Why Medical Waste Disposal is Necessary

Medical waste

Medical waste of various compositions is generated in hospitals, medical practices, laboratories and when treating pets and farm animals. A large part of this waste is harmless and can be disposed of together with municipal waste. On the other hand, special attention must be paid to those medical wastes that are classified as hazardous waste.

Ecological assessment

Medical waste has very different properties. The following three important Hazard categories can be distinguished:

  • Risk of injury from sharp or pointed objects such as scalpels or syringes
  • Risk of contamination from waste with blood, secretions or excreta
  • Danger to the environment and health from infectious waste or active ingredients in old drugs.

Medical wastes with hazardous properties are considered Hazardous waste and belong in the separate collection.

Separate collection

Medical waste with hazardous properties is only allowed to specially set up collection points or to waste disposal companies with a permit be handed over. This guarantees that the waste is disposed of under controlled conditions in a suitable facility. The controlled disposal prevents the waste from endangering the personnel of the transport company or from entering the environment. There is also no risk of children or animals coming into contact with the material, e.g. B. in the case of rubbish bags torn open on the side of the road.

Medicines that have expired or are no longer needed from households can be delivered to pharmacies or collection points.

According to the Ordinance on the Movement of Waste (VeVA), health care facilities (hospitals, medical practices, pharmacies) and collection points must Document and prove the handover of hazardous waste with accompanying notes.

Non-hazardous waste can be disposed of with municipal waste. This includes, for example, wound and plaster casts, underwear, disposable clothing or diapers.

Animal carcasses from medical treatment that are not infected with pathogenic organisms can be handed in at regional animal carcass collection points.

Disposal / recycling

Special medical waste is incinerated under controlled conditions. In addition, plants for the incineration of municipal waste or hazardous waste or crematoria come into question. Crematoria are particularly suitable for burning body parts such as placentas or amputates. In order to reduce the risk of infection, certain hazardous medical waste must in some cases be sterilized, disinfected or inactivated beforehand.


The disposal is after Polluter pays principle financed. Private individuals can usually hand in old medicines from households to pharmacies or collection points free of charge.