We are getting a lot of questions from Staff and Management, The burning question is, "How do I know for sure what I am tossing goes in regular trash versus the biohazardous red bag for incineration?" The short and easy answer has to do with blood, patient body fluids, and whether the item to be tossed is soiled or contaminated with the blood or body fluid.
Because hazardous waste companies charge facilities based on the weight of their waste, many facilities find it easy to toss those questionable items in normal dumpster trash containers. When in fact, most if not all, should have been red bagged.
If you can see blood or secretions, mucus, abscess discharge, drainage, etc., then by all means you are flat-out dealing with hazardous waste. Sharps containers are hazardous, IV tubing is not when it is connected to the bag of fluids for administration. However, the tools used in starting the IV would be biohazardous waste.
If you look at it from the standpoint of visually seeing or knowing blood or fluids have touched the item, then it should be red-bagged and incinerated. If no blood nor any body fluid or residual blood, then normal trash is fine. Keeping out sharps items of course.
Take this quiz below to determine how strong you are at deciding when to red bag it -
1. What is the primary purpose of the biohazardous waste red bag system?
c) Safe disposal of infectious waste
d) Aesthetic appeal
2. Which of the following should be placed in a red biohazard bag?
a) Empty pill bottles
b) Used gloves
c) Paper towels
d) Empty food containers
3. True or False: Biohazardous waste must be segregated from regular trash.
4. Which type of waste can typically go into regular trash bins?
a) Blood-soaked gauze
b) Used syringes
c) Empty medication vials
d) Sharps containers
5. What should be done with needles and other sharp objects after use?
a) Dispose of them in regular trash
b) Place them in a sharps container
c) Recycle them
d) Flush them down the toilet
6. Which of the following is considered biohazardous waste?
a) Used bandages
b) Empty plastic bottles
c) Old magazines
d) Aluminum cans
7. What color are biohazard waste bags typically?
8. Which of the following is NOT considered biohazardous waste?
a) Contaminated gloves
b) Used tissues
c) Empty medicine bottles
d) Soiled bed linens
9. True or False: It is acceptable to dispose of human tissues or organs in regular trash bins.
10. What type of waste should be placed in a biohazard sharps container?
a) Discarded medical gloves
b) Used syringes and needles
c) Empty medication containers
d) Paper towels
11. Which of the following is a biohazard symbol commonly used on biohazard waste containers?
12. What should be done with biohazardous waste before placing it in a red bag?
a) Rinse it with water
b) Label it with a biohazard symbol
c) Store it in a cardboard box
d) Spray it with disinfectant
13. True or False: Biohazardous waste should be stored in a cool, dry place.
14. Which of the following is NOT a biohazardous waste category?
a) Pathological waste
b) Radioactive waste
c) Chemical waste
d) Infectious waste
15. What is the recommended method for disposing of expired medications?
a) Flush them down the toilet
b) Place them in the regular trash
c) Return them to a pharmacy or follow local guidelines
d) Give them to friends or family
16. Which type of waste is typically placed in an orange container for disposal?
a) Radioactive waste
b) Biohazard waste
c) General trash
d) Hazardous chemicals
17. True or False: Contaminated personal protective equipment (PPE) should be placed in a red biohazard bag.
18. What should be used to securely close a biohazard waste bag?
b) Zip ties or twist ties
c) Nothing, it can be left open
d) A paperclip
19. Which of the following is NOT considered medical waste?
a) Used wound dressings
b) Empty IV bags
c) Paper patient records
d) Used needles
20. True or False: Biohazard waste disposal regulations are the same worldwide.
1. c) Safe disposal of infectious waste
2. b) Used gloves
4. c) Empty medication vials
5. b) Place them in a sharps container
6. a) Used bandages
7. c) Red
8. c) Empty medicine bottles
10. b) Used syringes and needles
11. c) ☣️
12. b) Label it with a biohazard symbol
14. b) Radioactive waste
15. c) Return them to a pharmacy or follow local guidelines