Author: Maine Labpack

6 Types of Regulated Medical Waste

Regulated medical waste is a term applied to any category of biomedical waste contaminated by blood or bodily fluids, or any type of healthcare waste that contains any infectious or potentially infectious materials derived from a person or an animal. Such waste is generated during diagnosis, treatment, or immunization of humans or animals. It can also result from research activities pertaining to biological substances. 

The majority of regulated medical wastes are typically generated in hospitals, urgent care facilities, nursing homes, and research laboratories, but also in primary care settings, and in physician, dental and veterinarian offices. Because biomedical waste can pose such serious health risks to humans and the environment, by law, it must be properly managed and disposed of. 

Federal Agencies That Regulate Medical Waste

The majority of laws that regulate medical waste are not covered by federal environmental laws or US EPA regulations, except for medical waste that also meets the definition of hazardous waste. Instead, the regulation of biomedical waste, principally, falls under state jurisdiction. State health and/or environmental agencies or departments regulate medical waste in conjunction with a handful of federal agencies that manage certain aspects of regulated medical waste. 

These federal agencies include OSHA (Occupational Safety & Health Administration), which administers bloodborne pathogen standards to protect the health and safety of employees. The DOT (Department of Transportation) has specific packaging requirements that regulate the transportation of medical waste. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) recommends that health care facilities and labs must use FDA-approved sharps disposal containers for used needles and other medically classified sharps. The FDA recommendations follow CDC (Centers for Disease Control) guidelines on how to treat or decontaminate medical wastes for safe handling.  

In Maine, the legislature directed the state’s Board of Environmental Protection (BEP) to adopt rules to regulate the handling and disposal of biomedical waste. Maine’s BEP is an independent decision-making authority that is part of the Department of Environmental Protection. The rules issued by the BEP not only identifies what biomedical waste is subject to regulation, but establishes the proper packaging, labeling, handling, storage, transportation and treatment requirements for it. 

BEP rules define biomedical waste as those wastes that “… may contain human pathogens of sufficient virulence and in sufficient concentrations that exposure to it …” could affect the public health, its safety and welfare, and that of the environment. The rules further identify six categories of biomedical waste and one category of cytotoxic substances as wastes subject to regulation. The categories of biomedical waste subject to regulation are:

1. Human Blood and Body Fluids

This category of biomedical waste includes discarded human blood, serum, plasma, and any blood products. It also includes discarded body fluids resulting from surgery, obstetrics, emergency care, autopsies, or embalming, including cerebrospinal fluid, synovial fluid, pleural fluid, and also peritoneal fluid, pericardial fluid and amniotic fluid.

Blood or bodily fluid saturated material would include discarded items that are used to perform surgeries, obstetrical procedures, medical treatment, autopsies and so forth that are soaked or dripping with human blood, blood products or body fluids. Surgical gloves and masks, sponges, aprons, dressings, drapes, disposable sheets and towels, underpads, suction canisters, and plastic tubing, used syringes without needles, and dialysis unit wastes are prime examples that fall under this category.

2. Pathological and Anatomical Waste 

Human tissues, organs, and anatomical (body) parts including teeth which are discarded from surgeries, autopsies, obstetrical and laboratory procedures are subject to regulation. Pathological wastes are typically small tissue sections derived from biopsies or surgical procedures for examination in a laboratory to understand the nature of a disease or affliction. Anatomical wastes are human tissues, organs, or body parts that are removed during surgery, autopsy, or other medical procedures, and are intended for disposal.

3. Sharps

Medical sharps are those items such as hypodermic needles, syringes, scalpel blades, suture needles, disposable razors, lancets, capillary tubes, Pasteur pipettes, broken glassware, needles attached to IV tubing and dialysis bags, and any other objects capable of causing punctures or cuts, that have been used in patient, animal, and cadaver care, or in medical and biomedical research laboratories. 

4. Cultures and Stocks of Infectious Agents

This category includes cultures and stocks of infectious agents that need to be discarded, as well as the culture dishes and devices used to transfer, inoculate and mix the infectious agents. Also, clinical specimens and the associated containers or vials that are ready to be discarded, along with the discarded biologicals and the waste generated from the production of biologicals and recombinant DNA research.

5. Animal Research Byproducts

Any type of biomedical waste generated in animal research facilities that contains organisms or agents not usual to that animal’s normal environment and which are hazardous or pathogenic to humans are considered a regulated medical waste subject to proper management and disposal. This could include carcasses, body parts, bedding or other waste generated by research.

6. Cytotoxic Substances

Wastes from cytotoxic (antineoplastic) drugs that are not identified as hazardous wastes in Chapter 850 per the Department of Environmental Protection regulations, and chemotherapy waste materials that have trace amounts of cytotoxic agents, are to be managed and disposed of as biomedical waste. 

Proper disposal of biomedical waste is crucial to prevent health risks to humans and to protect the environment. Maine Labpack offers comprehensive, no-contract biomedical waste disposal services for businesses, facilities and generators of all varieties. We can help ensure your facility is in compliance with regulations and that your personnel, patients, staff and visitors are safe from biomedical hazards of any kind. To learn more about Maine Labpack’s biomedical waste services, please contact us today

e-Waste Management Techniques: How to Reduce e-Waste as a Generator

Learning how to reduce e-waste streams might be one of the biggest challenges of the digital age. The introduction of e-waste management techniques by principal generators—the companies, industries, and organizations who are the bulk consumers of electronic and electrical equipment—is an important step in efforts to reduce e-waste streams. Bulk generators of e-waste should invest in management techniques that incorporate the entire life cycle of the electronic products they use. Such techniques can be cost-effective, but also slow the growth and impact of e-waste, along with the potential environmental risks that accompany it.   

