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CA Body Art Facilities Rethinking Needle Disposal

CA body art facilities are rethinking their needle disposal in light of COVID-19. 

As the dial turns up or down on being able to operate, many tattoo artists, microbladers and body piercers are reevaluating safety and infectious waste procedures. If they also aren’t reviewing their sharps disposal, they could be leaving money on the table.

Compliantly disposing used body art needles is an absolute must. They can’t be thrown in the trash. If so, violators can be met with harsh penalties.  That much you might already know.

But for some body art shops, staying in compliance has come at an unnecessary cost.  Many shops who rely on a pickup service for waste have been paying flat monthly premiums – even during the months they were shut down.  And if COVID outbreak would force them to close once again?  Those premiums will continue.

As these waste disposal contracts expire, many body art facilities are now looking to transition away from regular pickup to a mail back option for their needle disposal. This helps them to better accommodate the ebb and flow of operating during Covid-19. 

Tattoo Shops Taking Extra Precautions

CA Tattoo artists already follow strict State Health and Safety Codes. They must be licensed and certified each year. Many shops face hefty fines and the threat of shutdown for operating outside health department guidelines.

Now, they are also taking extra precautions to stay safe while reopening during the pandemic. These include phone consultations and appointment only services. Customers may need to wear face masks and sit in chairs spaced apart and shielded by plexiglass. Body art facility employees will wear gloves, face mask and shields when working.

Getting Sharps Out the Door Sooner, Not Later

Tattoo and piercing needles contain blood borne pathogens. They must be manifested as being properly disposed at a licensed treatment facility.

Many shops are cleaning and clearing out their old sharps before they reopen. They are also reconsidering how quickly they should dispose of their sharps and other biohazardous waste moving forward.

MERI offers a program to mail sharps for compliant destruction through a “mail back waste system”.  It’s also known as a Medical Waste Recovery System.

How A Sharps Mailback Program Works

It’s as easy as it sounds.  MERI will mail you an MWRS kit, which includes all the certified infectious waste collection containers you need (we offer various sizes).  You simply fill the container with your sharps and ship it directly to us.

Two copies of a manifest will be included along with the mail back kit.  When your kit is ready to send back, sign your name on one of the manifests and place it back in the sleeve. Keep the other for your records.

We’ll use the email you gave us when ordering your mail back system to notify you once the waste has been safely received and destroyed. You’ll have a manifest record of the destruction. If you lose your copy, don’t worry. Just ask us to send you a copy. We keep them on file for five years.

We’ve written extensively about why this system works great for tattoo parlors, microbladers, and other small waste body art generators.  But the skinny is this:  no expensive pick-ups from medical waste companies; no tough contracts. Only pay when you need it.

For body art artists and small waste generators around California, a Medical Waste Recovery System will remove any doubt that they’re following the rules easily, compliantly and affordably.

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