The US has seen a significant increase in medical waste since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although the amount of biohazardous trash has been mitigated by the cancellation of elective and non-critical surgeries, the vast quantities of discarded PPE related to the treatment of COVID-19 has greatly affected demand in the industry.
Currently, the Centers for Disease Control has advised that medical waste generated related to the care and treatment of COVID-19 can be treated in the same manner as other medical waste. In similar fashion, the Department of Transportation’s latest advisories have not imposed any additional packaging or special COVID-19 specific transportation requirements to date on medical waste, including sharps. However, Clym Environmental Services is constantly monitoring bulletins from the CDC and other regulatory agencies to stay abreast of any changes in medical waste treatment protocols.
Packaging Guideline Reminders
Even though regulations regarding medical waste disposal and transportation and sharps generated during the care of known and suspected COVID-19 patients remain consistent with established disposal and transportation guidelines, it is important to observe these existing guidelines very carefully—especially those from the Department of Transportation pertaining to the packaging and transportation of regulated medical waste and sharps.
Please remember that the packaging of waste in accordance with existing regulatory guidelines for transport to treatment facilities is the responsibility of the entity generating the waste. Our drivers do not package waste. In addition:
- Place reusable sharps containers on the racks as usual for standard processing. Do not package them in biohazardous “red waste” containers.
- Securely close every container. Gather all sides of the waste bag, twist, and secure either with a hand-tied knot or a sturdy tie. Lids of reusable tubs and other containers should fit tightly and securely with no waste—including closed bags—visible when closed.
- Damaged or inadequately closed containers will not be picked up.
Clym is monitoring the latest updates from the CDC, OSHA, and other regulatory agencies to keep you informed on any new developments related to the safe disposal of medical waste during the COVID-19 pandemic.