Written by Laura Wakelam
21 Dec 2023

A Guide to Mississippi Medical Waste Regulations

The state of Mississippi, also known as the Magnolia state, is home to hospitals, clinics, and other medical facilities from its cities like Jackson, Biloxi, and Gulfport to smaller communities ranging from Moss Point to Yazoo City. Residents and visitors will find over 60 hospitals spread throughout the state, the largest being the North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo, a 640-bed facility that serves 24 Mississippi counties and 730,000 people.

Regardless of services provided, facilities such as these produce medical waste. Knowledge of how that waste is to be disposed of is vital, not only for hospital employees, but the populace, the landscape, and the environment throughout the state.


1 / Who decides medical regulations for Mississippi?

2 / About sharps disposal in Mississippi

3 / Storage and disposal for medical waste in Mississippi

4 / Transportation and disposal issues in Mississippi

5 / Turn to Daniels Health for compliance guidance 

Who decides medical regulations for Mississippi?

In the state of Mississippi, governing laws and regulations are under the purview of the state Department of Health and Mississippi’s Administrative Codes. In addition to state laws, Mississippi must also follow the laws and regulations of agencies across the federal government:

In the state of Mississippi, medical waste regulations are found specifically under 15 Mississippi Administrative Code Part III as well as the State Department of Health guidelines found under the “Adopted standards for the regulation of medical waste and healthcare facilities licensed by the Mississippi Department of Health.” Such guidelines provide specific information on how to segregate, handle, and dispose of regulated medical waste.

Understanding definitions is essential in identifying and segregating medical waste into specific waste streams for specialized handling and disposal considerations. According to a medical waste fact sheet published by the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), Solid Waste Branch, the term “medical waste” encompasses “all waste generated in direct patient care or in diagnostic or research areas that is noninfectious but aesthetically repugnant if found in the environment.”

It’s also important for healthcare providers and facility employees to know the difference between hazardous and infectious waste and why hazardous waste of any type should never be disposed of in a non-hazardous waste container. Doing so renders such waste as hazardous, which requires more specialized handling and increased costs associated with disposal.

The aforementioned medical waste fact sheet defines an infectious medical waste as any kind of liquid or solid waste that has the potential of containing pathogens “of sufficient virulence and quantity” that exposure to it can cause an infectious disease.

Infectious medical waste can also include:

  • Blood, blood components, and blood products
  • Pathological waste
  • Cultures and stocks of infectious agents
  • All discarded sharps that have come into contact with an infectious agent

Mississippi provides specific instructions and guidance for generators of medical waste streams to create medical waste management plans that are to include not only storage and containment of infectious medical waste and other medical waste streams, but also approved and appropriate treatment and disposal methods.

Hazardous waste definitions and waste management regulations can be found under Title 11 of the Mississippi DEQ, Part 3: Hazardous Waste Management Regulations. Included in the document are identification and listings of hazardous waste, standards for hazardous waste generators, reporting requirements for such, and information in regard to transporters of such waste. 

About sharps disposal in Mississippi

According to the Mississippi Department of Health adopted standards, sharps are to be contained in a rigid, leak-proof, and puncture-resistant container with a tight lid to maintain compliance not only with state, but federal laws regarding sharps disposal. Guidelines for the management of sharps follow OSHA standards for bloodborne pathogens.

Storage and disposal of medical waste in Mississippi

Throughout the state, treatment and disposal of infectious medical waste is typically achieved through incineration by an approved incinerator. However, steam and heat sterilization that renders waste non-infectious is also acceptable before it is disposed of as medical waste.

Guidelines are very specific. In regard to steam sterilization, each cycle must reach and attain temperatures of 250°F ( 121°C) for 30 minutes or longer, dependent upon the density and quantity of the load to achieve sterilization.

Medical waste that is not infectious in nature can be disposed of by incineration or by transportation to a sanitary landfill or an approved landfill. It is important for healthcare providers in the state of Mississippi to know and understand that the state follows federal OSHA program guidelines and rules (Occupational Exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens Standards) when it comes to management  of sharps as well as the requirements for any number of containers that can contain and store medical infectious waste.

Transportation and disposal issues in Mississippi

In Mississippi, any off-site management and disposal of infectious medical wastes falls under the purview of the Mississippi DEQ, which follows the provisions of the Mississippi Solid Waste Law and the Mississippi Non-hazardous Solid Waste Management Regulations.

Additional guidelines are required by a number of additional state and federal agencies that include the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Mississippi Public Service Commission.

Refer to the Mississippi DEQ for updates regarding medical waste management planning, strategies, methods, and compliance when it comes to segregation of medical waste streams from any facility producing medical waste as well as the specialized requirements of handling and disposing of hazardous and/or infectious wastes.

If in doubt, visit the Mississippi DEQ for information available on their website. Don’t guess when it comes to medical waste regulations.

Turn to Daniels Health for compliance guidance

Daniels Health is aware that Mississippi medical waste management regulations can be confusing and time-consuming to navigate. However, compliance is key not only to protect the health and safety of the population and the environment, but to avoid fines, penalties, and loss of reputation associated with improper medical waste disposal practices. For more information regarding Mississippi regulations or resources for compliant waste solutions, contact us today.




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Laura Wakelam

Laura Wakelam

Global Chief Marketing Officer

Brand and Communications Curator of Daniels Health global group of companies, Laura is a strong believer in cause-driven brand identity and honest storytelling