What Goes in the Black Bin

What Goes in the Black Bin?

Partnering with a fully certified and permitted medical waste service provider is one of the best ways to ensure that your practice’s regulated medical waste is handled correctly. Properly segregating the waste is an important consideration in preparing, storing, and transporting medical waste. When you categorize medical waste correctly, you isolate each type to ensure that it is managed properly.

Your waste provider can assist with education so that your employees follow the correct procedure. Proper collection and segregation can help guarantee that you do not mix medical waste into the wrong stream or fail to comply with state or federal guidelines and

what goes in the black bin


What Goes in Black Pharmaceutical Waste Containers

In broad terms, black bins are used for hazardous pharmaceutical waste. Pharmaceutical waste is generated through the preparation and/or administration of pharmaceutical agents and may include the following:

  • Discarded medications
  • Partially used syringes, vials, and IV bags
  • Medication aerosols and inhalers

Separating pharmaceutical waste from other forms of medical waste and disposing of it correctly helps minimize the risks associated with managing hazardous medications and reduce potential harmful effects to the environment. Further separating hazardous pharmaceutical waste from all other pharmaceutical waste will ensure that your facility complies with regulatory requirements.

At a Glance: Black Bin Waste in Hospital 

These are the types of waste that go in the black bin in a hospital: 

  • Certain pharmaceuticals (D, U & P Listed)
  • Antineoplastic waste
  • Radioactive waste
  • Mercury-filled devices, batteries, blood pressure cuffs & gauges, thermometers
  • Chemicals such as xylene, formaldehyde, formalin, acetone, toluene, mercury, fixatives, and alcohol
  • Disinfectants & chemical sterilizing agents

Black Dustbin Used For in Hospital

In a hospital setting, a black dustbin is typically used for the disposal of non-hazardous waste. This includes general waste that does not pose a risk of infection or harm to humans, such as paper towels, food wrappers, and other non-recyclable materials that are not contaminated with bodily fluids or chemicals.

What is RCRA Hazardous Waste?

In the United States, the treatment, storage, and disposal of hazardous waste is regulated by the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), which was passed in 1976 — thus, the term, “RCRA Hazardous Waste.” This public law created the framework for proper waste management and under it, The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets standards for  proper disposal of pharmaceutical hazardous waste through the RCRA program.

RCRA defines hazardous waste by dividing it into two main categories: Characteristic Wastes and Listed Wastes.

Characteristic Wastes

  • Flammable
  • Corrosive
  • Toxic
  • Highly reactive

>This D-list waste covers products that are not strictly pharmaceutical, but exhibit the hazardous properties listed above. It is your responsibility to determine whether a substance meets D-list criteria; however, most manufacturers provide product information that clearly denotes such qualities.

Listed Wastes

Listed wastes are generated from common manufacturing and industrial processes, and special industries. They can also be generated from discarded commercial products. The P and U lists pertain to hazardous waste pharmaceuticals, which also include commercial chemical products.

For a waste to be considered a P- or U-listed waste it must meet the following three criteria:

  • The waste must contain one of the chemicals listed on the P or U list;
  • The chemical in the waste must be unused; and
  • The chemical in the waste must be in the form of a commercial chemical product.

The P-list identifies acute hazardous wastes from discarded commercial chemical products and cover a range of pharmaceuticals. The U-list identifies hazardous wastes from discarded commercial chemical products and contains 21 drugs that are chiefly listed because of their toxicity.

Consult Your Waste Services Provider: Black Bag Waste in Hospitals

Your medical waste services provider should be able to offer you a consultation, if needed, based on your practice’s needs and help you develop a checklist. They can then suggest the appropriate number of black containers and a pickup schedule based on your medical waste profile.

Remember that it is critical to use the correct containers, both in terms of physical strength and appearance, for medical waste that will be transported off-site. Containers must be resilient and strong enough to resist breakage during the handling process. They should be resistant to punctures, leaks, bursts, and tears.

Finally, your waste solutions partner must maintain the required permits for transporting regulated medical waste. RCRA stipulates that your medical facility is responsible for medical waste from the moment it’s generated to the moment it’s properly disposed of or destroyed. So, even if you properly segregate your waste and use the correct containers and labeling, you could still be liable for penalties and fines if your waste provider doesn’t maintain all relevant permits.

Note: Discuss container options with your waste services provider. While black containers are most commonly used, there is not a regulatory requirement for the color of the hazardous waste container. The important thing is consistency and choosing a specific color scheme that makes hazardous waste identification easy for your waste solutions partner.

Click here to DOWNLOAD our Free EBook: The Medical Waste Handling Guide. A handy reference of best practices to help you stay in compliance with current regulations.


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