Where To Dispose of Dental Office Waste [INFOGRAPHIC]


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Related: 6 Tips To Reduce Time, Money Spent on Waste Disposal

What Dental Waste Goes Where?

Dental practices must manage multiple streams of waste, ranging from sharps to heavy metals such as lead and amalgam. Lack of compliance can mean fines and worse, so it’s worth your time to develop a cost-effective waste segregation and disposal plan. This infographic presents a segregation model based on current governmental regulations and best management practices from dentistry accreditation and advocacy organizations.


    • Different states have different definitions of medical waste, some will refer to it as “Regulated medical Waste” (RMW), some as “Infectious Waste” and others as “Biomedical Waste” (Ref: Healthcare Environmental Resource Center). Overall, any pathological, infectious, or blood-borne contaminated waste should be treated as and disposed of per medical waste regulations. Depending on the type of and amount of medical waste being disposed of will determine what type of medical waste disposal service is the most appropriate for your needs. Those who are disposing of a large amount of medical waste (such as body remains or large amounts of blood or infectious fluids) might find a pickup service more appropriate for their needs. Alternately, those practice who produce a smaller amount of medical waste will find that mailback service to be a cost-effective alternative to pickup services.

    • The typical containers and bags that are used in dentistry are as follows:
      – Red containers are typically used for sharps and red bags are used for Regulated Medical Waste
      – White containers with blue tops are typically used for pharmaceutical waste
      – Although very uncommon in dental offices (Due to their EPA Conditionally-Exempt Small Quantity Generator status), black containers are used for RCRA hazardous waste. Locations who must follow RCRA standards for hazardous waste disposal are those who are considered large quantity generators (100KG or more of hazardous waste per month).


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