How to Start a Medical Waste Business

by Shanika Chapman; Updated September 26, 2017
Disposable medical container

Medical waste disposal companies remove and dispose of medical waste such as needles, chemicals and contaminated supplies, which keep hospitals, dental offices, laboratories, clinics, the environment and the general public free of harmful medical waste. Additionally, they may respond to medical recalls and retrieve recalled products and materials. Medical waste collection companies are highly regulated and must meet both federal and state regulations on how to appropriately handle and discard medical waste.

Contact your department of public health to learn the regulations governing medical waste facilities, such as packaging, labeling, transportation, storage and treatment. Then register your business and purchase liability insurance.

Apply for a hazardous waste transporter permit from your state’s department of toxic substances, if you will haul medical waste to your plant. Each driver must hold a permit.

Move into an old plant located near your operating radius. Outfit your plant with a state-approved treatment method, such as incineration, steam sterilization or alternative technology, radiation detection devices and other state-required safety equipment. Purchase equipment that will allow you to process waste at a rate that will work for the volume you intend to collect, such as 400 pounds of waste per hour. Construct storage areas and security methods to ensure proper containment and processing. Insure your equipment. Hire an engineer to review your plant and verify that it meets state requirements and help you design floor plans of your facility. Then contact your Department of Public Health to set up an inspection.

Purchase approved storage and transport equipment, such as sharps containers, for collecting medical waste from hospitals, clinics and residential homes (if collecting waste from diabetic homeowners or other clients in need of a secure disposal method). Team up with the USPS or purchase USPS certified containers to offer mail disposal options which allow customers to mail their hazardous materials to your plant for destruction. Ensure all containers are appropriately labeled. If necessary, purchase commercial vans for hauling waste.

Develop an operation plan and procedures which include general operations, a schedule for equipment calibration and inspection, the disinfection process, safety and emergency equipment, security devices, and plans for preventing or responding to hazards. Develop an emergency plan that details your response to a natural disaster, equipment breakdown or other event.

Develop a training program that prepares employees on how to operate and maintain the equipment and facilities.

Apply for a solid waste management permit with your department of public health and pay all applicable fees.

Develop brochures that detail the services you provide and deliver these to local hospitals, labs, dialysis centers, nursing, centers, rehabilitation centers, doctors and dentists.

About the Author

Shanika Chapman has been writing business-related articles since 2009. She holds a Bachelor of Science in social science from the University of Maryland University College. Chapman also served for four years in the Air Force and has run a successful business since 2008.

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