Updated: Mar 14
Wastin’ Your Time? Or Saving Your Life?
“Time is of the essence,” “time is precious,” and, like Carl Smith and June Carter sang a long time ago, “Time’s A Wastin’.” And though time might be “a wastin’,” if time is something you especially value, heed this message: Red bags aren’t a waste of it. The red bags mentioned here are no ordinary bags; these red bags are the kind one might find at “health care facilities, such as hospitals, physicians' offices, dental practices, blood banks, and veterinary hospitals/clinics, as well as medical research facilities and laboratories” (EPA, 2022). Though opening a red bag of this sort would be ill-advised— in fact, do not open one… ever—if anyone were to take a hypothetical peek inside, they’d find what is popularly known as “regulated medical waste,” which is waste “that may be contaminated by blood, body fluids or other potentially infectious materials” (EPA, 2022).
How to Properly Package a Medical Waste Box
Contaminations of this sort are potentially hazardous to the environment and human health; therefore, regulated medical waste should be properly packaged, transported, treated, and disposed of to ensure the safety of everyone involved. Separating hazardous waste into red bags may seem like a “waste of time” to many, but if discarded needles and other sharps are mishandled, they “may expose waste workers to potential needle stick injuries and potential infection when containers break open inside garbage trucks or needles are mistakenly sent to recycling facilities” (EPA, 2022). The potential needle stick to your exposed hand may not seem like much at all— until the needle in question is suddenly carrying a “serious disease, such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and hepatitis” (EPA, 2022). In this analogy, you might suddenly find yourself wishing you could turn back the hands of time to properly package medical waste and ensure that needle found its way into a red bag. Time might be “a wastin’,” but it doesn’t have to be on your account. Red bags matter because you matter.
Environmental Protection Agency. (2022, May 14). Medical Waste. EPA. Retrieved November 3, 2022, from https://www.epa.gov/rcra/medical-waste
Written By: Karlie Clifton