Next time you visit the doctor or go to the hospital or find yourself in any medical setting, take a look around the room and you’re sure to find a number of red bins with biohazard signs on them—whether it’s a small one hung up on the wall or a large bin sitting on the floor. As you can quite easily guess by the warning signs and symbols on them, this is where biohazard materials are discarded.
But why can’t we just toss things like needles in the garbage? Isn’t everything that comes into contact with a human considered biohazard waste?
Ask a medical professional any of the questions above and you’re going to get a very simple answer when it comes to biohazard waste disposal in Colorado: anything that could possibly hold or spread disease, bacteria or other contaminants is considered bio-waste and needs to be handled with extreme care, as not to create a biological outbreak.
Containing the problem at its source
Consider this simple scenario: you go to the doctor to have blood drawn so that your physician can check for any signs of a blood borne pathogen. When he’s done, instead of putting the used needle in the hazardous waste material, he instead throws it in the garbage. Let’s trace the life of that needle from the moment it hits the garbage to its final resting place:
- The garbage is emptied by a staff worker at the hospital into a larger garbage disposal.
- The mass of garbage is picked up by a trash removal company and taken to a processing station where it’s dumped with even more garbage and sorted by workers.
- Garbage at the processing station is then taken to either a landfill, incinerator or recycling station, depending on its composition.
Now, while this might seem like a straightforward process, it’s important to remember that at each step of this timeline, your used needle is coming into contact with other garbage, people and even animals, and all the while your microscopic remnants of blood are disseminating into the world. If your tests come back positive for a blood borne pathogen, everything that has since touched that single needle now becomes at risk—the spread can be prolific.
Safety measures are key
The above situation is one that’s simplified, but nevertheless important to think about because all it takes is one person to come into contact with a contaminated piece of bio-hazardous waste and a simple problem can quickly spread!
Proper biohazard waste disposal in Colorado puts fail-safes in place so that the potential for contamination is virtually eliminated and all necessary steps are taken to neutralize any pathogens that may exist. From the moment a piece of hazardous waste is dropped into one of those brightly colored, properly labeled waste bins, to the moment it’s dropped into an ozone medical waste processing chamber, the goal is to ensure that bio-waste is contained and accounted for at all times.