What Is e-Waste?

The term e-waste, short for electronic waste, refers to discarded or obsolete electrical and electronic devices and components. This would include numerous consumer goods, and a substantial amount of IT and office equipment like computers, laptops, servers, CPUs, smartphones, tablets, televisions, printers, hard drives, fans, microwaves, DVD players, lamps, gaming consoles, and on and on. E-waste can also include the components and peripherals associated with these devices and equipment—keyboards,  motherboards, circuit boards, batteries, surge protectors, and a myriad array of cables and wiring. Essentially, anything that contains electronic components or runs on electricity will eventually fall under the category of e-waste.

Growing Concerns of e-Waste

As a waste stream, the amount of e-waste generated annually has reached revised estimates of a staggering 63 million tons. On a practical level, the need to manage this waste stream has never been greater. However, because of the dangerous or hazardous materials that many electronic devices contain, managing and properly disposing of e-waste is also the law. 

It’s not simply that many electronic devices contain harmful elements like lead, cadmium, beryllium oxide, chromium, or mercury and harmful compounds such as chlorofluorocarbons, brominated flame retardants, or polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)—they do. As landfills are the most commonly used method of disposing of e-waste, there is a real danger from accumulation of these elements and chemicals leaching into soil and water tables. Another common method of disposal, incineration, can release harmful gases and toxic fumes, with ashes containing harmful compounds like lead. If e-waste is managed and disposed properly, these toxins cannot leach into the environment nor pose risks to human health and ecosystems. 

Growing concerns for an increase in e-waste can be attributed in large part to how electronics are consumed. With ongoing advances in technology, electronic devices become outdated and replaced by newer models relatively quickly, leading to the disposal of still fully functional devices. Continuous upgrades of electronic devices combined with marketing strategies designed to compel consumers to buy newer versions of products contribute to increased e-waste. On the other hand, many electronic products simply have limited lifespans. Made with cheaper parts and components, the cost to replace a device is often on par with repairing it, making it more practical to simply buy a new one. 

e-Waste Management Techniques

Consider a Product’s Complete Life Cycle

One important management technique that bulk generators of e-waste could institute would be to consider the entire life cycle of an electronic product and their place in it. The role a company plays from the time the electronic device is acquired to the time it is discarded is, obviously, substantial. One way companies can contribute to reducing e-waste is by participating in a closed-loop supply chain that incorporates plans for the various stages of a product’s service life. This management technique increases sustainability by preparing for the reuse, repair, reclamation and recycling of the product. The technique serves as an integral component in the end-to-end management process vital to any circular economy model. In regard to electronic and electrical equipment, the idea is, by enabling recovery and reuse for end-of-life products, those products can be kept in service longer and, in doing so, will lessen the impact on the e-waste stream.  

Reuse Functioning Devices

When considering a product’s entire life cycle then, an important first step to reduce e-waste would be to reuse the electronic devices and equipment that still function. These products can be donated or resold instead of thrown out. Another aspect of this end-to-end process is incorporating or utilizing repair services. Generators should look to repair malfunctioning devices and equipment first before recycling. Repairing the devices not only slows the demand for material, but reduces e-waste as well. 

Donate to “Give Back” Programs

Another management technique to reduce e-waste is for your company or organization to participate, when applicable, in “Give Back” programs to the companies from where the electronic products were purchased. Many companies accept old electronic products to recycle, modify, donate, or resell at lower prices. 


Finally, proper recycling of dated electronic and electrical equipment is an important e-waste management technique that every business must observe. As e-waste is composed of dangerous or hazardous materials, generators are required by law to properly manage and dispose of the old equipment when its service life ends. 

Contact the e-Waste Disposal Experts at Maine Labpack, Inc.

Maine Labpack assists its customers with managing and recycling their e-waste to provide a more sustainable practice for their companies. We serve a wide variety of industries and organizations, from telecom, OEMs, and microelectronic companies, to healthcare, educational institutions, research facilities, and government agencies. Whether the equipment is no longer in use or has become outdated, we can assist you with its proper disposal. We will ensure that your e-waste is transported to a destination facility where the electronics are categorized and taken apart either for the scrap to be collected and reused in manufacturing electronics and other equipment or to be shredded appropriately. 

For more information on how we can help you effectively reduce your e-waste stream, contact the experts at Maine Labpack today.

What is the Procedure for Microbiological Waste Disposal?

Adhering to and following microbiological waste disposal procedures is crucial to public health. Proper disposal of microbiological waste is essential to prevent the spread of disease and infectious outbreaks. The extreme risk the waste poses to human health and the environment is, in every sense of the word, very real. Improperly disposing of or mishandling microbiological waste can lead to catastrophic consequences—look no further than the COVID pandemic as to what can happen.

What is Microbiological Waste?

