By Selin Hoboy, Vice President of Legislative and Regulatory Affairs, Stericycle
We are very fortunate in the U.S. to have an excellent and readily available healthcare system. However, maintaining such a system requires many behind-the-scenes support services that many of us are unaware of or take for granted. Managing medical waste is one such service. Every day, a wide range of potentially infectious or chemical waste is created requiring special disposal; this includes needles from routine vaccinations, tumors removed from patients, trace chemicals remaining in an IV line, or bloodied supplies from treating an accident victim.
Of millions of tons of waste generated from our ho
spital systems each year, just 6-8% percent (per Practice Greenhealth) is considered “regulated medical waste” requiring treatment from companies like Stericycle. While most people think that all regulated medical waste is incinerated, only about 10% is treated via incineration.