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Biomedical waste

Find guidance for businesses that generate biomedical waste.

Biomedical Waste includes medical items, lab cultures, carcasses, body parts, blood, excretions, exudates, or secretions from humans or animals known to contain pathogenic microorganisms infectious to humans. Biomedical waste should be managed to prevent disease in our communities.

Examples of biomedical waste

  • Human blood and blood components and materials containing free-flowing blood and blood products.
  • Sharps that have been used in animal or human patients such as needles and syringes, IV tubing, scalpel blades, and lancets that have been removed from the original sterile package.
  • Cultures and stocks of infectious agents to humans and laboratory waste that has come into contact with cultures and stocks of disease-causing agents or blood specimens.
  • Pathological wastes such as human tissues, organs, body parts and body fluids that are removed during surgery, procedures and autopsy.
  • Animal waste that are known to be infected with or that have been inoculated with pathogens infectious to humans.

Common healthcare wastes that are not biomedical waste

  • Personal protective equipment (PPE) of health care workers. Examples include disposable gloves, gowns, and respiratory protection, among others.
  • Spent dust filters.
  • Textile wastes such as bedding, towels, and clothing.
  • Bandages, napkins, or commercial absorbents that contain non-flowing blood.

Who is a biomedical waste generator?

Biomedical waste generators include businesses and industry that create biomedical waste as a part of doing business. Biomedical waste from self-care is not included in this definition. Businesses and industries that are considered biomedical waste generators include but are not limited to the following:

 Laboratories  Chronic dialysis clinics
 Intermediate care facilities  Physicians’ offices, clinics, and hospitals
 Skilled nursing facility or convalescent hospitals  Dental offices and clinics

What does a biomedical waste generator need to do?

Local regulations in Seattle and King County require biomedical waste generators to complete the following:

  • Have a Biomedical Waste Management Plan available for Public Health — Seattle & King County (PHSKC) inspection (see next section for Biomedical Waste Management Plan needs).
  • Segregate biomedical waste from other wastes at the point of origin.
  • Properly store, label, and contain biomedical waste.
  • Have biomedical waste treated by a PHSKC-permitted vendor if not treated onsite.
  • Have biomedical waste transported by a PHSKC-permitted hauler.

What needs to go into a Biomedical Waste Management Plan?

Work with your facility’s safety team to develop your biomedical waste management plan.

Use this Biomedical Waste Management Plan Checklist (1.624 MB) as a cover sheet to help you prepare a complete plan.

The following are some key components to include in your plan. Guidance for developing a plan is available online through King County Board of Health Code, Title 10 (99 KB). The plan should be available for inspection at Public Health’s request. The biomedical waste management plan must include:

  • Infection control staff/committee member(s) names and contact information.
  • Phone numbers of responsible individuals.
  • Definition of wastes handled by the system.
  • Department and individual responsibilities.
  • Procedures for waste identification, segregation, containment, transport, treatment, treatment monitoring, and disposal.
  • Contingency planning.
  • Identify staff/house-keeping training for biomedical waste identification.
  • Compliance with biomedical waste regulations.
  • Chief executive's officer endorsement letter.

Treating and hauling biomedical waste

Biomedical waste must be disposed through a permitted collection hauler or by a treatment method approved by Public Health — Seattle & King County.

For additional information about the transporter permitting process or approved biomedical waste treatment methods, please contact our Solid Waste Program at 206-263-9566.

To become a permitted collection service, you’ll need to submit this Permit Application for Biomedical Treatment Facility or Transportation Vehicle (190 KB)

Permitted biomedical waste collection services

20320 80th Ave S

Kent, WA 98032

Phone: 866-783-7422


3032 S Cedar St, Suite A

Tacoma, WA 98409

Phone: 888-763-3927