Glossary

Here is a brief glossary of waste terminology:

Hospital Waste
All solid waste, both biological and nonbiological, that is produced at a hospital and is discarded and not intended for further use.

Medical Waste
Materials generated as a result of patient diagnosis and/or treatment or the immunization of human beings or animals.

Regulated Medical Waste
Also referred to as Infectious Waste. This is the portion of medical waste that can transmit disease. Only about10-15% of medical waste is infectious waste. The definition of RMW which EPA uses in its proposed standards for medical waste incinerators is derived from the Department of Health of New York State and the Healthcare Association of New York State's joint efforts to scientifically define the types of waste included under Infectious Waste/RMW.

These are the five categories included:

1. Cultures and Stocks
Cultures and stocks of agents infectious to humans, and associated biologicals, cultures from medical or pathological laboratories, cultures and stocks of infectious agents from research and industrial laboratories, wastes from the production of biologicals, discarded live or attenuated vaccines, or culture dishes and devices used to transfer, inoculate or mix cultures.

2. Human Pathological Waste
Tissue, organs, and body parts (except teeth and the contiguous structures of bone and gum), body fluids that are removed during surgery, autopsy, or other medical procedures, or specimens of body fluids and their containers, and discarded material saturated with body fluids other than urine, provided that the Commissioner, by duly promulgated regulation, may exclude such discarded material saturated with body fluids from this definition if the Commissioner finds that it does not pose a significant risk to public health. This waste shall not include urine or fecal materials submitted for other than diagnosis of infectious diseases.

3. Human Blood and Blood Products
(I) Discarded waste human blood, discarded blood components (e.g., serum and plasma), containers with free flowing blood or blood components or discarded saturated material containing free flowing blood or blood components; and (II) Materials saturated with blood or blood products provided that the Commissioner, by duly promulgated regulation, may exclude such material saturated with blood or blood products from this definitions if the Commissioner finds that it does not pose a significant risk to public health.

4. Sharps
Shall include but not be limited to discarded unused sharps and sharps used in animal or human patient care, medical research, or clinical or pharmaceutical laboratories, hypodermic, intravenous syringes to which a needle or other sharp is still attached, Pasteur pipettes, scalpel blades, or blood vilas. This waste shall include, but not be limited to, other types of broken or unbroken glass (including slides and cover slips) in contact with infectious agents. This waste shall not include those parts of syringes from which sharps are specifically designed to be easily removed and from which sharps have actually been removed, and which are intended for recycling or other disposal, so long as such syringes have not come in contact with infectious agents.

5. Animal Waste
Discarded materials including carcasses, body parts, body fluids, blood, or bedding originating from animals known to be contaminated with infectious agents (i.e., zoonotic organisms) or from animals inoculated during research, production of biologicals, or pharmaceutical testing with infectious agents.

Solid Waste
Noninfectious and nonhazardous wastes, often largely composed of recyclable material.

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