Microbiological waste, or biohazardous or biomedical waste, is those waste materials contaminated or exposed to potentially infectious microorganisms, such as viruses, bacteria, parasites, or fungi. Such waste is typically generated in healthcare and laboratory settings, research facilities, veterinary hospitals, and clinics during normal operations and procedures. Proper disposal procedures for microbiological waste protect against exposure to potentially hazardous and dangerous contaminants by the physicians, nurses, scientists, and personnel who work in facilities, along with the patients and visitors there and all service staff who handle the infectious material downstream. 

How is Microbiological Waste Generated?

Microbiological wastes are generated in a variety of ways. Via cultures and specimens, for example, from Petri dishes, test tubes, vials, and other containers used to grow and transport microorganisms for diagnostic or research purposes. Sharps—needles, scalpels, objects used in medical procedures or laboratory work, and equipment like pipettes, centrifuge tubes, and glassware used in microbiological experiments or procedures.

Other examples of microbiological wastes can derive from contaminated human or animal tissues, body fluids, and pathological waste. Disposable materials like bandages, swabs, and dressings that have been in contact with infectious materials, as well as all the personal protective equipment (PPE)–the used gloves, gowns, masks, and other protective gear worn by hospital, clinical, and laboratory personnel. 

Procedures for Microbiological Waste Disposal

Typically, microbiological waste is collected in specially labeled and color-coded containers, subject to strict regulations and guidelines for safe handling, transportation, and disposal. Though federal oversight and regulation is limited—the EPA primarily defers regulation to state environmental and health departments—the US Department of Transportation does specify packaging. It regulates transportation, and OSHA has established standards for handling and disposing bloodborne pathogens and diseases to protect employee health and safety.  

For example, researchers of microbiological waste in Maine, in healthcare, research, and clinical facilities, are required to register as generators with the state’s Department of Environmental Protection. The DEP has packaging, labeling, handling, storage, transportation, disposal, and treatment requirements that must be adhered to by generators.  Transporters of microbiological waste and owners of disposal and treatment facilities must be licensed. The disposal of untreated microbiological waste in Maine is against the law. Failure to comply can result in heavy fines and, if violations are intentional, the possibility of imprisonment.

General procedures for microbiological waste disposal begin with keeping it segregated from regular waste at the source. Use dedicated containers clearly labeled with the appropriate biohazard symbol to indicate and identify the microbiological waste. These containers should be leak-proof and have a tight-fitting lid or seal. Some waste can be subjected to sterilization through autoclaving or incineration. Other wastes will need to be transported. A licensed provider must transport microbiological waste from a facility to an off-site disposal and treatment center. All waste must be in properly labeled, leak-proof containers with detailed documentation. 

Contact Maine Labpack for Hazardous Waste Disposal Solutions

Specific procedures for microbiological waste disposal can vary depending on the type of waste, the level of risk associated with the microorganisms, and regulations. To ensure compliance, Maine Labpack works with generators of microbiological waste to safely remove and dispose of these harmful materials from facilities. We are a licensed, reputable microbiological waste removal service company that offers comprehensive, no-contract microbiological waste disposal for healthcare, research, and clinical facilities throughout the state. We offer various services to dispose of microbiological waste, including onsite consultation, removal, and supply with containers for future pickups. For more information, contact Maine Labpack today.

How Your Facility’s Generator Status Impacts Hazardous Waste Collection Requirements

A facility’s generator status significantly determines its hazardous waste collection requirements under federal laws established by the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). Following suit, many states, including Maine, authorized its own RCRA program to ensure the proper management of hazardous waste.  

On a federal level, the EPA regulates the management and disposal of hazardous waste and sets requirements for generators and generator status. A generator is any company, institution or individual that produces hazardous waste as a matter of business or causes a waste to become hazardous and subject to regulation. The generator status is determined based on the quantity of hazardous waste generated per site by a company within a specified time frame. As importantly, all generators of hazardous waste are responsible for accurately determining their generator status to ensure regulatory compliance. The EPA established three main generator categories to comply with:

Very Small Quantity Generator (VSQG)

These entities generate 220 pounds (100 kilograms) or less of hazardous waste per month. VSQGs are sometimes referred to as “conditionally exempt small quantity generators.”

Small Quantity Generator (SQG)

SQGs generate more than 220 pounds (100 kilograms) but less than 2,200 pounds (1,000 kilograms) of hazardous waste per month. An SQG category is subject to fewer regulatory requirements than Large Quantity Generators.

Large Quantity Generator (LQG)

As the category suggests, LQGs generate 2,200 pounds (1,000 kilograms) or more of hazardous waste per month. Due to large quantities, this category is subject to the most stringent regulatory requirements under RCRA.

In contrast to the three main categories of generator status established by the EPA, Maine’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) categorizes its quantity generator statuses as SQG, SQG Plus, and LQG. Maine’s SQG status is nearly equal to the federal level VSQG, with SQG Plus equal to the federal SQG. The state and federal LQG status requirements are nearly similar. To read the specific status requirements for Maine, refer to the DEP’s Handbook for Hazardous Waste Generators.

Hazardous Waste Collection Requirements by Generator Status

Under federal or state law, how a company’s generator status impacts its hazardous waste collection requirements is determined by the quantity it generates within a given period of time. VSQGs (or state equivalent) have the least regulatory burden. They are generally not required to obtain an EPA Identification Number, which is needed for hazardous waste transport and disposal. Instead, they can use a licensed waste collection service or an authorized consolidation point to manage their hazardous waste. 

