Small clinics and practices face high costs when they need to get rid of medical wastes. Such facilities may be located in commercial buildings or urbanised centres where there isn't room to set up an incinerator, and hence must hire a disposal service to get safely remove medical waste, which can't be handled together with regular garbage.
Disposal of medical waste is more costly than regular waste because of the specificity required for safe handling and eventual disposal. This article highlights some easy-to-follow tips you can apply in your practice to cut medical waste disposal costs significantly. Read on to learn more.
1. Learn waste disposal practices
The first step is to familiarise yourself with waste management regulations in your locality and state. There will be different programs to handle specific types of wastes and guidelines for safe disposal, including information on weights, container types, labelling, storage periods and other details.
Improperly classifying waste, such as mixing medical waste with non-medical waste, sharps with other waste and other mistakes, will mean that all your waste will be treated as the most dangerous item in the pile. This means you'll cough up much more according to the increased volume of hazardous waste.
2. Segregate your waste
Start by separating non-medical waste such as waste paper, drinking bottles, food, food wrappers etc., and discard this with regular trash according to your building's arrangements. The cost of this is often included in the rent or service charge you pay for building maintenance. In addition, items that have trace contamination from bodily fluids, such as bandages/gauze with no or very little blood can be disposed of as non-hazardous waste, especially if the patient is otherwise healthy.
Once you all train your workers on proper hospital waste segregation, you'll be paying for disposal of truly dangerous materials, and hence save big on your collection costs.
3. Optimize pickup schedules
Observe for a while to see how much waste is generated in a period, and then reschedule your collections to come when the bags are full. Remember that collection companies charge by the number of collections done, so fewer pickups should lower your costs.
If you're really small and never generate enough waste for bi-weekly pickup (you can't keep trash in the office for too long) consider alternate arrangements such as mail-back programs. Here, your collector sends a regulated waste container which you can mail back when full. Mail-back programs are also useful if your practice is located out-of-the-way for the collectors, who will have additional transport costs.
4. Bundle services
Some practices incur high costs because they pay different people to carry different types of trash. Instead of having separate people handling compliance training, municipal disposal, sharps disposal and biohazard red-bag disposal, talk to your vendors to see how many of these services you can consolidate. You may not be able to reduce to just one for all your trash, but the fewer they are, the cheaper they will be.