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J & J Waste Blogging

St. John's University

Red Bag/Medical Waste

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Red Bag/Medical Waste

Regulated Medical Waste, also known as “Red Bag” waste, consists of the following wastes types:

  • Sharps and Biohazard Glassware- includes syringe needles and sharps (razor or scalpel blades), pipettes, pipette tips, microscope slides, and other glass or plastic items that have been exposed to potentially infectious biological materials or biological agents. 
  • Preserved Animal Carcasses.
  • Non-Preserved Animal Carcasses.
  • Infectious Biological Material- includes blood and blood products, cultures and culture stocks.

Due to the potential for these wastes to be contaminated with infectious materials and/or biological agents, the NYSDEC strictly regulates the storage and disposal of Regulated Medical Waste.

All Regulated Medical Waste must be stored in specially designated red containers as discussed in the following section.  These containers are supplied by University EH&S.  Each is specially designed to meet NYSDEC requirements and therefore substitutes are not to be used. Download the Sharps and Laboratory Glass Disposal PDF.


New York State medical waste removal

New York State medical waste removal

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he City does not collect medical trash except for syringes used in a residence. 

Used syringes and lancets (also known as "sharps") must be properly packaged and labeled and may be brought to any hospital or nursing home in New York State, which are required by law to act as collection centers. In addition, various local pharmacies and healthcare providers participate in the voluntary sharps collection program.

If you are not using a sharps disposal program, place properly packaged and labeled sharps containers in the regular trash. Never place sharps containers in a recycling bin. 

Disposal of all other medical waste must be arranged through a licensed hauler.

NY State Managing the Regulated Medical Waste Stream

Managing the Regulated Medical Waste Stream

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Managing the Regulated Medical Waste Stream

Beyond the revisions to several of the definitions found in the Public Health Law, Chapter 438 of the Laws of 1993 also revised two other sections that have an effect on the management of regulated medical waste. One revision effects the labeling of red bags used to contain regulated medical waste and the other concerns disposal of treated regulated medical waste.

Public Health Law 1389 - cc: Storage and containment of regulated medical waste. [Eff. July 1, 1995, as amended by L. 1993, c. 438]

Containment of regulated medical waste shall be separate from other wastes. Containers used for the containment of regulated medical waste shall be marked prominently on the containers with the universal warning sign or the word biohazard.

Prior to this provision's effective date of July 1, 1995, containers (bags and sharps containers) were required to be labeled prominently with either the word "infectious" or the words "regulated medical waste". Clearly, supplies of the outdated labeled bags and sharps containers held by health related facilities were not uniformly depleted on July 1, 1995. The department will allow facilities to use up their current stocks but when they reorder, they must acquire bags and containers which meet the labeling requirements of the new statute.

Public Health Law 1389 - dd: Treatment and disposal of regulated medical waste.

1. Treatment or disposal of regulated medical waste shall be by one of the following methods: (c) By decontamination by autoclaving, or by other technique approved by the department, so as to render the waste noninfectious. Regulated medical waste so treated shall be disposed of as solid waste provided it does not otherwise meet the definitions of hazardous waste as defined in the regulations promulgated under section 27-0903 of the environmental conservation law or the regulations promulgated thereunder, and is accompanied by a certificate, in a form prescribed by the commissioner, which evidences such treatment. 2. Regulated medical waste shall not be disposed of by burial at a landfill disposal facility, unless treated in accordance with subdivision one of this section. All sharps must be rendered unrecognizable prior to disposal.

This provision of the statute for the disposal of treated regulated medical waste as solid waste should result in decreased expenditure by health care facilities which elect to treat on-site. There are numerous alternative technologies which are currently available from over forty manufactures within the United States and Europe. They vary in capacity from those designed for use in physician/dentist offices, capable of treating twenty-five to one hundred pounds per cycle, to systems to be used in major medical centers or regional treatment facilities, which are able to treat one ton or more of waste per cycle (generally a cycle is one to one and one/half hours in length). In many instances these alternative technologies simultaneously treat, destroy, and reduc

New York State Regulated Medical Waste

What Medical Waste is Regulated?

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Regulated Medical Waste

What Medical Waste is Regulated?

A red plastic bag containing different types of medical waste
DEC provides technical assistance to many
generators on proper management
and disposal of medical waste.

Regulated medical waste (RMW) is material generated in research, production and testing of biologicals or health care such as:

  • Infectious animal waste
  • Human pathological waste
  • Human blood and blood products
  • Needles and syringes (sharps)
  • Cultures and stocks (microbiological materials)
  • Other biohazard waste (e.g. materials contaminated with infectious agents such as the Ebola virus - see Ebola Waste Disposal Fact Sheet [PDF], 38 KB)

What Institutions are Regulated?

Examples of regulated institutions include: hospitals, clinical laboratories, veterinarians, funeral homes, nursing homes, home health providers, physicians offices, research laboratories, pharmaceutical companies, colleges and universities (including basic medical or clinical microbiology laboratories), blood banks, company infirmaries, correctional facilities and waste management companies.

Proper Treatment and Disposal

Treatment and disposal of regulated medical waste requires a permit.

RMW must be properly treated to destroy disease-causing organisms prior to disposal at an authorized solid waste management facility.

Treatment includes autoclaving, incineration, or alternative treatment technologies (e.g., microwave, chemical disinfection etc.) or other methods that meet New York State's performance standards. In addition,sharps must be destroyed prior to disposal.

Treated RMW may be disposed (if accompanied by a certificate of treatment form) at an authorized solid waste management facility.

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