SQGs (or state equivalent) must follow specific storage, labeling, and recordkeeping requirements for hazardous waste on-site. They have limitations on accumulating hazardous waste stored on-site and must properly manage and dispose of waste within the regulatory time frame. SQGs must obtain an EPA Identification Number (and/or state number) and use this number on all hazardous waste manifests.

Due to the large quantities of hazardous waste generated, LQGs have the most stringent requirements. They must obtain an EPA Identification Number and follow comprehensive regulations for managing hazardous waste, including labeling, storage, reporting, and recordkeeping. They are subject to more frequent inspections and must have contingency plans and emergency response procedures. All LQGs must use a licensed hazardous waste transporter and complete hazardous waste manifests for all waste shipments.

Contact the Experts at Maine Labpack

A company’s generator status directly impacts its hazardous waste collection requirements, with more stringent regulations applying to larger generators. Specific generator status is determined not at the company level but at the facility level. In other words, hazardous waste generator status is related to a particular place and the amount of hazardous waste generated there. The EPA recognizes that a single company may have multiple locations and that only some may generate hazardous waste. 

The total volume of hazardous waste generated in a calendar month determines the hazardous waste generator status and what regulations apply to that generator.  Any facility that generates hazardous waste is responsible for it from when it is generated until it is properly disposed of. If you are unsure of your hazardous waste generator status or have questions on hazardous waste, contact the professionals at Maine Labpack. We are a licensed provider and offer comprehensive hazardous waste collection services to ensure our customers comply with regulatory obligations on the state and federal levels. 

A Guide to Cannabis Waste Management in Maine

Cannabis waste management in Maine is governed by the state’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), following established Solid Waste Management Rules for proper disposal. Cannabis waste is all material byproducts resulting from cannabis cultivation and production activities that are not marketed for medical use or adult use. 

Maine’s DEP rules regulate waste generated by licensed cannabis cultivation facilities, product manufacturing facilities, testing facilities, sample collectors, and stores where the waste from cannabis and cannabis components is generated. Examples of cannabis waste include any growing materials used in cultivation, excess cannabis chaff in production, i.e., the trimmings, stems, and stocks, unused or expired cannabis products like edibles, and unused cannabis paraphernalia such as packaging, vape pens, or containers. 

Though cannabis is an organic product, cannabis cultivation, and production activities can generate wastes that may be nonhazardous or hazardous. If cannabis waste is hazardous, it must be disposed of differently in compliance with federal, state, and local regulations. Whether hazardous or not, businesses must make these items unusable and unrecognizable before disposal. Therefore, how cannabis waste is disposed of depends on the way the waste is produced or generated. 

Non-Hazardous Cannabis Waste Disposal

For disposal of nonhazardous cannabis waste, all cannabis licensees in the State of Maine are encouraged to practice sustainable Best Management Practices (BMP) in such ways as to dispose of waste through composting. Composting can be done at the facility in which the cannabis cultivation is located, or it can be taken to an agricultural composting operation site. On-farm composting or off-farm composting of cannabis waste is encouraged as long as the process follows regulatory guidelines and the waste does not contain any solvents or chemical extraction agents used in producing cannabis products. 

Composting operations must meet regulatory-based exemptions, and the waste must be rendered unusable, meaning that the non-salable marijuana trimmings and plant matter must be ground and mixed at a 50:50 ratio with other organic waste materials such as those from other cultivated agricultural byproducts or manure. The content of the plant’s psychoactive compound THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) must also be adequately degraded to 0.3% or less to allow unregulated use of the final compost product. By adhering to regulations, composted cannabis waste material can be returned to the soil as fertilizer and, as it is considered agricultural waste, is exempt from further regulation by the DEP.  

Organic cannabis wastes may also be composted off-farm as a Type 1A Residual, a classification of wastes from a known source that does not contain hazardous substances. The waste must be transported to the composting facility by a state-authorized entity such as licensed companies, individuals, or law enforcement officials. Facilities offering off-farm composting may only accept 10 cubic yards or less of cannabis waste in any 30-day consecutive period or obtain a DEP compost facility license. 

Finally, organic cannabis waste may be disposed of at DEP-licensed municipal solid waste landfills or incinerators. Cannabis waste can also be processed at aerobic digestion facilities licensed to accept such materials from municipal solid waste streams. 

Hazardous Cannabis Waste Disposal

Though cannabis plants and trimmings are not considered hazardous, certain production processes can produce hazardous waste. Some extraction processes of THC and CBD (cannabidiol) oils utilize flammable, toxic, or other dangerous solvent materials. 

Of particular concern is ethanol, propane, butane, and methane. These solvents are typically used as chemical extraction agents and can render the resulting cannabis waste hazardous in solid or liquid form. For example, butane honey oil solutions used to draw resin from cannabis buds is a highly flammable, hazardous material with a low flash point. The extraction waste must be properly disposed of as a hazardous material.

Cannabis testing labs and grow rooms typically generate hazardous waste while conducting or performing routine material analyses. Hazardous waste can also be generated during secondary distillation processes used to extract cannabinoid compounds from the plant. Any cannabis waste containing chemical extraction agents is considered hazardous waste, subject to Maine’s DEP Hazardous Waste Management Rules regulations, and must be disposed of properly.

