Consumer Advocacy

Why Are Medical Waste Disposal Bags Red?

Have you ever wondered why many institutions put medical waste in distinctively red bags or red waste containers? First, you should know that several law enforcement agencies mandate that generators of medical waste dispose of hazardous waste in special containers, such as red bags. These bags and the waste they contain must be handled separately from other types of waste. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) instructs employers to use red bags or red containers when storing regulated waste. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also mandates the use of red bags (with the biohazard symbol) for the collection of infectious waste. And the Department of Transportation (DOT) specifies that regulated medical waste must be packed inside red biohazard bags, with additional specifications regarding thickness, closure of the bag and weight limits. Why? Because red bags and containers serve as a visible warning to individuals (especially healthcare and medical waste disposal workers) to handle the waste with extra caution. Biohazardous waste can contain substances that can cause illnesses if handled improperly. Many institutions impose additional guidelines in using red bags for the handling and disposal of medical and biohazardhous waste — the latter of which is more complicated and costlier to process and dispose of. Red bags are just one of the allowed methods for the containment of medical waste. Trained professionals can also use containers that are sturdy, leak-proof and have clear biohazard labels to dispose of infectious waste. If you’re not sure what types of bags or containers to use, US Bio-Clean can help you determine what’s best for your business and keep you compliant.

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