Do you need biowaste management or biohazard cleanup? Call Restorerz’s trusted restoration team at (800) 575-0348.
What is biowaste? Biowaste is any biological material or organic matter that may pose a threat to the health of living creatures or organisms.
As experts in biohazard cleanup in Los Angeles, our Restorerz team is here to explain what biowaste is and precisely what you can do about it. We’ll explain rules and laws about managing and transporting regulated medical waste (RMW) and other forms of biowaste that can help guide you in safely cleaning it up.
Types of Biowaste
What is biowaste? There are many products of biological and industrial/medical life that fall under the definition of “bio waste” or “biowaste.”
We usually consider most biological agents to be harmless, although some—such as COVID-19—can cause serious risks. Bacteria, viruses, and parasites typically fall into this group, although they may fall into a more dangerous category depending on the context they’re in.
Insects, plants, bacteria, fungi like yeasts and molds, and sometimes animals produce biotoxins. Biotoxins can cause inflammation and other allergic reactions, which is why they fall under the biowaste umbrella. Think of certain species of snakes or jellyfish or insects that bear a stinger.
Environmental specimens are plants, soil, or water that may contain bioagents or biotoxins. Even if you’re not sure a water supply contains biowaste, if there is a chance, you should treat it as if it does and follow proper cleanup protocols, which we’ll cover later.
Blood and Body Fluids
This category includes blood, tissues, semen, cerebrospinal fluid, saliva, and amniotic fluid. Blood easily becomes infected and contaminated, spreading through bleeding, white or red blood cells, serum and plasma, platelets, and other blood products.
Treat any objects soaked in blood, like gowns or gauze, as biowaste and carefully handle and dispose of them—this extends to anything with the potential to release blood or blood products when compressed.
You can find microbiological waste in, and sometimes outside, medical and scientific labs: specimen cultures, disposable culture dishes, viruses, and the tools doctors and lab technicians use with those cultures for study, experimentation, and health care applications.
Animal and Pathological Waste
You can find this type of biowaste in science labs: the biodegradable waste material, bedding, and remains of animals and people, biopsy waste, and biowaste from medical procedures and autopsies.
Usually known as a lab safety issue, sharps are anything that can cut or pierce the skin, like syringes and needles, razors and other blades, and broken glass or plastic. You must take special consideration when disposing of sharps, as they can pierce the kinds of bags and boxes you would generally use for biomedical waste.
Levels of Safety
What is biowaste, and how do safety organizations and restoration professionals classify it? The Centers for Disease Control and World Health Organization have named four levels, or risk groups, for use in all measures relating to biohazards, biowaste, and dangerous bioagents.
Biohazard Level One (Risk Group One)
Level one includes bioagents and organisms unlikely to cause disease in otherwise healthy animals or people. These pathogens present a low-to-zero risk to both the individual and the community. E. coli and Bacillus subtilis are examples of level one agents.
Biohazard Level Two (Risk Group Two)
Level two pathogens are likely to cause disease, but are not severe hazards. Level two presents moderate individual risk, but low community risk. This group includes salmonella, HIV, and hepatitis B: Hard-to-transmit diseases that can nevertheless have dire consequences for the individual.
Biohazard Level Three (Risk Group Three)
Level three pathogens or agents cause severe disease and can, but usually don’t, transmit easily between individuals, with treatment or prevention possible. High individual risk presents alongside low community risk: Tuberculosis is one example of a level three pathogen.
Biohazard Level Four (Risk Group Four)
Level four pathogens can cause severe disease and are transmissible, with no preventive or treatment measures available, which presents high risk to both individuals and the community. Examples include the Ebola virus.
How to Deal with Biowaste
The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) says that any entity that generates hazardous waste is legally responsible for it. This means that if you produce any waste, you are responsible for disposing of it safely.
You should always contain, disinfect, and send biowaste to a processing facility or call a biohazard cleanup service such as Restorerz to collect and dispose of it.
The standard procedure for medical waste involves a trip to the autoclave before disposal. An autoclave is a machine that uses pressurized steam and superheated water to sanitize and sterilize.
You can disinfect some biological waste, whether by autoclave or chemicals, and put it in the regular trash. You can pour liquid biological waste down a sanitary sewer (sanitary floor sink or drain), but only after you have decontaminated it.
Blood and Bodily Fluids
You can pour blood and other fluids down a sanitary sewer drain without disinfecting it. You should still treat objects that came into contact with blood as medical waste.
If you’ve mixed biological waste with radioactive or chemical waste, regard it as radioactive or chemical waste after deactivating the bioagents by autoclave or chemicals. Submit the remaining waste for a Hazardous Materials Pickup Request.
Environmental Health and Safety provides sharps containers which you should treat with a 10% bleach mixture or use in the autoclave before you drain and seal them, then include them with other biohazard waste.
(Note: Never use the autoclave on anything containing bleach, as it may explode!)
Call Restorerz for Biowaste Cleanup
So what is biowaste, and what can you do about it? Now you know, so call Restorerz.
Once you learn why you should hire a professional biohazard cleanup service, you’ll want the best. That’s where Restorerz comes in: the most trusted and technologically advanced emergency restoration company in Southern California. Your environmental health is our most significant concern, and we’re available 24/7 to help you.
Dealing with biowaste? Call Restorerz at (800) 575-0348 for biohazard cleanup in the Los Angeles area.