Removing Medical Waste Know Your Community's Obligations


Many co-op and condominium buildings consider themselves fortunate to have income-producing commercial tenants on their ground floor. More often than not, these tenants are medical professionals: doctors, dentists, small outpatient treatment clinics, even veterinary offices. With these tenants comes welcome revenue – and fewer of the hassles that often accompany other types of commercial tenants, like noise, traffic, and large amounts of trash.

That said, medical and veterinary practices do come with one notable consideration. It’s known as regulated medical waste (RMW) and it's strictly controlled and monitored by both New York State and New York City. Unlike garbage, which must be sorted by residents and properly disposed of by building staff, medical waste and other hazardous waste items must be removed by competent, licensed professionals.

What Is RMW?

According to the web page of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, regulated medical waste is defined as “material generated in the research, production and testing of biologicals or health care, such as infectious animal waste, human pathological waste, human blood and blood products, needles and syringes (also known as sharps), cultures and stocks (microbiological materials), and other infectious waste, e.g. materials contaminated with infectious agents such as the Hemorrhagic Fever viruses.” Certain chemicals used in chemotherapy and other procedures (referred to as hazardous waste) must also be disposed of with special handling.

How Is RMW Disposed Of?

According to Sean Fredricks, President of Red Bags, a company with locations in New York and New Jersey that provides disposal services for both RMW and other hazardous materials: “RMW must be disposed of by a licensed medical waste disposal company.” Fredricks also mentions that there are two distinct licenses for RMW and other hazardous waste products. He recommends that when seeking a disposal company, find one that carries both licenses.

Fredricks explains that doctors' offices in residential buildings are subject to the same stringent rules and regulations as other locations that produce medical waste, such as hospitals and nursing homes. “They must employ a waste removal company that is certified by the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). In a co-op or a condo, the company would be obligated to provide proof of insurance to the management company for the corporation or association.”


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