Proper disposal of cannabis waste, whether hazardous or nonhazardous, is the responsibility of all licensed cannabis parties involved in the cultivation, production, testing, and selling of cannabis products. Farmers, manufacturers, scientists, and merchants must comply with state laws.

Contact the Experts at Maine Labpack

All hazardous and nonhazardous cannabis waste must be disposed of properly according to Maine State cannabis waste regulations. If you are a cannabis generator with waste disposable needs, Maine Labpack provides cannabis waste management and dispensary recycling services per regulations under the DEP’s Solid Waste Management Rules. We offer generators comprehensive waste analysis and disposal for hazardous and nonhazardous cannabis waste. Contact Maine Labpack today for more information or to discuss your cannabis waste disposal needs and requirements.  

Biological Waste Disposal Guidelines: What You Need to Know

Biological waste disposal guidelines refer to the procedures that biological waste generators must follow to dispose of contaminated materials safely. Any waste materials from biological sources, that is, living organisms, including humans, animals, and plants, or their byproducts from medical and biological research and activities, must be safely handled, contained, transported, and disposed of properly following specified procedures. These wastes may hold infectious, hazardous, or radioactive properties that have the potential to pose serious health and environmental risks to populations and the environment. 

Understanding Biological Waste Disposal Guidelines

Biological waste disposal guidelines are crucial to prevent the spread of infectious diseases, protect public health, protect the environment, and minimize the risks of regulatory liability to the companies, businesses, labs, hospitals, medical research facilities, and institutions from where they are generated. The guidelines are also in place to protect and instruct employees, related personnel, and disposal service providers on properly handling, storing, and transporting the waste material for disposal.

Types of Biological Waste

Types of biological waste, also known as bio-waste or biomedical waste, are rather lengthy and include the obvious, such as various kinds of human waste like blood, saliva, tissue samples, urine, and feces generated from various healthcare facilities for testing, diagnosing, and treating patients with diseases. This would also include the sharps and other instruments used for drawing and handling human waste—syringes, needles, scalpels, tissue culture flasks, etc. Another type of common bio-waste that can pose health risks due to the potential presence of pathogens is that produced by animals at veterinary clinics or research laboratories where animals are treated, studied, or housed.

Less common examples of biological waste are those generated during research, testing, or production in laboratories—the cultures, stocks, and specimens of infectious agents and items like Petri dishes and pipettes contaminated with biological materials; unused or expired biological products like expired vaccines or discarded human or animal tissues; pathological waste containing human or animal body parts, tissues, or organs removed during surgery, autopsy, or other medical procedures; radioactive wastes from cancer therapies, nuclear medicine treatments, and pathological wastes contaminated with radioactive isotopes; and biotechnology waste generated from biotechnological research and applications that may contain bio-hazardous genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and other materials.

Biological Waste Regulations

Federal, state, and local agencies and authorities administer and enforce biological waste regulations. For example, though the EPA does not administer any biomedical waste management rules, the US DOT (Department of Transportation), OHSA (Occupational Health and Safety Administration), and the CDC (Center for Disease Control) all have issued rules and regulations that define and specify proper handling, packaging, and transportation of biomedical waste for disposal. Additionally, states have rules and regulations that must be followed. In Maine, the state Board of Environmental Protection regulates the handling and disposal of biomedical waste.

Due to the potential hazards associated with biological waste, their proper management, treatment, and disposal are vital to minimize risks to human health and the environment. Though biological waste disposal guidelines may vary depending on the type of biological waste generated and regulatory agency, be it national, state, or local, guidelines ensure that generators follow specific regulations. Failure to follow guidelines or attempts to work around them is dangerous. It can result in heavy fines far exceeding the annual costs of properly managing and disposing of biological waste. By following established guidelines, bio-waste can be disposed of easily, efficiently, and legally. 

Disposal of Biological Waste

General procedures for proper disposal of biological waste would typically cover aspects such as segregation, packaging, handling, treatment, transportation, and final disposal methods to prevent the spread of infections and protect the well-being of waste handlers, healthcare workers, and the general public.


Segregation ensures the separation of biological waste from other types of waste at the point of generation. It should be placed in dedicated containers clearly labeled biological waste to prevent cross-contamination. Containers should be labeled with the properly-recognized biohazard symbol to identify potentially hazardous materials. In particular, sharps—needles, syringes, lancets, scalpels and so forth—should be placed in clearly labeled, easily accessible, puncture-resistant containers to be collected for proper disposal. 


Handlers of bio-waste should receive adequate training on proper waste disposal procedures, safety measures, and the correct use of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment). Personnel should use appropriate gloves, lab coats, masks, goggles, etc., when handling biological waste to protect themselves and others from potential pathogens. Surfaces and equipment that come into contact with biological waste should be disinfected and decontaminated to prevent the spread of infectious agents and to maintain a safe working environment. 


Some bio-waste materials can be treated via autoclaving—steam sterilization that effectively kills bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms before disposal—or through chemical disinfection. Regarding the latter, liquid bio-waste can be either bleached or autoclaved to deactivate and neutralize the hazardous properties for proper disposal. Another treatment method is incineration, which can be used to dispose of certain biological waste, such as pathological waste and contaminated animal carcasses. 

