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Medical Waste FAQs

1.  What is medical waste?

Medical waste is waste which meets both of the following requirements:

1.  The waste is composed of waste which is generated or produced as a result of any of the following actions:

  • Diagnosis, treatment, or immunization of human beings or animals

  • Research pertaining to the activities specified in subparagraph A

  • The production or testing of biologicals

  • The accumulation of properly contained home-generated sharps waste that is brought by a patient, a member of the patient’s family, or by a person authorized by the enforcement agency, to a point of consolidation approved by the enforcement agency pursuant to Section 118147

  • Removal of a regulated waste, as defined in Section 5193 of Title 8 of the California Code of Regulations, from a trauma scene by a trauma scene waste management practitioner

2.  The waste is any of the following:

  • Biohazardous waste

  • harps waste

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2.  Who is a medical waste generator?

Any person whose act or process produces medical waste and includes, but is not limited to, a provider of health care, as defined in subdivision (d) of Section 56.05 of the Civil Code. All of the following are examples of businesses that generate medical waste:

  • Medical and dental offices, clinics, hospitals, surgery centers, laboratories, research laboratories, chronic dialysis clinics, and education and research facilities.

  • Veterinary offices, veterinary clinics, and veterinary hospitals

  • Pet shops

  • Trauma scene waste management practitioners

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3.  Who is required to obtain a Medical Waste Generator’s Health Permit?

Medical Waste Generators in San Bernardino County who produce any medical waste are required by the California Health and Safety Code, Medical Waste Management Act, §117705, §117720 and §17825 to register, and obtain a permit from the County’s enforcement agency.

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4.  Am I a Small Quantity Generator (SQG) or a Large Quantity Generator (LQG)?

A LQG is a medical waste generator that produces 200 or more pounds of medical waste in any month of a 12-month period. An SQG is a medical waste generator that generates less than 200 pounds per month of medical waste.

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5.  Can I haul medical waste to a treatment facility or back to my parent facility?

No person shall haul Medical Waste unless the person meets one of the following requirements:

(a) Be an authorized medical waste transporter listed with the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). Also, a current hazardous waste transporter I.D. number is required to transport medical waste in California.

(b) Obtain a Limited Quantity Haulers Exemption (LQHE) from the County of San Bernardino Department of Public Health, Division of Environmental Health Services (DEHS) or the local agency administering the Medical Waste Management Act.

The LQHE allows a generator or health care professional that generates less than 20 pounds of medical waste per week, to transport less than 20 pounds of medical waste at any one time back to the parent organization or to a permitted transfer station or treatment facility.

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6.  How do I dispose of my household generated sharps waste (HHGS)?

HHGS can be dropped off at several locations within San Bernardino County. A list is posted on DEHS’s website: Sharps Disposal Locations Closest to You.

Medical Waste Sharps shall be discarded into an approved sharps waste container and disposed of by a sharps mail back system, an approved hauler, or at an approved treatment facility. See approved mail back systems, and an approved list of haulers & treatment facilities on the California Department of Public Health website.

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7.  How do I dispose of my pharmaceutical waste?

Pharmaceutical Waste shall be discarded into an approved pharmaceutical waste container labeled with the words “incineration only” and disposed of by an approved hauler.

You can view a list of State-approved haulers and treatment facilities on the California Department of Public Health website. Also, visit the DEA Diversion Control website.

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