Medical Waste Disposal in Non-Medical Locations

Medical waste is generally defined as any solid, liquid, or sharp waste that includes but is not limited to unused medications, soiled, contaminated or blood-soaked bandages, gloves, swabs, needles, syringes, sharps, or other miscellaneous medical hazardous waste not otherwise specified.  

Home based health care can create medical waste which can be hazardous if not disposed properly. Inappropriate medical waste disposal can pose harmful environmental concerns and significant health risks to the public, which include but are not limited to, potential water contamination, inadvertent sharp-stick injuries and toxic exposure to pharmaceutical products. The AAFP encourages practices to keep all medical and non-medical waste separate to avoid contamination and to facilitate safe disposal of all medical waste. The importance of routine medical waste disposal and destruction practices should be stressed at all city and county levels of collection.  

Therefore, the AAFP supports:

  1. Education about safe disposal of medical waste to the public,
  2. Community based disposal programs that are readily available and affordable, and
  3. Policies to encourage and programs that provide safe community disposal of medical waste from non-medical settings.

(2003) (Sept 2019 BOD)