Lastly, transportation and final disposal of biological wastes are subject to regulations by several federal, state, and local agencies. Generators are legally responsible for correctly packaging and labeling biological waste materials and, with the necessary documentation, for transporting the material. All containers must be properly sealed and labeled for transportation. Labeling requirements must be adhered to when transporting hazardous material. Appropriate labels, placards, and stickers should be placed where they can be easily read on the various types of containers. 

Contact the Hazardous Waste Experts at Maine Labpack

Maine Labpack is a leading biological waste management company in New England. Our experienced team is certified in the unique biomedical waste disposal requirements, and we work with hospitals and healthcare offices to safely and legally remove and dispose of sharps used at their facilities. Ensure that your facility safely removes and disposes of biomedical waste like sharps. To learn more about our biomedical waste services or discuss how we can help you safely dispose of your sharps, don’t hesitate to contact us today

Safe Disposal of Sharp in Hospitals: How a Waste Management Company Can Help

Safe disposal of sharps in hospitals prevents the risk for accidental and painful jabs or lacerations from used needles or blades that could lead to infection, tetanus and transmission of diseases. Safely disposing of sharps is not only responsible in terms of protecting human health but, as used sharps are considered biomedical waste, their proper disposal is mandated by law. Steps from the initial usage of a sharp to its ultimate disposal are regulated. Hospitals benefit by partnering with licensed waste management companies for their expertise and services in effectively managing the safe transfer and treatment of all their biomedical waste.

What is Classified as Biomedical Waste?

Biomedical waste is that waste generated in healthcare or research facilities during the diagnosis, treatment, study, and/or immunization of people or animals. Because it can pose a serious threat to public health, safety, and the environment, proper management and disposal of biomedical waste is subject to regulations. In Maine, medical waste is classified as biomedical waste and disposing of untreated biomedical waste is prohibited by law. The handling, management, disposal and treatment of biomedical waste is subject to state law regulated by the State’s Board of Environmental Protection under the Department of Environmental Protection. 

Hospitals must register as biomedical waste generators and must follow certain criteria for safely handling, packaging, labeling, and storing biomedical waste, but also make arrangements for its safe removal, transportation and treatment. All biomedical waste transporters and owners or operators of transfer facilities and treatment facilities must be licensed by the state. 

What Are Sharps Exactly?

As medical instruments or tools that can penetrate, puncture or cut human skin, sharps fall under the category of biomedical waste due to their contamination by bodily fluids and human blood after use. Sharps are used routinely in healthcare facilities to administer a vaccine, draw blood, or insert an IV.  Hypodermic needles and syringes may first come to mind as more common examples of what medical sharps are, but the list also includes scalpel blades, razor blades, lancets, IV catheters, autoinjectors, cannulas, Pasteur pipettes, medical wiring, capillary tubes, and glass from test tubes, slides and slide covers—all fall under the category of medical sharps. In other words, any medical device used that can easily penetrate the skin can also puncture waste bags and cardboard boxes and leave people susceptible to a hazard that can cause injury and lead to infection or transmit disease. 

As hospitals are one of the leading generators of sharps, for the safety of everyone, but especially for those who handle or are in the presence of biomedical waste—healthcare workers and janitorial staff—as well as patients—proper sharp disposal is essential. Sharp waste disposal in hospitals is organized around a set of rules and procedures to ensure they are managed safely. 

How Sharps Are Properly Disposed Of

Proper disposal of sharps begins with a proper receptacle. After use, sharps should be placed in special, designated containers clearly labeled as biohazardous to ensure they are properly handled. FDA (Federal Drug Administration) approved containers are recommended. Made of either hard plastic or heavy corrugated cardboard, the receptacles are designed to prevent leaks, punctures, and overfilling that sharp objects like needles and scalpels can cause. The containers should be positioned as close as possible to the point of use and located at a height for easy access by staff. Once a sharps container is full, hospitals should contact their medical waste management provider for the removal of the container, or its contents if the container is reusable, and all biomedical waste to be transported and disposed of properly at a treatment facility. 

Maine Labpack is a leading medical waste management provider serving hospitals and healthcare facilities statewide. Our experts are certified in the disposal regulations and requirements for biomedical waste. We work with hospitals to safely and legally remove and dispose of sharps used at their facilities. Maine Labpack offers hospitals a comprehensive, no-contract biomedical waste disposal service. Our experts arrive at your hospital, remove the pre-packaged sharps waste containers, and supply you with new ones for future pickups. Partnering with Maine Labpack ensures that hospitals are in compliance with the safe removal and disposal of biomedical waste like sharps. To learn more about all of our biomedical waste services or discuss how we can help you safely dispose of your sharps, please contact us today

The Importance of Scheduling Regular Hazardous Waste Audits

If you are a hazardous waste generator, scheduling an in-house hazardous waste audit regularly will help you be prepared for inspections conducted by federal, state, or local authorities at any time. More importantly, by regularly scheduling audits, companies, facilities, and organizations can rest assured that they comply with regulations as mandated by law. 

Properly managing hazardous waste is not only an important safety issue for employees, the environment, and the public in general but generators will be held accountable by regulatory agencies for any violations. Facilities are required to have a written plan and schedule for inspection. They must also have monitoring requirements for containers to meet specific inspection requirements. Regular hazardous waste audits are beneficial to ensure compliance, maintain employee safety, and reduce the potential for fines.

