Written by Laura Wakelam
08 Oct 2018

Know Which Bin to Put It In

The segregation of healthcare waste streams can have significant implications for all sized healthcare facilities, which is why at Daniels we put so much focus on partnering with our customers to optimize their waste streams for best-practice waste segregation.

Some of the common risks and costs of incorrectly disposed waste include:

  • Safety risk to staff and patients through exposure or unauthorized access to infectious wastes or controlled substances
  • Compliance breaches and risk of fines for the incorrect disposal and treatment of hazardous materials
  • Treatment complications imposing human and environmental risk from wrongly categorized hazardous wastes. (US law places the responsibility of all healthcare waste on the generator for its entire life cycle – this includes transport and treatment!)
  • High cost implications for over-categorized waste. For example, incorrectly disposed solid waste into medical waste bins can incur a 50 - 80% disposal and treatment premium.
  • Injuries occuring from sharps incorrectly deposited into general waste or red bags 


Ensuring each waste type is correctly disposed of into its corresponding container is something we shine a spotlight on, because it protects the safety of your staff and ours! US legislation places significant importance around the collection, disposal and treatment of both medical waste and hazardous waste because of their risk impact to people and the environment. So much so, that if any hazardous and non-hazardous material were ever mixed together, the full bulk of the waste would be classified as hazardous and would need to be disposed of in accordance to hazardous waste regulations.  


Let’s start with the color of the container…



While sharps are, under US regulation, classified as a biohazardous waste, they cannot be disposed of in a traditional biohazardous waste container or red bag. Daniels sharps containers are ivory in color to clearly differentiate the waste stream from the traditional red earmarked for non-sharp regulated medical waste. View Daniels Sharpsmart  



Regulated Medical Waste

The OSHA bloodborne pathogens standard requires that a regulated medical waste container must be sealable, and closed prior to removal to prevent spillage during handling and storage. Daniels biomedical waste containers are red in color, clearly marked with a biohazard symbol, airtight and leakproof. View Daniels Medismart



Non-Hazardous Pharmaceutical waste

Non-RCRA pharmaceutical containers need to be clearly differentiated from hazardous containers due to the high human, environmental and compliance risk associated with incorrect disposal. Daniels pharmaceutical range of containers are designed with an ivory base with a purple lid for instant color recognition. View Daniels Pharmasmart



Trace Chemotherapy Waste

Chemotherapy waste is considered ‘trace’ when less than a 3 percent by weight residual of the chemotherapy drug substance remains. In this residual form, the drug is classified ‘non hazardous’. Daniels trace chemotherapy containers are yellow in line with industry standard. View Daniels Chemosmart



RCRA Hazardous waste

In accordance with the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, RCRA Hazardous waste must be treated in a RCRA approved incinerator and must be clearly earmarked for hazardous listed waste. Daniels Hazardous waste containers are black in line with industry standard. View RCRA containers 



Learn how to Segregate Waste Better

Container colors are pretty clear to differentiate, but the harder area to navigate is what do you put in each bin. There are some basic no-no’s when it comes to any healthcare waste disposal, for example you should never be disposing of Mercury, Batteries, Formaldehyde or Aerosol cans in biohazardous waste bins, but then there other slightly more grey areas such as how much blood or bodily fluids must be on an item to render it biohazardous? To give you a bit of a visual head-start on ‘what goes in this bin?’ we have created an easy to follow segregation poster.




How Daniels delivers segregation outcomes

At Daniels, we partner with all sized healthcare facilities to ensure their risk and costs are managed throughout the waste journey. Some of the ways we ensure full compliance and safety to your staff and the environment is maintained are as follows:

  • Clearly labelled and color coded waste containers that make it clear to staff “which bin to put it in” with regards to medical waste, sharps, pharmaceutical, trace chemotherapy and hazardous waste disposal
  • Education posters, webinars and in-house training on how to effectively segregate medical waste
  • Waste mapping at a facility level to ensure the right containers are positioned at point of need and eliminate risk of incorrect disposal due to absent containers
  • Per location Waste audits to identify challenge areas, and tailored action plans to train and correct behavior
  • Monthly reporting to isolate unusual trends of waste volumes or costs
  • Formulary analysis service to categorize every controlled substance your facility generates and determine the correct collection and disposal requirements


If you have questions about how to reduce costs associated with poor medical waste segregation or improving the risk profile of your facility, talk to one of our clinical experts today. For facilities that generate multiple healthcare waste streams, we would be happy to do an onsite assessment to identify areas of cost and safety improvements and map out a plan of how Daniels can partner with you to redefine the effectiveness of your healthcare waste segregation and biohazardous waste program. Call us on 855 251 2655 or e-mail us at hello@danielshealth.com


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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