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How does one dispose of medical waste?
January 2, 2007 7:37 PM   Subscribe

How can you get rid of medical waste in Toronto?

I have a container filled with medical waste in my house, left over from when a family member was sick. It is in a sealed red container that has one of those biohazard stickers on it. From what I can see though the clear plastic top, it seems to be filled with some needles, a few morphine cartridges, and a lot of plastic tubing and gloves.

Since medical waste is prohibited from being thrown away or taken to the dump by the city of Toronto, (and it is, according to the language used here, right?) how does one get rid of something like this? (Also, why do I have this in my house? Should the nurse who was here have taken it with her?)
posted by Drunken_munky to Grab Bag (7 answers total)
 
Put all used syringes and needles in a tightly sealed and labelled container and take them to a Household Hazardous Waste depot (phone before you go). Call the HHW Hotline for more information at 416-392-4330. source
posted by furtive at 7:46 PM on January 2, 2007


Yeah, I read that too. But, "biomedical waste" is also listed as an unacceptable type of trash. Does that include what I have? There are some other things inside the container, but I can't see them. In any case, I'll definitely call the city tomorrow to ask about it.
posted by Drunken_munky at 8:03 PM on January 2, 2007


You might also try calling local pharmacies, some have sharps disposal programs that will accept medical waste. The Canadian Diabetes site mentions that in Toronto the Shoppers Drug Mart pharmacy chain has a syringe disposal program.
posted by RichardP at 8:08 PM on January 2, 2007


Getting rid of sharps shouldn't be a problem, as Richard P says. Shoppers' Drug Mart will take care of needles. But are the syringes mixed with other waste? If so, that is a bit of a problem.

I think the best thing to do is contact the hospital where your relative was cared for. They all have biohazard waste disposal and should be able to help you. I work for a hospital, and while I can't tell you where to drop biowaste, each hospital does have a designated dumpster. Ours are out in the open.

As a Torontonian, I appreciate your responsibility. Most people would just chuck medical waste in a bin, or in the Don River. You are doing the right thing. Thanks.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 8:18 PM on January 2, 2007


If there are needles inside, the waste needs to be treated not only as biomedical waste (which it is), but also as "sharps." Thanks so much for not just tossing these in the trash; stabbing yourself with a dirty needle is the worst day in any waste-disposal worker's year.

Call the nurse or the agency she worked from; they should pick up the waste they generated. Alternatively just go to a local hospital and ask a nurse or a janitor to help you; hospitals are quite familiar with the need to dispose of large quantities of sharps and have means in place to take care of this safely.
posted by ikkyu2 at 9:33 PM on January 2, 2007


i would just take it to a hospital and ask nicely. agreed that you totally rock for not just tossing it in the trash- thanks for taking care of the trash-handlers and dumpster divers of the world!
posted by twistofrhyme at 4:17 PM on January 3, 2007


Thank for the advice guys! Somebody at the hospital was able to take it. Man, I'm certainly glad to be rid of that thing.
posted by Drunken_munky at 8:01 PM on January 4, 2007


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