What is a Hazardous Waste Audit?

A hazardous waste audit is an official review, inspection, and examination of a hazardous waste generator’s facilities, equipment, storage areas, documents, permits, records, and all other aspects related to the creation, management, storage, and disposal of a company’s hazardous waste. In an official capacity by an agency such as the EPA or state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), audits assess performance against certain criteria, with results used to assure that company operations are within expected norms. 

To be effective, hazardous waste audits are systematic and comprehensive. Compliance verification is an essential component of enforcement and is carried out through inspections by regulatory authorities. Officials or authorized representatives have authority under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) to routinely monitor hazardous waste generator facilities and conduct inspections to determine compliance status. 

Inspections consist of on-site visits to facilities, or locations such as landfills, by an inspector or a team of inspectors to gather the necessary information to determine compliance. Inspections can be lengthy, sometimes weeks long. They can include pre-inspection activities before entering a facility or site and on-site compliance evaluation inspections (CEI) that will likely include a review of reports, documents, and permits, staff interviews, types of wastes generated and managed on-site, how they’re stored or disposed of, observing facility operations, and taking photographs and videos. Compliance sampling inspections may also be conducted for laboratory analysis, and a comprehensive groundwater monitoring evaluation (CME) may also be conducted to ensure the design and operation of a facility’s groundwater monitoring system is adequate for the type of hazardous waste being generated. 

The Primary Purpose of Scheduling a Hazardous Waste Audit

Hazardous waste audits serve as a valuable tool to determine and ensure a company or facility complies with federal, state, or local regulations. Primarily, the audit should provide a basis for minimizing liability. It can also help companies recognize noncompliance areas and take corrective measures before routine site inspections by the EPA, OSHA, or other regulatory agencies. A hazardous waste audit may also prevent companies from avoiding costly fines and penalties, as well as helping to develop cost-saving measures that provide a cleaner and safer workplace. 

How to Always Be Prepared for Hazardous Waste Audits

Remember that EPA or Maine’s DEP inspections are generally unscheduled and can happen without warning. There is no time to prepare unless you are prepared. Therefore, to avoid fines, it’s important to always be in regulatory compliance. You should have a thorough hazardous waste management plan covering every possible contingency. Employees should be properly trained to follow the plan and also in handling, waste labeling, and proper containers for storage. 

The costs and risks associated with poor management of hazardous waste streams are high. Knowing what to do is sometimes easier said than done. Maine Labpack offers comprehensive, confidential hazardous waste audits, inspections, and analyses for companies and facilities to ensure they are always prepared for an unexpected hazardous waste audit. Maine Labpack’s auditing program provides unbiased guidance and solutions in hazardous materials management, disaster preparedness, accident prevention, employee training, etc., to ensure your company is always compliant. Whether your facility is large or small, Maine Labpack will help ensure your company is always prepared and complies with all state and federal regulations.

What’s the Difference Between Medical Waste vs Biohazardous Waste?

What is the difference between medical waste and biohazardous waste? These terms are often used interchangeably and, in truth, are related types of waste generated at and by healthcare facilities. Examples of such facilities would include hospitals, your local doctor’s office, neighborhood health clinics, blood banks, and dental practices. Medical research facilities, laboratories, and even veterinary clinics and hospitals are on the list. All of these facilities generate medical and biohazardous types of wastes. 

Defining the Differences in Waste Types

However, there is a distinction between medical and biohazardous waste. Though it may sometimes be confusing, biohazardous waste is a type of medical waste, whereas medical waste is not necessarily biohazardous. To add to the confusion, the basic definition of medical waste is rather broad. Clinical waste, biomedical waste, regulated medical waste, infectious waste, radioactive waste, biohazardous waste, and healthcare waste in general are classifications of medical waste. In short, medical waste is any waste generated or created during any process at any type of healthcare facility.  

What distinguishes biohazardous waste from medical wastes is its infectious or potentially infectious properties. Biohazardous wastes are composed of infectious materials or agents. Viruses, cultures, bacteria, blood, bodily fluids, spores, petri dishes, and so forth are biohazardous medical wastes. 

Medical Waste in Health Care Facilities

Of vital importance to public health and one of the most crucial functions of any health care facility is that any medical waste generated on site is properly disposed of. The consequences of mishandling and improperly disposing of medical waste can cause, at the very least, an environmental hazard and, at most, a pandemic. 

Medical waste can be generated during the course of normal operations and routine tasks at any health care facility. Proper handling and disposal is required to protect doctors, nurses, patients, visitors, hospital personnel, staff, and service staff downstream from exposure to potentially hazardous and dangerous contaminants.

Biohazardous Waste in Health Care Facilities

Common examples of biohazardous medical wastes generated at health care facilities can include any blood or contaminants from any procedure. On the list are gloves, gauze, gowns, and masks stained or soaked with blood or other bodily fluids, animal or human tissue from procedures, cultures from infectious agents and diseases, discarded vaccines, and any wastes from the rooms of infectious patients. 

