Proper Disposal of Medical Waste
Medical waste is all waste materials generated at health care facilities, such as hospitals, clinics, physician's offices, dental practices, blood banks and veterinary hospitals / clinics, as well as medical research facilities, laboratories and home health care. The Medical Waste Tracking Act of 1988 defines medical waste as "any solid waste that is generated in the diagnosis, treatment or immunization of human beings or animals, in research pertaining thereto, or in the production or testing of biologicals."
This definition includes, but is not limited to:
- Blood-soaked bandages
- Culture dishes and other glassware
- Cultures, stocks, swabs used to inoculate cultures
- Discarded lancets
- Discarded needles used to give shots or draw blood (e.g., medical sharps)
- Discarded surgical gloves
- Discarded surgical instruments
- Removed body organs (e.g., tonsils, appendices, limbs)
Please refer to our medical waste document (PDF) for proper "sharps" disposal instructions (PDF). Additional information on proper disposal for infectious waste is available through the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.
Although beneficial when used properly, unwanted or expired prescription medicines can be a public safety issue. If left on bathroom shelves or tossed haphazardly in trashcans, they can be targets for abuse. In addition, thousands of pets are poisoned each year by ingesting medications, and fish in waterways dirtied by flushed medications show indications for size and developmental damage.
St. Charles County residents can properly dispose of unwanted medications at a kiosk in the lobby of the Police Department (101 Sheriff Dierker Court in O’Fallon) or here is a list of other kiosks in our community.
Follow these steps when disposing of unwanted medications:
- Keep medication in its original container
- Remove or blacken out all personal information, but leave the name and dosage of the medication visible.
- Bring medication to the disposal kiosk.