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What’s the Difference Between Biohazardous Waste & Regulated Medical Waste?

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You may have heard these two terms used interchangeably in the waste management field. While both biohazardous and regulated medical waste have to do with medical waste in general, you’ll learn that they are both under the same umbrella, yet used under different protocols depending on the state’s regulations. In other words, they both require specific disposal regardless if the state or federal agency is influenced because of potential transmission of disease.


Disposal Practices Vary (State Governments vs. Federal Agencies’ Regulations)

Biohazardous waste and their environmental regulations influence federal agencies such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Centers for Disease Control. This means that individual states also handle waste differently when it comes to registering for regulated medical waste (or not registering), time limits on storage, transportation and demonstrating tracking forms/documentation. We recommend you take proper OSHA compliance courses so that you and your employees can follow specific disposal practices.


Types of Medical Waste Defined

Note that not all medical waste is regulated, which means the management for the kinds of terms used should be handled based on legal requirements per state. Therefore, different terms vary and may be treated as a non-infectious human cell culture or have a substantial to little contamination status. Employees need to get adequately trained because of the management challenges they may face, including misinformation on waste generators, packaging waste and conducting inspections.


Cost of Resources/Treatment Vary by Institutions

Both biohazardous and regulated medical waste can be classified as special waste since it requires special handling (again, these terms vary by state). Financially, institutions are using different treatment methods for disposal in search of a more cost-effective approach. While a variety of institutions focus on different classification of wastes, they also generate different waste patterns. This proves that there is no single definition of medical waste, which is why the terms cannot present similar regulations for all states. The cost of resources for a safe environment in institutions also depends on improper utilizations with the disposal and rather RMW guidelines are followed or not.


Remember that, although these terms vary by type of waste defined, we have solutions for all kinds of waste management disposal that are easy, cost effective and with no hidden fees. We also offer OSHA online compliance for your employees’ safety and updated audit plans for a more fundamental understanding of federal regulations for your facility. We are here to help!



At Greer Enterprises, LLC, we help protect and conserve the environment by reaching sustainability and handle waste safely and effectively including proper transportation. We offer local, regional and national service on top of our 50 years of experience and are licensed environmental contractors. Request a quote today for your special project by calling 251-679-1967.