Of particular importance is used sharps. The various kinds of hypodermic needles, blades, scalpels, and slides that carry the risk of potential infection and the potential for needle stick injuries to CNAs and lab assistants, housekeeping staff, janitors, and garbage collectors in trucks or staff at recycling facilities. All of these people are at risk to exposure if loose sharps break open and poke through plastic bags. Used sharps can easily transmit serious diseases from hepatitis to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). 

Waste Regulations

Suffice it to say that though there are differences between medical waste and biohazardous waste, the management of both is a priority for all healthcare facilities. Proper handling, packaging, transportation, and disposal of such waste is regulated by various federal and state agencies and departments. For example, the US Department of Transportation specifies packaging and regulates the transportation of medical waste. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration administers standards for bloodborne pathogens and diseases to protect employee health and safety. 

On the state level, Maine’s Environmental Protection Agency requires the registration of biomedical waste generators and establishes requirements for packaging, labeling, handling, storage, transportation, and treatment of biomedical waste. Transporters and owners or operators of transfer facilities and treatment facilities must be licensed. In no uncertain terms, it is against the law in Maine to dispose of untreated biomedical waste. Failure to comply with state or federal regulations can result in heavy fines and imprisonment if violations are intentional.

Contact Maine Labpack for Medical and Biohazardous Waste Disposal Solutions

To comply with the law, healthcare facilities must properly handle and dispose of the medical or biohazardous wastes generated or created at their facilities. Maine Labpack is a licensed, reputable medical and biohazardous waste removal company offering comprehensive, no-contract medical waste disposal for healthcare facilities. To ensure compliance, our medical waste experts arrive at your hospital, clinic, office, lab or facility to remove your pre-packaged waste and supply you with containers for future pickups. 

To learn more about our no-contract biomedical waste services and solutions, please contact us today

Disposing of Grow Room Waste: A Pocket Guide

Disposing of grow room waste legally is one component of the burgeoning cannabis business that few growers likely consider when entering the cannabis market. However, as with any industry, by law, proper management and disposal of waste generated by a company is a shared responsibility. For those in the cannabis industry, it is no different. 

Any waste generated onsite by a cannabis business, especially disposing of grow room waste, is subject to regulatory oversight. Every state that has legalized cannabis has enacted rules, procedures, and guidelines for properly disposing of cannabis waste. This would include the waste generated at cannabis cultivation and production facilities, retail stores, dispensaries, testing facilities, etc. 

For some, there may be a misperception about how to manage cannabis waste generated at facilities properly. In large part because cannabis waste is rightly perceived and classified as organic material. Yet, that waste is still subject to regulation and, depending on how it is processed, whether or not it is classified as either hazardous or non-hazardous. 

With an increasing number of states legalizing cannabis every election cycle, the need to develop regulations and requirements for how to dispose of cannabis waste properly became readily apparent. As each plant’s usable trim and flowers account for approximately 10% to 15% of the weight harvested, the remaining weight, the chaff, is the plant’s waste. It’s not uncommon—if not routine—for processors to generate thousands of pounds of such waste per month. Though the rules for its disposal are regularly fine-tuned, they differ slightly from state to state. 

This is true for the State of Maine, where businesses must comply with managing cannabis waste. If you’re in the cannabis business, there is no reason not to know the procedures for legally managing and disposing of grow room waste. Failure to comply can result in heavy fines or some cases, loss of license to grow altogether. 

Non-Hazardous Cannabis Waste

Though cannabis plants, their trimmings, stalks, and other plant matter are not considered hazardous material, under Maine law, any waste product that contains more than 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) must be transported for disposal by an authorized entity, such as a licensed waste management and disposal company, or personnel from a law enforcement agency like the DEA. Additionally, all plant waste must be “rendered unusable” before leaving a facility. For materials to be considered unusable they must be ground and mixed at a 50:50 ratio with another authorized organic waste material. This would include food wastes, animal manures, debris from yard waste, and the like. 

The Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)  encourages the composting of cannabis waste as long as it doesn’t contain any harmful solvents or chemical extraction agents like methane, butane or propane that could render it hazardous and unsuitable for agricultural use. Composting cannabis waste can occur on the farm where it was grown, other farms where cannabis is grown, or at designated DEP off-farm agricultural composting sites.

Other nonhazardous disposal options for cannabis waste are solid waste landfills or incinerators that have been licensed by the DEP to accept municipal solid waste. Cannabis waste can also be disposed of at aerobic digestion facilities which are licensed to receive organic materials from municipal solid waste streams.

Hazardous Cannabis Waste Considerations

Though it may be difficult to conceive that cannabis processing could produce hazardous waste, the fact remains that there are production processes that do render the waste hazardous. Some extraction methods of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) oils use solvents that often produce hazardous waste in solid or liquid form. Even secondary distillation methods used to extract cannabinoids from the plant can render the waste hazardous. 

In short, any cannabis waste that contains chemical extraction agents such as butane, methane, propane or other solvents are considered a hazardous waste that must be disposed of according to Maine’s DEP Hazardous Waste Management Rules.  

Disposing of grow room waste properly and legally is the responsibility of every cannabis farmer. Whether waste generated at a facility is hazardous or non-hazardous, waste of any kind must be disposed of following state laws and regulations. Maine Labpack offers comprehensive cannabis waste management services for cannabis waste generators and dispensary recycling services. To learn more about our hazardous disposal services, contact Maine Labpack today.