Just like any other institution or organization, hospitals also produce waste. The huge difference is that this kind of waste requires special handling. You should need to be informed about the different types of waste produced in hospitals. Once you have done this, you will know how to handle them. If you are new to all this, don’t worry. We are going to break down the types of hospital (bio-medical) wastes. We are also going to look at the management process of this kind of waste.


There are many ways of looking at hospital waste. In this case, we are going to place all the different types into two main categories. These categories are:

  • Risk Waste
  • Non-Risk Waste

Risk Waste

This particular category contains five key types of hospital wastes namely:

  • Infectious Waste

This is the waste that is contaminated by viruses, bacteria, parasites, or fungi. It is called infectious because these organisms can transfer and infect someone else. In this category, you will find things like waste from infected patients. You will also find infected animals and study samples from the laboratory.

  • Pathological Waste

Pathological waste is one of the most common sub-categories of biohazard waste. It originates from surgical procedures that involve the removal of organs or tissues.

  • Radioactive Waste

This is waste that is generated from cancer therapies and nuclear medical treatments. It can also come from any other medical procedure that uses radioactive isotopes. In this category, you will also find pathological waste contaminated with radioactive material.

  • Chemical Waste

Just as the name suggests, this type of waste is from harmful chemicals. In most labs, you will find the use of and heavy metals like mercury. Waste from such procedures involving mercury is also categorized as chemical waste.

  • Sharps

This form of waste is comprised of items/devices used to puncture the skin for medical purposes.  Due to their ability to harm an individual easily, they are usually handled with a lot of care. Needles and syringes used to administer drugs or draw blood are found in this category. You will also find infusion sets, blades, knives, saws, and scalpels.

Non-Risk Waste

About 85% of waste generated in hospitals is no different than that produced in your home. Non-risk waste comprises the general waste that you would find in any other area. Here you will come across waste like papers from the billing office and cups from the cafeteria. You will also find food waste like vegetable peels and left-over foods in this category.

Medical Waste Management

Medical waste needs to be handled and disposed of properly. This is what we call medical waste management. Bio-medical waste management protects the environment and the public from any harm. It is also crucial as it protects the medical staff. This is because they are at high risk of exposure to this form of waste as an occupational hazard.

The three main steps of managing biomedical waste are:

  • Storage

This is the process involved in keeping biomedical waste safely. This is usually done before treatment or disposal. There are many containers and methods for storing medical waste. It is important to go for the ones that are easier for you to handle.

  • Treatment

This where the waste undergoes a set of processes to reduce prominent hazards. The main aim of all of this is to make the waste safe for transport and disposal. There are many ways of doing so. It boils down to your expertise and available resources.

  • Transport and Disposal

This is usually the last step of bio-medical waste. This is where medical waste is taken from your hands and moved to a designated area. It is here where disposal takes place. By disposal, we mean that this is where we get rid of the waste for good. Normally all of this is handled by a team of experts skilled in tackling such situations.


Bio-medical waste is any waste generated from a hospital that is potentially infectious. There are many types of biomedical waste. These wastes are normally divided into two main categories; risk and non-risk. No matter the category, proper management should be done. Part of management is transport and disposal.

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