Guide to Minimization of Over-Classification of Infectious Medical Waste

Infectious Medical Waste & Disease Control

Infectious Medical Waste Minimization Information

The West Virginia Infectious Medical Waste program places a great deal of emphasis on proper classification of Infectious Medical Waste and the minimization of over-classification of solid waste as infectious.

There are many reasons that health care facilities need to reduce the amount of Infectious Medical Waste they generate:

  • When large volumes of plastics, common in medical waste, are incinerated there is increased potential for atmospheric release of carcinogenic agents if incinerators are not operated properly.
  • Increased medical waste generation also increases the potential for costly accidents and spills due to the increased numbers of vehicles required to haul the waste.
  • Another reason is to keep disposal costs as low as possible.

The following are items commonly found is biohazard collection containers.
These items are solid waste over-classified as Infectious Medical Waste.

  • Gloves
  • Medicine vials (excluding vaccine vials or ampoules)
  • I.V. bags and tubing with no visible blood
  • Paper towels and exam table paper
  • Procedure setup trays
  • 24 hour urine tests and specimen containers with no visible blood
  • Foley bags and associated tubing
  • Chucks and diapers soiled with urine or feces
  • Bedpans and urinals
  • Gauze and cotton balls with little blood
  • Isolation wastes (MRSA and other contact isolations) from patients who do not have a disease cause by a viral agent classified by the CDC as Class 4 Viral Agents.

Class 4 Viral Agents include:

    • Alastrim, Smallpox, Monkey pox and Whitepox
    • Hemorrhagic fever agents, including Crimean hemorrhagic fever (Congo), Junin, and Machupo viruses
    • Herpesvirus simiae (Monkey B virus)
    • Tick-borne encephalitis, Kyasanur forest disease, Omsk hemorrhagic fever, and Central European encephalitis viruses
    • Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus
    • Yellow fever virus