11 Ways You Could be Overpaying for Medical Waste Disposal

Save money on medical waste disposal by avoiding some common mistakes

Overpaying for your medical waste? The disposal of your medical waste shouldn’t be overly expensive. Unless, you are not doing it correctly. Or, you are thinking about it in a cost efficiently way. If it feels like you’re being charged through the nose for your medical waste disposal, you could be making one of the following 11 common mistakes.

The good news is that many money-saving techniques are simple to enact. It might take a little extra planning and effort, but reversing your expensive disposal mistakes can save you a huge chunk of change in the long run.

The 11 Medical Waste Disposal Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make
1. You don’t follow DOT guidelines

From correctly packaging waste for transporting to manifesting the entire medical waste disposal process, there are many rules you must follow to comply with the Department of Transportation guidelines.

Penalties for failing to comply with DOT guidelines can cost you up to $15,000 per violation per day. You can read the top five mistakes people make when transporting medical waste here.

2. You don’t follow DNR Guidelines

In addition to DOT guidelines, the Department of Natural Resources has a set of strict rules for proper medical waste disposal. Often, the DNR checks your compliance during an audit.

If you are audited and found to be non-compliant with the state or federal DNR’s guidelines, penalties can be drastic – sometimes as much as $10,000 to $25,000 per violation per day. For a list of the top 12 questions the DNR asks when conducting an audit, read this post.

3. You don’t use an MWRS Sharps program

If you dispose of a small amount of sharps at home or at your business, MWRS kits are a great way to cut your disposal costs nearly in half. MWRS kits are certified sharps and infectious medical waste collection containers that meet DOT and USPS shipping requirements.

Once you fill a container, you ship it to a waste disposal company, who will alert you when they receive it (for manifestation purposes). This post details exactly how the program works and how it can slash your disposal costs.

4. You don’t use a sharps return program

While not every city or county runs a sharps return program, they can save you even more money on sharps disposal than an MWRS kit.

Sharps return programs let you drop off sharps containers at designated sites that store your waste and arrange pickup with a medical waste disposal company. Unlike the MWRS kits, you don’t even need to pay shipping fees. You simply have to drop your container off.

Typical drop-off sites vary, but often include clinics, hospitals or pharmacies. In Madison, you can drop off your waste at the following designated pharmacies.

5. You don’t segregate waste

Mixing your infectious medical waste with non-medical waste is a common mistake that increases your disposal costs. Because disposal cost is often determined by weight, adding unnecessary pounds to your medical waste leads to unnecessary expenses.

6. You don’t consolidate waste

If your business includes multiple clinics, consolidate the waste into one disposal proposal instead of calling a service to remove waste from each site individually.

By gathering your waste at a central location for pick up, you’ll save your medical waste disposal company transportation time, which means a better rate for you.

7. You dispose of waste too frequently

The more often a service picks up waste from your facility, the more money you pay for transportation. Larger waste containers increase the amount of waste you can store, lengthening storage time and decreasing costly pickups.

8. You don’t bid out work

Instead of using the same waste disposal company every time, call a new company and give them a price to beat. Describe the services you need and tell them what you’ve paid other companies in the past.

9. You’re paying monthly fees

Don’t solicit any medical waste disposal companies that charge a monthly flat rate or minimum service fee. These companies will charge you for a full month of service even if you don’t use them that month.

10. You’re not using a call-only service

On the flip side, companies that charge monthly fees are those that charge you only when you need them. These companies allow a customer to go “on call,” giving you flexibility and control over how much you pay and when.

11. You’re getting nailed by hidden fees

Any time you solicit a medical waste disposal company, be sure to ask them about any additional fees on top of the quoted price. Some companies charge additional energy, fuel or government fees without being upfront.

It’s not difficult to cut down on unnecessarily high medical waste disposal costs. By avoiding these 11 mistakes, you can save yourself or your business a boatload of time and money.


Learn how to easily track, properly handle, and affordably dispose your biohazard or infectious waste.