fluids from humans and other primates; laboratory and veterinary wastes which contain human disease-causing agents; and discarded sharps. These types of wastes can be generated at home or at any of the approximately 30,000 biomedical waste facilities in Florida. These include hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, laboratories, funeral homes, dentists, veterinarians, physicians, transporters, and storage and treatment facilities. These commercial facilities require permitting and oversight through inspections. But first let’s talk about biomedical waste at home.
To minimize risks from improper disposal of home-generated biomedical waste, e.g., needles, syringes with needles, diagnostic lancets, etc., place needles, syringes with needles, lancets, and other sharp objects into a hard-plastic or metal container with a screw-on top or other tightly fitting lid (i.e., an empty liquid-detergent bottle or paint can). Before the container is full all the way to the top, put on the top or lid and tape it on with heavy-duty tape. Put the container in the center of your trash when you throw it out. Do not put needles and other sharp objects in any container you plan to recycle. Do not use clear-plastic or glass containers. Do not throw loose or unprotected needles into your garbage.
The Department of Health has primary authority and responsibility for facilities that generate, transport, store, or treat biomedical waste through processes other than incineration. Biomedical waste management is conducted to assure proper identification, segregation, containment, storage, and labeling of biomedical waste. The department has established parameters for the safe handling and treatment of biomedical waste.